When is “Urgent”?

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.

Anticipate

Remember: Continue reading “When is “Urgent”?”

Translation is a Tailor-Made Service

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.

Translation is not a box-standard product, nor is it a matter of Continue reading “Translation is a Tailor-Made Service”

Forget Magic and Telepathy

Some translators are not so keen on working with direct clients (as opposed to agencies) partly because clients are not always familiar with the translation process. For me, working with direct clients is far more rewarding, and it is an opportunity to help people better understand, and therefore appreciate, what we do rather than see translation as a mere commodity (a view largely reinforced by most agencies).

Discussing the project is crucial for both parties, or Continue reading “Forget Magic and Telepathy”

Trust Me, I’m a Linguist

Each language has its own logic, sets of rules and exquisite weirdnesses. If something looks strange to you in the translation, it may be due to such idiosyncrasies rather than a translator’s mistake.

For example, in French there is a hard space in front of certain items of punctuation such as question and exclamation marks, colons and semicolons, and quotation marks. Also note that the latter Continue reading “Trust Me, I’m a Linguist”

Shed a Little Light

I have recently started to work on an ongoing multilingual project (an online art-collection management tool) which is proving a challenge for everyone in the team due, amongst other things, to the end client’s lack of experience with translation projects.

As an online tool, the platform only has occasional sentences in isolation, the bulk of the work consisting of section of field headings, i.e. short stand-alone strings of words, or even Continue reading “Shed a Little Light”

No Tricks, Just Treats, Please!

Communication is only effective if it is clear. If your thorough translator identifies any tricky bits in your text, such as ambiguities due to vague words, confused syntax or erroneous punctuation, they will send you a list of sentences and clauses to clarify. And that’s good news: it shows that they are keen to get it right.

It is therefore worth spending time questioning your own text before publishing it or Continue reading “No Tricks, Just Treats, Please!”

How to be a VIC (II): Does Your Text Make Sense?

This second post on how to be a VIC (very important client) addresses the quality of your texts. Vague (generic words, clichés, lengthy sentences) or poorly written (incorrect grammar/punctuation, etc.) documents are confusing, and hair-pulling sessions slow your translator down. We love our work and we do like a challenge, but we’re not so keen on headaches. Clients who regularly provide poorly written texts do not get priority.

If no one Continue reading “How to be a VIC (II): Does Your Text Make Sense?”

Interview with the Translator

When you tell someone you are a translator, they have plenty of questions, many of which show that the profession is commonly misunderstood. So here are a few answers.

Q: What language do you speak?
A: While translators need to understand the language(s) they work from extremely well, they do not need to speak the language(s) as such since they only write in their own language. Listening and understanding require a different set of skills from Continue reading “Interview with the Translator”

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