Dos and Don’ts of translating a text into a different language [Guest Post]

Best practices in translation
Text translation – how to get it right

[Guest post]

So you’re finally choosing to embark on a worldly skill. Writing in a foreign language is no easy feat — that’s for sure. But it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. However, if you find yourself having a difficult time, then it’s your best option to outsource or seek help from qualified professionals around you.   

Here are some dos and don’ts on how to go about translating text into a different language:  

Major Do: Hire A Professional

This is the best and will always be the first choice for people who need translation services. However, if you’re on a tight budget, the ideal choice for you is to hire a freelance professional translator. They have their own language expertise, so make sure to interview them firsthand regarding their experience. Don’t forget to ask for samples from them to see how they work and if their output meets your standard. 

If you can afford to pay more, you may opt to hire global translation companies then. This is because they may be more reliable and stable. Unlike freelancers, you can easily track them down if there are problems with their translation services. The only downside to this, however, is their expensive fees. 

Keep in mind that most professional translation agencies have a minimum fee. For instance, some require you to at least have 500 words so you can get their services. If you go below this number, you still have to pay the amount for the 500 words. 

Regardless of the extra funds you need to shell out, remember that the most reliable translations come from professional language service providers. This is true, especially if you need help with website translation, legal translation or other types of translations that can only be done by a certified professional. So, the investment would be worth it. 

Slight Don’t: Use Translation Tools

You could consider investing in a high-quality translation software or application that would give you the best results there is to give. This would ensure that you are always on-the-go for work, so you’d never miss out on opportunities.

Although, tread with caution as these apps can still give you slightly inaccurate results that can jeopardize your reputation and connections because of a weirdly-worded message. In the end, it is always better to rely on professionals, whether a freelance translator or a language service provider, to ensure a correct and accurate translation.

Major Don’t: Use Free Translation Tools 

For quick, informal searches like figuring out what your friend or what your subtitle-lacking Korean movie character just said, sure, you could use free translation tools. 

But if you’re on the job to translate, avoid these free translation tools at all costs because you’re bound to getting majorly inaccurate results. This is because these translation tools usually ignore the tone of voice and are based on the most common, word-for-word translations out there.

If you make the mistake of relying on generic translations, you may also run the risk of confusing synonyms and overlooking cultural sensitivities.

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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.

The translator — a poem

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Here’s my first poem inspired by our lovely profession. I’ve been trying to find a nice one, but since I couldn’t, I wrote one myself.

I hope you like it and find it amusing.

The content is copyrighted. If you would like to use part or the whole of the content in a format other than this video, please contact me to request authorization and always acknowledge the source. However, no authorization is required for sharing the link of the YouTube video or this post.

If you would like to purchase a full copy of the poem (and support my creative work), you can do so by clicking  Buy Now Button Purchase code TP1

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International Translation Day

Translator's Day

International Translation Day is observed on September 30th

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Let me describe what happens in the life of translators every September 30th. They would wake up excited and hopeful expecting that this time their family and friends will remember it is the date to celebrate translation as a profession. They have already explained this numerous times in the past around this date making sure the people surrounding them know that soon it would be their date. Translators even fantasize about the idea of receiving presents or gifts on this day. After all, what they do is only comparable to what superheroes do! However, no matter the efforts made over the years to remind everyone September 30th is the right time to acknowledge the amazing and incredibly difficult job that translators do every day — the long hours spent in front of the computer, the sleepless nights, the research carried out, the passion invested in each word written, in each meaning conveyed, the battles with low rates, failing technology or intermittent Internet signal — almost everyone will forget…

Cheer up, translator, you are not alone! Your fellow translators WILL remember and greetings are surely on their way. Here’s mine.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL TRANSLATION DAY!

Keep the good work for you are amazing. Honor this day and remember to greet your colleagues, too.

We rock! Have a good one.

Translator fun

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Send this card or any card on Translator Fun’s archive to greet your colleagues on this special day.

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Truths about translation

 

Truths about translation

Once a translator, always a translator

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Ready to start 2019 highly motivated and willing to embrace the new year with new projects and creations. Here’s a reminder about this truth: once you have tried your hand at translating, there is no escaping it. You are stuck with it for life, luckily!

Share this truth with your colleagues. Buy this card!Buy Now Button  (once you buy a card you will receive it free from watermarks).

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Happy 2019!

 

 

 

 

 

Stop typing and…

 

Stop typing and kiss me card for translators

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Seriously, make sure you spend some time of your day to show your love and affection.

Will you be sending some cards on Valetine’s Day?

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Your spelling and grammar are flawless

 

Valentine's cards for translators.

Valentine’s cards for translators. Purchase code V2. Would-you-marry-me card.

Translator, if you find that person whose spelling and grammar are flawless, just tie the “mouse” (they are rarely found!)

Getting ready for Valentine’s Day… more love cards coming soon.

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Being a freelance translator is a lifestyle

Being a freelance translator is not just a profession, it´s a lifestyle.

Being a freelance translator is not just a profession, it´s a lifestyle.

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Share good vibes about translation. All cards can be customized. The name of the recipient can be added as well as any other details of your choice. You can see all available cards here. More cards coming soon!

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