What translators can ̶ and cannot ̶ do
Today will be a “back-to-basics” article about translation: what a translator can ̶ and cannot ̶ do.
Of course, these explanations are worthwhile for anyone ̶ from plant-based companies to animal associations, from vegan solopreneurs to big businesses. In short, anyone who would need translation services. So let’s dive in!
Translation VS interpretation
A translator’s work is to translate a written text (on any type of format), while an interpret “translates” (interprets) orally.
Translation into a foreign language
Unless being truly bilingual (i.e., having been raised hearing/talking two languages), a translator will translate only into their mother tongue. The explanation is simple: only a native speaker will have the right linguistic tools and knowledge to create the most accurate translation possible. This is valid for all languages: for instance, if you ask me to translate into English, I will tell you that you need to find a native English translator.
Pro tip: if you need a translator from French (and not the other way around), you can check the Where I can found the right translator article (or ask me directly for help!)
Translation for any kind of clients/topics
Unless talking to a new translator, all translators have some kind of specialities. Some will tell you something broad (“I’m a marketing translator”) and others will be more specific ̶ such as, for my part, “I’m a digital marketing translator specialised in linguistic services for vegan companies”.
Some translators have expertise in a specific topic (fashion, food, ecology, etc.), while others specialise in a particular clients segment (in my case, vegan companies), or in a particular format (for instance, translating books or subtitles).
Translation VS content writing
Unlike content writing, translation is the art of using an already written text (for instance, the English copy of your website, and translate it into French. According to context, the translator will have to translate more or less literally, more or less creatively, but the message will always remain.
Pro tip: do not forget to take the different varieties into account: for instance, French from France, Belgium, Canada, Congo etc., aren’t the same!
Translate 4000 words in an hour
To give you an idea of what that means, 500 words represent about one page.
Thus, you can easily understand that a translator couldn’t take such an amount of words, with such a short deadline. And this is without counting the time to carefully read the original text, to do some research, maybe to ask you some questions…
Pro tip: A translator can usually translate between 2000 and 2500 words a day
So, is it just translation then?
Well, no. It depends on the translator, but most of them also offer revision and proofreading services (revision, also named reviewing, = comparing the original copy and its translated version, to correct any mistakes; proofreading = correcting the translated version, without using the original copy).
A good translator will also localise your content, i.e. make it appealing and relevant for your target audience. This is also called cultural adaptation, and it can translate into changing a photo (e.g. showing the Eiffel tower instead of the Statue of Liberty), taking into account usual payment practices in France (for example, Skrill is not much used here, unlike debit card or Paypal), and the list goes on.
Pro tip: A translator should flag any cultural differences and adapt them in the translated copy
Some translators (myself included) offer iSEO services: either you provide a list of original keywords or the translator creates it, based on your original content, and then they find matching relevant keywords in the target language. Finally, these keywords will be included in the translation copy, in a fluid and user-friendly way (no stuffing!).
Other services may include the creation of a bilingual glossary and/or guidelines (for consistency, both in the vocabulary used and in the writing style), subtitling, transcription, etc.
Do you have any question on how your vegan company can benefit from translation services to enter and thrive on the French market? Let’s talk about how we can reach your French audience together! Fill in the contact form or send me an email at email@example.com and tell me all about your needs 🌱