The Boomerang Effect

Multiple problems with an exhibition catalogue I translated earlier this year led to major delays, and the scheduled 6 weeks turned to 6 months. When the publisher emailed the team about the issues this was causing, the leading author of the project sent a dismissive reply, which only highlighted his lack of awareness, preparation and commitment, not to mention his denial of accountability. Such an attitude is not without repercussions.

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10 Years On…

Although I set up my business in 2008, I have only enjoyed freelancing full time since 1 June 2012 – 10 years ago. For me, becoming an established translator was a long and tough journey due to the fact that I have always focused on direct clients (as opposed to translation agencies like most translators). However, I have now reached a stage where my clients often recommend me to their contacts.

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Text Varnishing

A while ago, on receiving a copy of an exhibition catalogue for which I had translated several essays, I noticed that the title of one of those essays, which was also the name of the exhibition, had been changed to a translation that I did not quite agree with. But surprisingly, in the body of the essay, it remained untouched. Flicking through the rest of the book, I saw that three different English translations of that title were in fact used erratically.

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Think Glossary First!

When writing for experts, jargon needs no explanations. But if you write for a mixed audience (e.g. for the general public as well as potential scholars researching your topic), you need to adjust your content and style as well as strike a balance between detailed and approachable information. Space permitting, a glossary may be a smart addition, for your audience as well as for your translator.

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Consistent Writing Style

A few weeks ago, a photographer whose book I translated over a year ago via a publisher contacted me about a “twin book”. As he introduced himself, he said “You translated the texts for my book and I really did like your work”. Such feedback shows that the person appreciates that translation is not just about accuracy and fundamental good writing skills (these should be a given); indeed, it is also about the style and rendering of ideas. This is especially true with art texts.

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Stress-Free Translation: Leave it with a Specialist

I have often written about the importance of working with a translator who specialises in your field for better results. Working with someone you can trust also means less stress for you. Over the years, my clients have grown not only to trust me, but to depend on me precisely because of my expertise in art. Here is a recent example.

A PR agency for art clients, for whom I regular Continue reading “Stress-Free Translation: Leave it with a Specialist”

Clear Thinking for Clear Writing

After working on several texts of varying quality for an exhibition catalogue recently, I was not surprised that one of them came back with revisions for translation updates. The text read as if the art critic was trying to express concepts that he had not fully thought over, and was fumbling for words, resulting in strange choices of words, unnecessarily long sentences, syntax going off the rails, to say nothing of stray words and typos.

Such documents Continue reading “Clear Thinking for Clear Writing”

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