Set it in Stone

It should go without saying that the texts you send to a translator must be absolutely final. At this stage, this is no longer work in progress. From a translator’s point of view, you could do little worse than updating them after they have started working on them.

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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”

All Work and Play

This year, as the world was suddenly put on hold, the great majority of us have had to find ways of making use of our time, if only to try and stay sane. In my case, I spent more time on my photography.

Somewhat compensating for the frustration of not being able to go out with my camera, I entered a few competitions, some of which successfully, with several photos being selected for group exhibitions in Athens in October and in Rome in Continue reading “All Work and Play”

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