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.

Continue reading “Set it in Stone”

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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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”

Updating Your Website? Do Your Prep!

There are no shortcuts in translation: changing a few words here and there in your original text does not mean that the translator will only have a few words to change – far from it! The whole sentence or even paragraph will have to be reviewed. However, there are ways you can help to make the process easier, faster and cheaper.

After the content of your website is initially translated, it’s a good idea to Continue reading “Updating Your Website? Do Your Prep!”

Need Your Website Translated? Do Your Prep!

Sending a link to your website for a translation quotation may seem like the quickest and easiest way for you, but a translator will only be able to give you a rough “guesstimation” from that.

Presumably, the text content of your website were originally prepared in MS Word (and possibly Excel) before being communicated to your webmaster. Similarly, your translator needs the full and exact texts in Word (and/or Excel) so that they Continue reading “Need Your Website Translated? Do Your Prep!”

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