Last month I attended the Warwick Translates Summer School at the University of Warwick, a series of literary translation workshops and talks led by leading professional translators and publishers. As I hadn’t been to a translation event in quite some time and this one was especially geared towards literary translation, I was quite excited. My enthusiasm clearly showed as I tried to cram in three modules over the 5 days: French translation, Spanish translation, and Theatre translation.
Getting a certified translation of a personal document such as a birth or marriage certificate can seem like a minefield – and if you’re applying for a UK visa or passport, you want to get it right first time to avoid wasting time or money.
But there is surprisingly little information online about what your translated document should include, how it should look, and what kinds of things are acceptable. You may receive some information with your application, but the most helpful official information can only be found on thesetwo web pages.
On my blog, I like to talk about how to get the best possible translation for your money and reach the happiest ending for either you or your business – but unfortunately, sometimes things may not go as planned, either for the translator or for the person requesting the translation. I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never received questions about a translation I’ve done – although thankfully, these have never been full-on complaints, just clarifications 😉
Still, if you’ve hired a translator to translate your website or business documents, but something feels a bit off…how do you fix it?
In my previous job, there was a Dutch guy and a French woman (and me) and we were always called upon to do quick translations for our teams. The company we worked for was in that funny position where there wasn’t enough demand for there to be a full-time in-house translator, but the need for small or urgent translations still arose from time to time – for things like invoice queries, training materials, and certain emails.
On 7th March, I was invited to a translation round table at the University of Exeter, where I, along with two other translation professionals, took questions from the final-year Modern Languages students, who are currently in the middle of a translation business project.
Many translators would agree that there are two ways to translate something. While some of our clients appreciate that translations take time, require creativity and expertise, and may not word-for-word look like the original text, other clients may prefer a literal translation to be on the safe side, or may say something along the lines of “it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect” or “as long as people can understand what it says”.
The benefits of being multilingual have long been proven. Studies have shown that aside from looking great on your CV, bilingualism boosts your cognitive and problem-solving skills, improves your memory, and even staves off Alzheimer’s.
Last month, a friend of mine wanted a translation from English into Spanish, Italian and German, and while I recommended some of my trusted colleagues to her, she had mentioned that someone in her office had suggested they use Fiverr.
I shared my horror with my colleague and friend, Hannah Keet, and we bemoaned the fact that people seem to expect quality professional work, but are only willing to pay peanuts – but for peanuts, the quality will surely not be great. That’s when Hannah had the idea: why don’t we test this theory for ourselves through a “mystery shopping” exercise?
A friend of mine, Sarah, works for a media company that recently needed some transcribing and translation services, and it fell to her to locate some translators and take care of the project. Although this was her first time working with translators, her experience a) ends happily and b) might help others who may need a translator one day.