20 January 2017

Transcreation, examples from an online newsletter, #2

Example from
Le nouveau Figaro à foils sera construit dans une usine dédiée à Nantes
New Bénéteau racing monohull with foils.

To understand the approach taken to the adaptation of this article, it helps to know that the original was first published by Le Télégramme. The newspaper's online tagline is: 
Actualité et infos en direct et en continu sur Brest, Lannion, Lorient, Quimper, Rennes, Saint-Brieuc, Saint-Malo, Vannes et les autres communes de Bretagne.
The French journalist was writing for a local audience that follows maritime and yachting news closely and is assumped to be familiar with the relevant technical jargon.
This contrasts with the Mer et Marine monthly newsletter in English which targets L1* and L2* readers of English working in the marine/maritime/naval industries interested in French innovations.
Hence the need for some periphrases in English to explain technical terms that readers of the French version were assumed not to need.

First, the headline

Le nouveau Figaro à foils sera construit dans une usine dédiée à Nantes

The French headline highlights the type of boat and where it will be built, which is perfectly logical given Le Télégramme's focus.
The English version focuses on the manufacturer's name and the innovation.

Next the introduction

[FRA] Il y avait foule, samedi 3 décembre, sur la grande scène du Nautic, à Paris, pour la présentation du Figaro 3. Depuis le temps qu'on l'attend ce nouveau monotype
[ENG] The new Figaro Bénéteau 3 made a big impression at the Nautic boatshow.
The mockup presented at the Nautic boatshow in Paris on Saturday 3 December attracted a big crowd. The new ‘one-design’ — a yacht built to a standard design for one-design racing, in this case the Solitaire Urgo Le Figaro event — was on display, after what many felt was a long wait.

* L1: mother-tongue
* L2: second-language

19 January 2017

Transcreation, examples from an online newsletter, #1

On 29 May 2015, under the heading Transcreation, I wrote:
What is transcreation?
It's about adapting a client's document in the source language to a specific communication challenge in a target language. Given that the audiences are different, the aims will differ. The process typically combines high-quality translation with new content as appropriate. Passages of little or no interest to the target audience may be deleted. Transcreation enables clients to convey their messages in a way that is relevant and engaging.
In this post I will concentrate on one or two aspects of my approach to the transcreation of articles selected from the Mer et Marine daily news page in French for adaptation into English and publication in the Mer et Marine monthly newsletter in English.

But first I need to explain that much of what is involved in the process of transcreation is based on
(a) explicit information or reasonable assumptions concerning the aims of the original and the target readership, and (b) similar explicit information or reasonable assumptions concerning the aims of the English-language version and the target readership.

The Mer et Marine daily aims are summarised in their presentation statement:
Mer et marine, toute l’actualité maritime.
Media leader de l’actualité maritime : construction navale, défense, shipping, ports, offshore…
which I have rendered as:
Maritime news from France and around the world :  shipbuilding, naval defence, shipping, ports, offshore and more. 

Some examples from Amiral Prazuck : « Notre défense commence au large »

Additional information in EN because target readership know less about the subject than Admiral Prazuck
[FRA] La régénération de nos unités qui sont extrêmement sollicitées, bien au-delà des contrats opérationnels définis dans le Livre Blanc.
[ENG] Assets in the highest demand will be refurbished beyond the requirements of the operational contracts listed in the government’s white paper on defence and national security (Livre blanc sur la défense et la sécurité nationale).
[FRA] Pouvez-vous dresser un premier bilan du déménagement de l’état-major à Balard ?
[ENG] Could you also give us a brief report on the move to the Hexagone Balard, the Ministry of Defence’s new joint headquarters?
[FRA] Nous avons quitté une adresse prestigieuse qui nous a hébergés pendant 226 ans à l’Hôtel de la Marine.
[ENG] In July 2015, the naval high command moved out of the Hôtel de la Marine, the imposing classical building overlooking the Place de la Concorde that housed the Navy headquarters for 226 years.
[FRA] Les marins y ont gagné un confort de travail indiscutable.
[ENG] Working conditions in the new HQ, on the southern edge of central Paris, are a huge improvement.
Odd, off-the-cuff term replaced by standard equivalent
[FRA] Enfin leur radar-plaques ouvre de nouvelles perspectives, notamment pour les luttes anti-aérienne et anti-missile.
[ENG] The FTI’s planar array radar will also open up new perspectives, particularly for anti-aircraft and anti-missile warfare.
(The above table is a formatting experiment. My procedure involved several steps. 1) Generate bitext using Terminotix's AlighFactoryLight. 2) Edit bitext using AFL alignment editor. 3) Add explanatory notes in blank cells using AFL alignment editor. 4) Open bitext using browser. 5) Copy & paste browser page into Blogger page. 6) Add character attributes (bold, ital, highlighting) as necessary. 7) Publish.

25 November 2016

What can translators learn from news agencies?

As mentioned in the header, this blog focuses on a small niche in the language services market, namely the adaptation of technical journalism for clients who seek to influence a clearly definied readership. The following is not directly relevant, but has the merit of directly adressing another aspect of translation work involving journalism.

Translate or not to translate? What can translators learn from news agencies? by Hanna Gembus.

More to come following ITI's May 2017 conference where this paper will be presented.

25 October 2016

Cathars, better late than never

Libération, La Dépêche du Midi and other French newspapers relayed an AFP press release on the rather amazing fact that the Roman Catholic church has formally pardoned those who massacred the Cathars, also know as Albigenses, some 800 years ago. See also The heresy of perfection.

The article in Libération's edition of 16 October was entitled L’Église d’Ariège demande pardon pour le massacre des cathares.
La Dépêche du Midi's version of 17 October was headed: Cathares : l'église demande pardon.

The name Cathar comes from the Greek word katharoi, which means 'pure ones'. 

Vue prise le 25 juin 2001 du château Cathare de Montségur perché sur un rocher appelé "Pog" à 1207 mètres d'altitude. Haut lieu du Catharisme au 13e siècle, Montségur fut assiégé en 1241 et tomba le 16 mars 1244 où 205 Cathares furent brûlés vifs. Photo Pascal Pavani. AFP

24 October 2016

Mer et Marine à Euronaval 2016 : Succès pour le stand et le magazine

Source: Bon bilan pour la 25ème édition d’Euronaval

Mer et Marine : Succès pour le stand et le magazine

Concernant Mer et Marine, partenaire privilégié d’Euronaval depuis 10 ans, nous disposions pour la première fois d’un stand sur le salon. Une expérience très concluante puisque nous y avons reçu de très nombreux visiteurs et lecteurs, venus échanger avec la rédaction et l’équipe commerciale. Nous tenions à les remercier chaleureusement pour leur visite et les commentaires très positifs dont ils nous ont fait part, tant pour le travail effectué dans le cadre de notre édition quotidienne numérique que pour notre nouveau Hors-série paru à l’occasion d’Euronaval. Un magazine de 98 pages qui s’est pour ainsi dire « arraché », ne nous laissant en fin de salon qu’un petit stock qui sera diffusé dans les mois qui viennent, grâce au GICAN, sur les Pavillons France des grands salons internationaux dédiés à la défense.

Cette année, le magazine n'a été publié qu'en une seule langue, l'anglais, traduis par moi-même.

L'équipe sur le stand Mer et Marine à Euronaval (© : Mer et Marine)

10 October 2016

Of Sacks, Edelman, perception, terminology and more #2

When Sacks writes:
Categorization is the central task of the brain, and reentrant signaling allows the brain to categorize its own categorizations, then recategorize these, and so on.
it suggests to me first, that Wittgenstein was on the right track, and more importantly that Edelman's theory of Neural Darwinism (and Sacks's interpretation thereof) gives a deeper explanation of why categorisation is so central and how it works.

And when I read
This perceptual generalization (of 'chairhood') is dynamic, so it can be continually updated, and it depends on the active and incessant orchestration of countless details.
it suggests to me:

  1. That it may be time to review that most fundamental concepts of lexicography and terminology in the light of Edelman's theory. Perhaps they too need to be more dynamic.
    (If this has already been done then I'd be very grateful if anyone out there could send me a relevant link or two.)
  2. That this may help us to understand why text analysis on the basis of dictionary definitions and/or term databases often leaves one with the feeling that the author has actually managed to say something different because the overall impression left by a given passage depends to some extent or another on the fuzziness of the meanings of many if not all words and terms.
  3. That this may help us to understand how superior observers, specialists and devotees of all sorts are able to steadily increase the amount of useful information they can extract from the close observation of whatever it is they are interested in. Think of the golf instructor watching a player's swing or a swimming coach watching a swimmer's stroke.
I may not be making myself completely clear (although I can say, in French, je me comprends) and I may not even be saying anything original, so feel free to set me straight if you wish.

Of Oliver Sacks, Gerald Edelman, perception, terminology and more #1

I've just finished reading On the move by Oliver Sacks.

The second last chapter is entitled A new vision of the mind.

On p363 of the UK edition we have (with my punctuation):
Where perception of objects is concerned, Edelman* likes to say, the world is not "labeled"; it does not come "already parsed into objects". We must make our perceptions through our own categorizations. "Every perception is an act of creation," as Edelman says. As we move about, our sense organs take samplings of the world, and from these, maps are created in the brain. There then occurs with experience a selective strengthening of those mappings that correspond to successful perceptions  successful in that they prove the most useful and powerful for the building of "reality".
Edelman speaks here of a further, integrative activity peculiar to more complex nervous systems, this he calls "reentrant signaling". In his terms, the perception of a chair, for example, depends first on the synchronization of activated neuronal groups to form a "map", then a further synchronization of a number of scattered mappings throughout the visual cortex -- mappings related to many different perceptual aspects of the chair ( its size, its shape, its color, its "leggedness", its relation to other sorts of chairs  armchairs, rocking chairs, baby chairs, etc.). In this way, a rich and flexible percept of "chairhood" is achieved, which allows the instant recognition of innumerable sorts of chairs as chairs. This perceptual generalization is dynamic, so it can be continually updated, and it depends on the active and incessant orchestration of countless details.
Such correlations and synchronization of neuronal firing in widely separated areas of the brain is made possible by very rich connections between the brains maps  connections which are reciprocal and may contain millions of fibers. Stimuli from, say, touching a chair may affect one set of maps, stimuli from seeing it may affect another set. Reentrant signaling takes place between these set of maps as part of the process of perceiving a chair.
Categorization is the central task of the brain, and reentrant signaling allows the brain to categorize its own categorizations, then recategorize these, and so on. Such a process is the beginning of an enormous upward path enabling ever higher levels of thought and consciousness.
*: Gerald M Edelman, author of Neural Darwinism (1987) 

Many who have read about the origins or the philosophy of terminology will have realised that the decision to focus on the perception of a chair rather than, say, a table or anything else is no accident. It has been used by others including Steven Pinker in Words and Rules (p273 of the Perennial paperback edition), though I'm not sure who used it first. In any case, as Pinker says, this superb cartoon from The New Yorker "says it all".

"Attention, everyone! I'd like to introduce the newest member of our family."
The New Yorker Collection 1977 Jeff Kaufman from cartoonbank.com. All rights reserved.

The initial insights in this area appeared in Philosophical Investigations (German: Philosophische Untersuchungen), where Ludwig Wittgenstein uses the word 'Spiele' as his example.

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