The files area available on request.
- describe a niche market for translation and transcreation,
- explain how real commitment to a niche market can improve your job satisfaction and income, and
- show how this niche, like others, depends on fundamental skills.
- understanding what your client wants
- knowledge of the source language and culture
- technical knowledge of the client’s industry and technologies
- writing skills and flexibility in the target language.
For a definition of transcreation, see The truth about transcreation by Michael Farrell.
First, a word to the younger translators in the room
- First, translate the original.
- Then, a day or two later, review and, where necessary, rewrite the document with the same sort of rigour and severity as a copy editor (o editor ou chefe de redacção) might — specifically a copy editor of the type of publication you have chosen to emulate. In my case, Jane’s Navy International.
- Review again to double-check that you have fully taken into account the target readership’s information needs.
Negotiating a mandate
- Define the target readership and their information needs. Also identify the readership’s other sources of information in the target language on the topic of interest. One of these sources may be a good candidate for emulation.
- Reconcile and negotiate your client’s goals and your own aims. For example, if you are aiming to establish a reputation as a transcreator and the client wants a less ambitious translation, you may have to ask yourself if this client is for you.
- Should the client express interest in the details of your process — which is extremely rare in my experience — produce a test document for discussion then explain your method and the devices you use. The devices may include:
- geographical information omitted or added
- other content omitted or added
- passages reorganised
- passages where the focus has been changed or shifted.
- Whether talking to yourself as you transcreate, holding imaginary conversations with a curious client or responding to actual client queries, you will — or should — find yourself constantly referring to the end readers’ needs, which is to say the needs of your client’s customers.
- a Microsoft Word stylesheet (previously called a ‘template’), typically in *.dotm file format, to ensure consistent formatting
- a Style Guide* covering all relevant points of style, including preferred spellings, punctuation, use of acronyms and abbreviations, use of italics, etc., etc.
- instructions for graphics layout teams, webmasters and anyone else contributing to the final layout.
- I drafted a definition of the target readership
- proposed a Word stylesheet
- drafted and regularly update a Style Guide and instructions for the layout team
- discussed all of the above with the client.
What are the benefits of all this?
- higher job satisfaction
- higher client esteem
- possibly higher income (… rates need to be high to very high, but for some people — including me — this type of work can take a long time to produce)
- work with your head rather than boring and sometimes stressful translation tools.
Examples from Translating Technical Journalism:
The most important fundamental skill
- what your client wants
- source language and culture
- technical knowledge
- target-language writing skills.