21 June 2018

A mandate to transcreate

I transcreate a regular technical journalism publication from French into English. The declared aim of this publication is to promote specific France-based industries. The source articles give people who read French access to in-depth news and analysis on companies, projects, products and services in the target sectors. For the English version, the editorial team selects articles of potential interest to a wider technical audience throughout Europe.

It is my job to translate while adapting the English-language content to suit the new target audience and emphasizing the positive, particularly with regard to French successes in tailoring products and services to client needs.

Where I feel a passage is likely to be of little or no interest to the target readership, I shorten or delete it. In the email accompanying my draft I explain my editorial decisions. To my mind, this is where transcreation differs from 'translation' in the normal sense.

Recently, I transcreated an article based on an interview with the CEO of an advanced technology company. The interviewee discussed recent news and the state of progress of his company's main technology among other issues of interest.

At one point, the interviewee explained why he thought the French government should subsidise his company's technology until it became cost-competitive with other technologies in the same general area.

I suggested to my client that this passage would probably have a distinctly negative impact on a large proportion of the target readership of the English version. Indeed, I felt that the passage was at odds with the declared aim of my client's publication. Because the passage was relatively long, I translated it, but suggested to the client that we delete it. After reviewing my version of the article, my client agreed with my line of argument and the passage was duly deleted.

While this is an extreme case, I think it illustrates how useful transcreation can be to a client and how much success hinges on close collaboration between transcreator and client.

25 May 2018

My public portfolio

My public portfolio includes:
Feedback on any of these posts is more than welcome.

Night jasmine is an example of maritime literature, Je vais passer pour un vieux con is an example of light journalistic humour, for want of a better description, and all the other posts are transcreations, or translation/adaptations, of technical journalism from French to English.

Add a page to a public portfolio

Prospecting for new clients for your translation/transcreation services? One technique is to identify a company, product or service that you find interesting, technically within your scope and worthy of better promotion in your target language.

Here's an example of how to add a page to your public portfolio.

Here is the link to the original (in French) concerning a product that I find fascinating. The company is called SBS Interactive, the product is called Vis-On and the page I have chosen to translate and adapt is headed VIS-On : visualiser le tel que construit.

Here is my version:
SourceTranslated and adapted by Steve Dyson.


VIS-On: “As built” visualisation

8 February 2018

Ship inspections can be difficult to organise, first because most vessels are seldom accessible and second because inspections take time. They are nevertheless essential for training, to plan and prepare maintenance and other works and to show vessels to potential clients.
SBS Interactive developed the VIS-On® enhanced visualisation system to make ships directly accessible for online inspection and interaction.
SBS Interactive applications like VIS-On® save users time and money.


·  Remotely inspect ships and shipboard spaces using enhanced visualisation.
·  Train personnel to follow standard procedures.
·  Plan maintenance procedures and add tasks as necessary.
·  Do maintenance while compiling user-friendly manuals.
·  Prepare quotes by giving subcontractors direct remote access to relevant work spaces.
·  Improve safety by raising risk awareness and preparing for emergencies.
·  Promote products and know-how.
·  Compile visual inventories.

See equipment and spaces “as built”

Use VIS-On® enhanced visualisation software to prepare, document and share secure virtual ship inspections. VIS-On® offers far more than internet-based virtual tours developed for the general public. The package is designed for industrial use starting with secure immersive inspection tours by in-house teams or third parties.


Video features include:
·  360° panoramic photos taken inside shipboard spaces
·  360° laser scans to take measurements
·  2D panoramic views of outdoor and deck areas
·  aerial views recorded by drones
·  CAD/CAM drawings, views and graphics complete with attachments for virtual navigation.

Main functions

Use VIS-On® to:
·  create immersive virtual tours of ships (360° and 2D views, drawings, and laser measurement)
·  attach files (pdfs, photos, videos, Word® documents) to 360° views
·  interact with computer-aided maintenance management (CAMM) and electronic document management (EDM) packages
·  create inspection tours focusing on training, maintenance, safety, etc.
·  share tours with authorised third parties
·  remotely access tours via internet, intranet or offline
·  search, i.e. enter keywords to find items of equipment, spaces and attachments
·  improve teamwork (add tasks, tests, inspections, etc. as necessary)
·  measure distances to within a cm
·  compile inventories using 360° photos taken before, during and after maintenance
·  store attachments in a single safe location.


  1. Autre possibilité pour le titre: VIS -On: See it “as built” 
  2. Orthographe et ponctuation (surtout des listes) selon mes préférences personnelles. Bien entendu, d’autres préférences sont possibles.
  3. À supposer que SBS utilise « virtualisation enrichie » parce que c’est n’est pas la même chose que la « réalité virtuelle », j’ai traduit par « enhanced visualisation » plutôt que « virtual reality ». 
  4. Dans "Maintenir en préparant l’intervention et en ajoutant des tâches", l'expression "en ajoutant des tâches" ne me semble pas très clair. Pourrait-on clarifier ou donner un exemple? 
  5. CAMM & EDM: à confirmer. 
  6. ‘Tasks’, ou bien ‘jobs’ ? Pourrait-on clarifier ou donner un exemple?


This blog has now logged over 100,000 hits. So, a quick word of thanks to all those who have found something of interest among my posts and a small request. Please send me any feedback that you feel appropriate. Thank you.

13 April 2018

So what does "Make it sing" really mean? (Recovered)

It's a good question.
Attempts to explain what is meant usually get bogged down after just a few paragraphs.
So how about explaining the idea using examples?
Great idea, but really telling, convincing examples can be hard to find.

Good news!
Here's one that I find convincing:

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.
Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
Source: GoodReads by Gary Provost
To hear it read with aplomb, try this.

It looks and reads better with a layout that I can't readily equal using Blogger:

For information on Gary Provost (1944-1995), see here.

Next step?

Now all I need is similarly convincing examples from the worlds of technical journalism and translated technical journalism.
Any suggestions?

This tweet by Anglocom is pertinent:
36 minutes agoMoreA good reminder for English translators of Latin languages: “An abstract noun neither smiles nor sings nor tells bedtime stories.” (Lewis Lapham)

10 April 2018

So what does "Make it sing" really mean? ... accidentally deleted

I was about to add to my post entitled
So what does "Make it sing" really mean?
(previously at steve-dyson.blogspot.com/2018/03/so-what-does-make-it-sing-really-mean.html)
but accidentally deleted the entire post.

If anyone happens to have a copy, could they please send it to me.

I was going to add this excellent quote by Tim Parks in
Why translators deserve some credit
The translator who is on song – the one who has the deepest understanding of the original and the greatest resources in his own language – brings style and content together in something altogether new that is also astonishingly faithful to its model.
Love the expression "on song".
Beautiful and indeed precisely on song.

Recovered thanks to web.archive.org

02 April 2018

Exchange with FT regarding the word 'minaret'

After reading Château de Chambord: overnighting at the Loire’s grandest folly, I submitted a comment saying something along the lines (when I tried to recover my original comment it was no longer accessible):
Nice article. In my opinion, however, one term stood out like a saw thumb. I refer to your use of 'minaret'.
In the version currently online, we find:
I sit at the window of my room in the Relais de Chambord, a new hotel beside the castle, watching the last of the sun reflect off its pale sandstone, its turrets and domes, towering walls and endless windows.
and the caption:
The castle’s turrets and domes seen from the hotel garden
 These previously read:
I sit at the window of my room in the Relais de Chambord, a new hotel beside the castle, watching the last of the sun reflect off its pale sandstone, its minarets and domes, towering walls and endless windows.
and the caption:
The castle’s minarets and domes seen from the hotel garden
I promptly received the following reply
Tom Robbins, FT Travel Editor said:
Thanks SteveDy. I think it's technically defensible since, according to the Oxford Dictionary, it means "a slender tower". But of course minaret usually relates to mosques, so yes "turret" would be better. I've now updated this piece to that effect. Thanks again

followed a couple of days later by
RuaridhNicoll said:
I defer to my esteemed editor here Steve, but just to explain my thinking, I wrote minaret intentionally because the roofscape was designed to resemble Constantinople. I should have probably said that though! best Ruaridh


  1. I find the Oxford Dictionary's definition of 'minaret' rather inadequate.
  2. I like Ruaridh's use of 'roofscape'.
  3. I was fascinated to discover that Ruaridh is a  Scottish name that means 'red king'.
  4. I was even more fascinated to discover that the roofscape was designed to resemble Constantinople. What a wonderful titbit of trivia for a dinner party discussion on touring France.
  5. Further proof that a terminologist's curiosity often leads to interesting exchanges.

A mandate to transcreate

I transcreate a regular technical journalism publication from French into English. The declared aim of this publication is to promote specif...