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.
The dull lockdown period, with limited activities and less work, has been brightened up by a couple of perks this month.
This past winter (and the winter before), I translated the catalogue and other texts for the pan-European photography festival CIRCULATION(S), which takes place in Paris and a few other EU countries each spring. This year, Continue reading →
Need it for yesterday? Sure. Please join the queue.
Almost everyone wants their translation as soon as possible. Although never ideal, “urgent” is not necessarily an issue, but if you want us to be super nice and meet your deadline, you’ll need to be super nice and help us too.
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 →
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 →
If you have a tight budget, it may seem like an idea to do the bulk of the translation yourself and then pass it on to a professional translator who will quickly fix it for you, doesn’t it? Well, you couldn’t be further from the truth! This really is a false economy. In fact, Continue reading →
I recently received one of those comedy requests: a British translation agency contacted me at 5.15pm for an urgent translation: 700 German words for 11am the next day into English – or was it into French as the email subject said? At any rate, the translation had to be done by a “sworn translator recognised by the French authorities”.
When I introduce my services to potential clients, some of them occasionally ask “what are your rates?”. This is a how-long-is-a-piece-of-string kind of question, a sure sign that the person does not understand how translation works and that they could easily fall into the trap of going for the cheapest – but by no means the best – provider as a result.
Although checking the facts in your text is beyond the translator’s remit, hiring a linguist who has a certain level of expertise in your particular field could save you from the embarrassment of oversights.
Of course, a translator will focus on the language first; the content is down to you and, if there are mistakes in the source document, the translator cannot be expected to spot them all, if any. It is your responsibility to ensure that the text is accurate and ready for publication. But we’re all human and, despite your diligence, translators Continue reading →
Just like being able to speak English is not enough to be the next Oscar Wilde, not every job that involves a foreign language can be allocated to a translator. There are times when a translator is the wrong person for the job.
To come up with a snappy slogan or a memorable acronym, you have probably delegated the task to a skilled person within your marketing department or even hired a professional copywriter. Many translators can Continue reading →
The fact that, after completing an MA in translation, some qualified students decide not to pursue a career in that field after all shows that even aspiring linguists can have misconceptions about translation, and that “speaking another language” is far from enough to be a capable translator.
Some students, believing that their degree in two or more foreign languages already gives them the skills required and that an MA will only Continue reading →
If the tone or content of a text can affect how you feel when reading it, the work of translation goes further still as you must somehow absorb the author’s ideas as your own, feel the tone of the text and process them to recreate them faithfully. While the majority of assignments (in my case anyway) may be engaging at an intellectual level only, some documents can affect the translator emotionally too.