Is This English?

English is often assumed to be an “international language” (whether there is such a thing is a topic for another day). As a result, some English words have become everyday terms in some non-English-speaking countries, not least in the business environment, with many users having no real knowledge of what the words actually mean and dangerously assuming that this is how English speakers talk.

Recently, a French client asked me to Continue reading

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

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

How Brexit has Affected my Work so far

The bulk of my work consists mainly of two areas: art texts and books for art galleries, museums and publishers, and certified translations of personal documents. The first area has not really been impacted yet: galleries and museums are still receiving EU funding where applicable and, unlike some of my colleagues, my work is not dependent on long-term contracts between a client and Continue reading

Consolidate Your Files

If your translation project consists of multiple small documents, it may make sense to you to send these small pieces as they are to your translator, but bear in mind that it will take longer and incur a project management fee.

As we all know, switching between tasks increases the time it takes to complete them all. Consequently, Continue reading

Don’t be a Shark

On a translators’ forum, a colleague recently expressed some doubt about his own rates and the respect we as translators get from clients, after an agency told him that his rates were too high. The response from the group was unanimous: stick to your guns. His rates were fine, if a little low in fact.

In translation as in life, there are bullies and pushovers, and then there are those who Continue reading

Translation May Not Be What You Need

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

Promises Don’t Pay the Bills

Occasionally, translators are contacted by new clients who, after getting a quote, ask for a discount simply on the basis that they are a new client and that, so they claim, there will be more work to come. Nice try.

There is no incentive there for a sole trader for the obvious reasons that 1) a discount effectively means a direct reduction of our personal income; and 2) the promise of future work may never materialise – whether it is a genuine promise in the first place or not. Besides, Continue reading

How Much is Your Work Worth?

A small art publisher recently asked for my rate, warning me that they didn’t have the budget of a large company. Such a query can be translated as: “we’d love to have our books translated but can’t afford it”.

Although translators may show some flexibility with regards to rates or other terms, it goes without saying that we can Continue reading

Translators can Count too

While most clients simply ask service providers for a quotation, the occasional client approaches translators with their own rates and terms and expect nothing more than a yes or no reply – not unlike an employment offer but without the interview or a chance for the translator to Continue reading

Mirror, Mirror

If you’ve ever seen a poor-quality translation, did you think: “the translator who did this is rubbish” or “this company can’t even hire a decent translator”?

Memes with the message “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur” have been doing the rounds on social media, and everyone Continue reading

Teaming up for Clients

Here is an article I have written, published this month in The Linguist, the Chartered Institute of Linguists’ magazine. When looking for translators working in other language pairs on behalf of clients, the response to my search for a suitable candidate can be of mixed quality and standards. This article gives fellow linguists tips on how best to respond when contacted by a colleague. Continue reading