10 Things You Should Never Say to a Translator

Things you should never say to a translator
10 things you should never say to a translator

[Guest Post]

As the world becomes more connected, interactions between people from different cultures, whether that be at school, at work or as part of daily life, are increasing. As a result of this, the translation industry is growing at an unprecedented rate and consequently, so are the number of translators!

Many times you might say to your translator, “you’re a life-saver” or “you are irreplaceable” or “I couldn’t have completed that business deal without you”, which are all great to hear. But here are a few things you perhaps shouldn’t say if you want to keep your translator sweet!

1. I just had my secretary write a 70-page document, can you quickly proofread it for me?

First of all, there’s nothing ‘quick’ about 70-pages. It’s easy for people to undermine a translator’s ability by assuming proofreading or translating a document is a walk in the park. What many fail to understand is that it takes years of learning, practice and commitment to become a good translator, and even at your best, you may still lose an hour of your day researching the perfect translation of a single word.

2. You are a translator, right? What does (insert random word with no context) mean?

Sure, translators are very skilled (almost superhuman may we add!) but that doesn’t mean they can translate every single language on Earth! Additionally, many languages, including English, have words with multiple meanings. We can guarantee that a translator’s first response to a question such as this would be “what’s the context?”

3. I took French in high school and was looking for some work on the side, could you help me get into the industry?

We understand. It’s natural for people to think that all it takes to become a translator is basic knowledge of a language, but being a translator is so much more than that. It’s one thing being able to understand what someone has said in a foreign language, but being able to convey that in another is a form of art. Plus, if everyone who took French in high school became a translator, why are some earning up to $100 an hour?

4. What! So you translate from home? Is that an actual job?

Yes, it is. Do you think there’d be a multi-billion dollar translation industry otherwise?

5. Wait, what? $(fill in the blank) for a job that will literally take a few hours to translate? I’ll use Google Translate instead!

Translators hear this many times over the course of their careers and it’s never nice to feel like your time and abilities are being undermined. But, again, a multi-billion dollar translation industry wouldn’t exist if Google Translate were accurate. Give it a go, we guarantee you’ll be back! 

6. There’s no way it can take that long! I needed this yesterday! It’s only 25 pages long, a day is surely more than enough. 

Translation is not an easy job, and sometimes it can take a long time. If translation were merely swapping words from one language to another then hey, it would be easy (and even Google Translate could do a good job). It’s not, though. It involves assessing the context, understanding the background of a word or phrase, maintaining a tone, localising a concept… the list goes on. And it’s for this reason that it takes about an hour to translate a one page document. So, yes, perhaps a day would be enough if they don’t eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, have a life etc.

7. So, I had my friend look over the document you translated. She speaks French and doesn’t think it’s very good. 

If you have a friend, aunty, cousin, grandpa that you wholly trust to do your translation work for you, then why seek the services of a professional? Enough said!

8. We need you to translate a super confidential document and can only send it after we agree a price. How much will you charge?

Think of this from a practical perspective: how is a translator supposed to assess the scope of the work if they can’t see the document? This is like asking a landscaper to transform your garden, but not letting them see it first. A 300-word translation of a contact form is very different to the translation of a 300-word document on ventilation cowls for the upward discharge of hot air in sustainable buildings…

9. I need you to maintain the formatting in this scanned JPEG file I’m sending you to translate.

A language is a hard enough skill to learn without having to understand the ins and outs of graphic design. They are two completely separate jobs and should be treated as such. If you’re lucky enough to come across a translator willing to do both, you should expect them to ask to be compensated accordingly. Otherwise, hire a graphic designer to either create an editable copy of the file in the first instance, or ask them to amend the formatting once the translation has been completed. 

10. Can you please give me a quote to translate my website www.(ridiculousnumberofpages).com?

Typically, website translations are high-volume, so make sure you have a high budget! Don’t expect a translator to spend hours of their day clicking through URL by URL trying to figure out the content to translate just for you to refuse their quote. Help them out by sending a list of the URLs to be translated, or even better, export the content into an Excel file.

To conclude,

Be kind. Avoid demeaning comments, unrealistic expectations, and be courteous to your translator. It’s by no means an easy job, even for the most skilled of translators.

On the other hand, if you are a translator, try to remain calm and positive. Most of these questions are due to not fully understanding the true cost of a quality translation. Eventually, you will find it pretty funny and get a good laugh out of it!

Find out more on Espresso Translations translation services.

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Deadlines vs. live performance

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Hi there. This is the second cartoon in the series about the main differences between translators and interpreters at a glance. As mentioned in my previous post, many times most people use the term “translator” to refer to both professions, but these two disciplines require a different set of skills and different types of training, too.

This cartoon shows a difference regarding the time given for the delivery of the work performed. Translators usually work with the deadlines set by the clients. This means that they can administer the time given until the final delivery to translate the text, check the terminology, rephrase or change the translation, proofread it and so on. However, it is worth noting that more often than not the deadlines given are brief (some could even be only hours), which causes translators to work non-stop for long stretches of time (there are many cartoons depicting this).

On the other hand, interpreters have to deliver their rendition in the target language at the same time or immediately after the source is uttered so they have no time to look up words and have to rely on all the knowledge and skills they have acquired before the interpreting event.

It would be fair to say that translators can get back to their translations and make improvements whereas interpreters have just one change to get it right. In both cases, their work is incredibly challenging and worthy of admiration and recognition. Keep up the good work, translators and interpreters!

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The Negative Impact of Bad Translation

Sign for translators about typos
Sign for translators warning them about typos

[Guest post]

You may have already seen poorly translated texts or images posted on social media, celebrities’ tattoos, or even in recurring comedy segments in television shows. It is truly hilarious when certain words are translated into a different language that does not imply its actual definition. But more than you know, bad translations can actually result in severe consequences.

What are the Negative Impacts of Poor Translation?

To many professionals, receiving certified translation services can sometimes be an afterthought. Many are now utilizing machine translation software that is often incapable of producing accurate results. It’s important to understand that the impact of bad translation goes beyond funny jokes. It can lead to massive humiliation, failure of businesses, medical malpractice, and more.  

Negative Impact on Business

When engaging in a foreign business, you must present yourself and the company in the best way possible. One way you can do that is by making sure that all your documents are prepared and translated respectfully and accurately. Otherwise, the company may be deemed unprofessional and incompetent. More so, bad translation may also come across as offensive to potential clients if the cultural aspects, for instance, are not given proper consideration.  

Once the industry perceives the company as unprofessional, it will be very likely that other foreign accounts will not want to do business with you. You will lose deals that can potentially turn the company into success. Moreover, once the incident spreads like wildfire, customers may also feel uncomfortable supporting a company that disrespects other people’s cultural backgrounds.

Poor translations can damage a company’s reputation. And it’s important to understand that such mistakes are something you can have control over. Protecting your business and brand should be a top priority, as negative publicity can potentially lead your business into bankruptcy.   

Not only that, but your company can also get in conflict with the law as lousy translations can provide misleading and damaging information. Poor translations of documents may also lead to increased expenses, as misinformation often leads to poor decisions. Correct and accurate translation steers proper understanding, and without it, you can’t make plans relevant to the company’s progress.   

Negative Impact on Medicine

Doctors, nurses, and medical staff need to obtain correct information as mistranslated documents can lead to harmful consequences that could potentially harm their patients. Professional medical translation is vital in ensuring the best possible care is given to the people. 

The medical staff needs accurate guidance when understanding medical device manuals, medical records, and clinical reports. Without proper translation, they can potentially give medicine that can trigger patients’ conditions or prevent them from performing needed surgeries or additional care.   

In giving health details, agreements and contracts, proper translation allows the patients to make informed decisions. The medical staff will also need accurate translation to make crucial decisions for their patients’ care and avoid medical malpractice. 

Essential documents must be accurately translated and reflect the source language’s original intent, tone, definition, content, and cultural cues. Situations of incorrect translation are more than the memes you see on the internet; it can lead to miscommunication and damage people’s lives.

Main differences between translators and interpreters

Differences between translators and interpreters

Translators and interpreters need different skills

See this cartoon in Spanish

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Hi there. This is the first cartoon in the series about the main differences between translators and interpreters at a glance. Although many times most people use the term “translator” to refer to both professions, these two disciplines require a different set of skills and different types of training, too. I would also say that they require different types of personalities, but we’ll leave that for a future post.

As shown in the cartoon, the first and huge difference resides in the medium of expression as translators work with written texts and interpreters with spoken utterances.

What is your reaction when people mistake these two terms for one another?

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5 World Famous Book Translations that are more popular than Original Crafts

book translations more popular than their original

Name 5 book translations more popular than their originals

[Guest post]

Although literature might be classified according to language, national origin, genre, and subject matter, the feeling that the reader gets from consuming a book cannot be classified into any groups as the feeling is universal. Understanding this concept, people from all around the world have translated famous and valuable books in many languages so that the world can enjoy them and not only the citizens of the country where it was published. A book must have high value for the readers to be translated in many different languages. Below we compiled a list of 5 world-famous book translations that are actually more popular than the original crafts.

Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” was originally written in Portuguese and was published in 1988 and now it is one of the most-read books around the world. It is translated and published in 56 different languages and has won the Guinness World Record as the most translated book by a living author. Wordinvent credited translation for the success of this book beyond its native borders. 

It probably comes as no surprise that J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” has been translated into so many different languages since its first installment was published back in 1997. The story of a boy wizard and his friends fighting against the evil defined the last few decades for numerous young readers. The book recently got its 80th translation in Scottish and this number will likely continue to grow. 

“Les Aventures de Tintin” is a French classic written by Herge in 1929. The story of a reporter and his dog Snowy had a worldwide appeal as the story itself is worldwide, with Tintin travelling the globe and encountering many different countries. Herge used a lot of factual research in the book and represented various cultures and people accurately, which led it to be translated into 115 other languages.

Since Lewis Carroll wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” in 1865, it has captivated both young and old audiences as it goes on to be translated into 174 other languages all around the world. While it is a simple story of a girl who gets lost and falls into a magical world, the book is still filled with complex math problems and wordplay that captivates people long after they’ve stopped identifying with the 8-year-old Alice. 

“Le Avventure di Pinocchio” a book written in 1883 by Carlo Collodi is a phenomenal book read by people all around the world. It was originally written in Italian and has been translated into more than 260 other languages. The story of the marionette who becomes a boy through a series of adventures has inspired a huge number of readers of different nationalities throughout the world.

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Deadline definition

Deadlines in the lives of translators

Deadlines are present 24/7 in translators’ lives

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Translators usually organize their lives according to their upcoming deadline so when talking to someone else they would always arrange for whatever activity to happen after their upcoming deadline. Most likely, after their upcoming deadline, there will hopefully be a new upcoming deadline so whatever extra activity will never happen. That is their luck.
Take five in between deadlines to have some fun and smile.
#staysafe #staymotivated #stayhealthy #stayfun

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5 Best Immigration Policies Around the Globe (guest post)

5 best immigration policies around the globe

A freelance translator at the airport

[Guest post]

Immigration is defined as the act of moving to a foreign country with the aim of living there permanently. In general, people immigrate in the hopes of living a better life for themselves. Otherwise, some people also immigrate to support loved ones so that they may live a better life. 

Why do people immigrate?

As stated above, people generally immigrate to improve lives. However, there are specific reasons as to why people suddenly decide to take the big leap. These include the following:

  • To seek asylum
  • To benefit from better healthcare
  • To rise from poverty
  • To live with relatives
  • To live with a loved one

Factors to consider when immigrating

When searching for a country to migrate to, there are a few factors you need to consider. Since you are seeking to live permanently in that country, you need to be sure of the country you are immigrating to. With that, here are some of the factors you should take note of:

  1. Number of immigrants allowed per year 
  2. Languages spoken
  3. Duration of stay needed for permanent residency
  4. Anti-discrimination laws
  5. Healthcare laws

Countries with the Best Immigration Policies

If you’ve decided to leave your country, the next step is to choose which country to migrate to. Here are some of the countries with the best immigration policies:

1. Canada

Canada is a huge country that offers a lot of opportunities to immigrants. The people are also generally welcoming of immigrants which is a huge plus. 

  • Yearly immigrant count: approximately 300,000
  • Language: English
  • Duration of stay needed for permanent residency: 3 years within a span of 5 years

2. New Zealand

With its literal green pastures, people seeking greener pastures are drawn towards New Zealand. Luckily, New Zealand is also welcoming of immigrants and offers lots of job opportunities.

  • Yearly immigrant count: approximately 50,000
  • Language: English
  • Duration of stay needed for permanent residency: 2 years

3. Finland

Finland’s capital, Helsinki is awarded as one of the most livable cities in the world. Add that to the fact that Finland is known to be the safest country in the world, and you’d want to immigrate to this country ASAP. 

  • Yearly immigrant count: approximately 30,000
  • Language: Finnish
  • Duration of stay needed for permanent residency: 4 years

4. Australia

Australia is a multicultural country that has a lot of opportunities to offer. This is also the perfect destination for nature lovers with its abundant wildlife. Australians are also very friendly and the country has a great standard of living.

  • Yearly immigrant count: approximately 500,000
  • Language: English
  • Duration of stay needed for permanent residency: 4 years

5. Germany

Germany is generally a very peaceful country with very responsible citizens. There are plenty of job opportunities and a very low rate of corruption. Germany also needs immigrants to keep its economy running so you know that you are welcome in this country!

  • Yearly immigrant count: approximately 400,000
  • Language: German
  • Duration of stay needed for permanent residency: 5 years

Whatever your reason for wanting to immigrate, it’s important to read on immigration policies. When it comes to your documents, it’s best to hire a freelance certified translator or global language service company like Translingua to help translate all your required documents as well.

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Prepositions and translators – “on”

Prepositions on

Translators usually work on a tight deadline

Yeah! Another cartoon in the new series about parts of speech frequently used by translators or associated with them. Now, it’s the turn of “on”. In the case of translators, this preposition always finds its way to collocate in an almost fixed phrase for translators. Here’s an example:

Translator’s fried: Hey you! Long time no see. Let’s catch up!

Translator: I’d love to, but I can’t. I’m on a tight deadline, sorry.

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Prepositions frequently used (by translators)

Prepositions most frequently used by translators

Prepositions used by translators

Hi there! Here’s the first cartoon in the new series about parts of speech frequently used by translators or associated with them. In this case, we’ll deal with prepositions. Question: beloved translator, aren’t you always pressed for time?

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3 Tips on How to Write a Translation-Friendly Content

Tips on how to write translation-friendly content

tips for translation clients

[Guest post]

Translation is now a part of effective marketing. This is very true in a digitally emerging world, which contributed to the pressure to reach customers worldwide. While we know that it is tempting to use your favorite poetical grammar structure and idioms, putting them will become a great hindrance to achieving quality translations. The last thing you want is an inefficient translation, which could cause a huge mess for your business.

Here are three tips on how to write a translation-friendly content:

 

  • Keep Your Sentences Short

 

Do you believe in the famous saying that “Simplicity is the key?”. Well, this applies as the first step towards writing a translation-friendly content. You must keep your sentences short as the longer sentences are much more challenging to translate. You don’t want to have clunky and unnatural translations, right? If yes, then keep your sentences into having a maximum of 20 words. Doing so will increase the clarity of your sentences.  

Keep in mind that sentence length is one of the most critical factors for readability. Furthermore, writing simpler sentences with highfalutin words ensures that your content is more easily understood across all languages. So, you must keep your sentences short and sweet!

 

  • Be Consistent

 

We know that you may think that the shorter the sentences you used, the more consistent it is already. However, there are more techniques to write more consistently than this. First and foremost: do not fluff! Avoid the use of recurring sentences, especially if you have a target number of words to meet. But, if it is unavoidable, make use of transition sentences and keep the wording and grammatical structure as uniform as possible. The familiar format will make it easier for your audience to read it better and faster. 

Moreover, by being consistent, the translation will be cheaper on your part! Most global translation services incentive this by using translation memories. Just so you know, this is a tool that automatically searches and reuses words, sentences, and entire texts that it has already translated. Smaller portions or segments are easier to match and translate so it can save you money!

 

  • Make Sure That Your Content is Error-Proof

 

The content that you created should be reviewed by yourself first. Check for any errors or possible revisions that can take your content to the best version it can be before sending it to translators. 

This will guarantee that the translation done on your content will not have any errors. You must always remember to check your work first, even if your deadline is coming soon. 

If you want your work to be translated so that it will not compromise the meaning of the message you want to convey, you should always review your original content. Include proofreading in your workflow to ensure the correctness of your content. 

Something to Think About

Writing a translation-friendly content will be very helpful, especially if you are establishing your brand for another market. This ensures that your brand will be well-known through understandable and easy-to-read content!

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