5 Translation Blogs I Like to Follow

Although translation blogs remain « niche » blogs, there are quite a lot of them out there. If I had to recommend only a handful of them, it would probably be those listed below. Either for information, fun or advice, you’re bound to find something useful, whether you are a translator or a client.

Translation Times (http://translationtimes.blogspot.fr) is curated by the famous Jenner Twins. It’s very diversified, interesting and pleasant to read.

Trëma Translations (http://www.trematranslations.com/fran%C3%A7ais/blog/) by Gaëlle Gagné. It is written in French, so mainly addressed to French translators. It’s really informative and adapted to translators working in France. Lately, I really liked the author’s post about retirement plans that independent translators should consider. It’s never too early, right?

Thoughts on Translation (http://thoughtsontranslation.com/) by Corinne McKay. As mentioned on the site, she is an ATA-certified French to English translator. She launched Thoughts on Translation in February, 2008 as a way to connect and share ideas with freelance translators around the world.

Translator Thoughts (http://translatorthoughts.com/) is a great site to read when launching your freelance activity. Nice layout, user friendly, filled with practical info, you should find all that you need to set up your website and fine tune your translation skills.

Sara Colombo Translations (http://saracolombotranslations.com/blog/). I really enjoy her colourful and dynamic site. She publishes insightful blogs and engages on social network.

Do you have other translation-related blogs you enjoy reading?

A Quick Guide to Purchasing Translation Services

Following my post on « 5 myths about the translation industry », I thought it would be good to do a follow-up and offer some sound advice to future (or existing) buyers of translation services.

1/ Determine the purpose of your documents that need to be translated

Is it to attract potential clients (commercial, promotional material) or to send updates to your employees and investors (informational content)? This is crucial to determine the register and terminology applied.

2/ Your budget should not be the only factor weighing in when choosing a translator

The most common mistake would be to accept the cheapest quote. Such a choice could potentially cost you a lot more in damage control (see previous post mentioning translation blunders high-profile businesses had to face)! You can have two among the three options: quality/fast/cheap. Choose wisely.

Also, make sure that you are only sending the most important documents for translation. No need to have it all translated in bulk. Stick with one vendor so that overtime, you’ll have the possibility to request a discount on repetitive sections that emerge in the database created by the translator.

3/ Make sure you send all the necessary documents and reference files to your translator.

Communication is key to a successful partnership. If you have glossaries, reference files, or any other support material that could help your translator in applying the proper style and terminology, do send them along with the source file.

It would be completely counter-productive to get back to your translator after the project has been delivered in order to complain about the wrong use of terminology. Do yourself and your vendor a favour and prepare the project in a sensible manner. You would both benefit from it!

4/ The difference between a real mistake and a perceived error

I’ll be straightforward with that one: you may have learned the language in school, but you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that it allows you to make a sound assessment of the translation. I strongly suggest that you have the files proofread by a professional linguist. A third neutral opinion is the best compromise in order to settle any disagreements. Wouldn’t you agree?

If you wish to implement some preferential changes, let the translator know. But please, bear in mind that preferential changes are, by definition, completely subjective edits that should not be used to question the overall quality of the translation. A mistranslation and a stylistic choice are two very different notions.

I hope this will be useful in your quest for translators. If you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to help you out!

5 Myths about the Translation Industry

If you are looking to purchase translation services, the following article will give you important insight to help you make an informed decision when selecting an LSP (language service provider).

Before accepting a quote, you should first and foremost determine what you really need/want from this business transaction (quality/fast/cheap). Know that you can only pick two; so you want to choose wisely! And here’s why…

Myth #1: Being bilingual is enough to produce good translations and to proofread

Reducing costs is always a priority for companies (big or small). However, some choices could potentially bring about more problems. Your communication plan is critical to your image and sales. Chances are you spent a fair amount of time polishing your English communication (website, brochure, advert material, etc.). So why would you trust the critical mission of translating these strategic documents to someone who’s not a professional?

You have probably heard about the many translation blunders high-profile companies had to deal with in the past. For instance, in 2009 HSBC bank had to spend 10 million dollars on a campaign aimed at repairing the damage caused by the mistranslation of a catchphrase. In the 1990s, Body Shop launched a new product line that, when translated, actually contained vulgar terms in Puerto Rico slang. It tarnished the image of the company and ever since, it’s had difficulties entering this market.

The cost of these (avoidable) blunders was far greater than what it would have cost to actually hire a professional translator. So, my piece of advice would to be to consider the risks before accepting the cheapest quote.

Myth #2: Computer-generated translations are a safe choice to reduce cost

As it happens, some companies resort to a new strategy to reduce translation costs. They use automatic translation softwares such as Google Translate and the likes to get a « translation foundation » so that they only have to request a proofreading task (logically less expensive). I cannot stress this enough… but this is absolutely counter-productive. In 99,99% of the case, the text produced by these machines will be so bad and incomprehensible that translating from scratch is the only solution! For a mutually beneficial business relationship, all parties should be valued and respected for their work.

When applying this approach, you are setting yourself up for a massive disaster (see myth #1). To get attractive rates from serious, professional translators, I suggest that you implement the following changes in your source documents:

¤ Remove any obscure acronyms or jargon that only your company uses (Unless the translator is an in-house employee, he/she won’t be aware of any of them and you would have to spend time explaining them)

¤ Make sure the formatting is simple and doesn’t require any kind of DTP work.

¤ Only include the parts that really need translating. Review your files and only send the most important ones to the translator.

¤ Work with the same translator because he/she will be able to create a database of your past projects over time. And then, when similar projects come up, you could potentially get a discount on repetitive sections.

Myth #3: There can only be a « one size fits all » standard, so requesting a back translation is a safe quality control process

Let’s make something clear from the start: if you had your documents translated by 100 different translators, you would get 100 different versions! That’s a fact. And if you’re working with professional, reliable practitioners, all 100 versions would actually be accurate. Every translator has a different writing style and will make arbitrary decisions. One translator said « nice » when the other used the term « kind ». Different words/choices for the same result.

That’s why using another translator to perform a back translation is NOT a guarantee of quality. This new professional will not use the same words as the author of the source text. Most of all, he could implement mistakes in this new version and lead you to think that the translation is incorrect. You would have no way of knowing it. This process is so random that you should not consider this process as a safe quality control procedure. A third party proofreader/reviser remains the safest option.

Myth #4: Big agencies are more convenient than independent translators

It all depends on your needs. If you’re looking to have your documents translated in 15 different languages, you might prefer to centralise the process and use the services of an agency that’s in contact with a huge number of translators in a wide array of language pairs. However, agencies remain the middle man and they do not always hire translators as PMs. So, the project managers you deal with may not be completely familiar with everything that goes into translating, a major disadvantage when it comes to meeting your needs.

A small business or a one-person business (as is the case with the majority of independent translators) can offer a more personalised business relationship. The decision-making process is also much faster because there’s a limited number of people involved. You don’t need to go through a myriad of employees before getting in touch with the CFO for instance.

On the financial front, it is often more cost-effective because a small business doesn’t have the same overhead costs. So, by hiring an independent translator, you would save money, get bespoke services and communicate more easily. Indeed, an independent translator could get back to you outside of business hours if needed. And if you’re in a bind, he/she could also commit to work on weekends or bank holidays in order to meet your needs. It would naturally incur a higher fee, but only small businesses can offer such flexibility!

Myth #5: A translator asking questions about the source text must be incompetent (or lazy)

A rigourous translator may, at some point, ask you a couple of questions if the source text you sent includes some obscure terms (jargon, acronyms, etc.) or isn’t quite clear. It is actually very positive. It shows the translator is making sure the terminology applied is accurate.

But I understand this can be a nuisance, especially when you are yourself quite busy. To avoid  lengthy email exchanges that would be time-consuming for both parties, I suggest your make sure beforehand that the source text is clear, well-written and free of mistakes (you’d be surprised to see the number of source texts that are poorly written!). If you already have glossaries, style guides or reference documents, do send them to your translator along with the source text that needs to be translated.

I hope you found these pieces of advice useful and practical. For more information, feel free to contact me.

The status of French in the world

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development has recently published an enlightening article that will show you how important it is to have your content translated into French.

French is widely spoken all over the world, with more than 220 million speakers on all 5 continents! It is taught in many countries. It is the official language of a myriad of international entities, including UN bodies and the Olympic Games.

French is an official language of 29 countries, second only to English in this category.

From a business perspective, it is also a language of reference that has to be reckoned with. So it is crucial to address your potential French-speaking clients in French. Think globally but act locally!

France and the French-speaking countries play an active part in the world economy, accounting for some 20% of world trade in goods.

As mentioned in previous posts, it is crucial to address new markets using the local language. It has been proven that localisation leads to a higher conversion rate. Consequently, having your website, business literature, press releases (among other documents) translated into French is crucial to engage successfully in French markets.

French also accounts for 5% of Internet pages, ranking between sixth and eighth of the languages most widely used on the Internet.

Find the whole article here: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy-1/promoting-francophony/the-status-of-french-in-the-world/

Translate Your Online Content in French

Social media have changed the way people communicate and companies do business. It can no longer be overlooked when a company tries to reach new customers and/or investors. When referring to social media and online content, I’m speaking about websites, blogs, Twitter, Google+, Facebook,  Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

Through all of them, you can reach an outstanding number of potential clients, especially the younger generation. To have a better understanding of the impact of such networks, check out the numbers in one of my recent blogs showing an infographic about content marketing and how such strategy impacts online success. To see that infographic again, please click here.

63% of companies said posting content on social media has increased marketing effectiveness.

And make no mistake, English is definitely not the sole language used on social media. Still unsure whether you should translate? Watch this video « Social Media Revolution », it’s compelling:

Language among Top 5 Barriers to Doing Business

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) published and recently updated its AIBS 2014 report (Australia’s International Business Survey), one of the most comprehensive investigations into Australian international business activity to be conducted in more than a decade.

The survey found that one of the top obstacles to doing business and/or accessing markets is a lack of information about local culture, business practices and language.

Therefore, translation should be seen as an investment, not a cost. Good communication is key to success on a global scale.

For more information, read the complete survey report here.

For highlights report, click here.

The importance of multilingual content marketing

Do you know how important content marketing is?

Companies willing to boost their sales shouldn’t overlook blogs and social media. According to this article « The anatomy of content marketing »: blogs give sites 434% more indexed pages and 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy more brands they follow.

Therefore, it’s crucial to communicate online, and above all, to communicate in your customers’ language. Don’t hesitate to publish blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, newsletter articles in several languages. You’ll broaden your footprint and reach a much wider audience.

These compelling numbers were published in a very informative infographic to illustrate the power of marketing content.

AnatomyofContentSource: article on prdaily.com.

NAATI-stamped French Translations

In need of NAATI-stamped translations of your personal documents?

The Australian authorities sometimes require certified translations of personal documents for official administrative use.

I can provide NAATI-stamped translations of your CV, diplomas, degrees, birth and/or marriage certificates, driving licence, etc.

Please note that I only provide stamped translations in the following language direction: English into French.

If your documents need to be translated into English, please visit the online directory curated by NAATI (http://www.naati.com.au/)

On Offering Business Content in French

What are the benefits of having your documents translated?

You may not realise it, but it’s actually crucial to address potential (and existing) clients in their own language. You’re more likely to drive your conversion rate and bottom line if you decide beforehand to invest in translating your business literature: brochures, press releases, website, emails, newsletter, social media communication plan, etc.

Have you noticed that, when travelling, the locals always respond very favourably when you make a small effort and try saying a few words in the local language? The same applies in the business world. But this time, you need to go the professional route and contact a professional translator to ensure an error-free translation.

Translating isn’t a cost, it’s an investment. By offering well-targeted and nicely-worded content, you’ll give your company a powerful image and an international footprint.

Don’t hesitate to contact me through my « Contact Page » for more details and/or a free quote.