21 September 2012


Freelance translators looking for tips on how to be better freelancers, or freelance businesspeople, as opposed to how to be better translators, should take a look at The Freelancery by Walt Kania. Walt offers good advice and ideas expressed in exemplary writing style.
Walt's 'portable wisdom' compilation: The 50 most useful articles from The Freelancery, neatly woven into a take-along PDF. Worth $18,756 in saved pain. Free here.

12 September 2012

Swearing. Context: media

Finding equivalents for swearwords can be fun. But when a newspaper users a swearword in a front-page headline and other media want to talk about it, they have a challenge on their hands.

A case in point was "Casse-toi riche con" on the front-page of leading left-wing French daily Libération on 10 September. Slate.fr put out an interesting post.

The New Statesman opted for "Get lost, you rich bastard".

Both the fun and the challenge are summed up by the tweet by trilingual (English, French, Arabic) CNN International anchor Hala Gorani: Ok les bilingues, traduisez-moi l'insulte "con" s'il vous plait. Essayez de ne pas faire trop grossier!

05 September 2012

Transcreation explained

Creative translators serving discerning customers, sometimes referred to as 'transcreators' -- in addition to translators specialising in advertising and 'corporate image' documents, the community also includes translators of technical journalism -- have long found it surprisingly difficult to present their services and explain how they work concisely and convincingly. The August/September issue of The Linguist, published by the UK-based Chartered Institute of Linguists, contains a ground-breaking article entitled Making it ad up (go to page 20) by friend and colleague Bill Maslen, owner-manager of and chief transcreator at The Word Gym.

The lead line reads: "Bill Maslen offers an inside account of advertising transcreation". While Bill focuses essentially on the advertising industry, most of the article is equally applicable to any translator-customer relationship in which both parties believe that the only way to achieve the greatest impact on the translation customer's customers is through mutual trust based on sustained dialogue.

The good news, for translators aiming to work for the most discerning customers, is that such relationships are increasingly seen as essential in advertising, finance and banking.
The bad news is that in other industries this type of relationship is less common and more difficult to both establish and maintain.
And once such a relationship has been established, there is the risk that a purchasing  executive might decide that intellectual services like translation are a commodity, like nuts and bolts, and that prices must be driven down.

For yours truly, one lesson is that these industries have something to learn not only from Bill's ground-breaking article, but also from the advertising, finance and banking industries where more people appear to know what words are worth. And where purchasing department are not responsible for buying in intellectual services.

The Word Gym page on transcreation closes with the comment:
"If your copy is going to work well in another language, in another culture, you need additional creative input."
We couldn't agree more...

French-English glossary of naval defence, v17

Below you will find a link to v17 of my  French-English Glossary of Naval Technology  dated October 2019. This glossary or lexicon is ...