3 things I learned at Warwick Translates Summer School

Source: Mike1024

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.

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Why are there two French versions of the Les Misérables musical?

Translating

Last week, I watched Les Misérables on stage for the first time ever. I know – I worked in a theatre for 9 years, but this particular show had passed me by. Partly because I live over 200 miles away from the West End so I mostly rely on shows touring to my part of the world, but also because my existing knowledge of the show painted it as a depressing tragedy, so I wasn’t exactly in a rush to see it.

But there’s a reason why it’s one of the longest-running musicals in the world: despite the sad events throughout, I found the performances incredible and it was hard not to get swept up with those iconic songs. Ever the linguaphile, the next day I looked up the original French soundtrack on YouTube to see how it compared with the English.

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3 translations into English that have suffered translation loss

Translations into English translation loss - cover

Humanity has been translating words from one language into another for thousands of years – from inscriptions in stone to religious texts, from books to films, and even songs.

But as any translator will tell you, sometimes it’s just impossible to copy everything into another language and expect it to have the same effect; some real creativity and ingenuity is needed to adapt the text to the new audience. Occasionally, the best solution is to leave some aspects behind in the original language, omitting certain parts in order for it to make sense – and be well received – in the new language. This is called translation loss.

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What to do if you’re not happy with a translation you’ve commissioned

You may not have to throw away your translation

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?

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Why this “good enough” translation is not fit for purpose

 

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”.

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Differences in Business Culture – UK vs. France

Even though we’re only about 21 miles apart at the shortest point of the English Channel, France can sometimes feel like a world apart from the UK. Stereotyping both parties is almost too easy – The French think that the British drop everything to drink tea at 5 pm, while the Brits think that the French drop everything to go on strike…well, whenever they please!  Continue reading

French False Friends: 10 words to look out for as a tourist in France

Photo of Eiffel Tower statues. Copyright Edward Borlase

Photo credit: Edward Borlase

Ahh, false friends: the bane of any languages student’s life – as well as being rather annoying for translators and travellers alike. Just when you think you’re getting the hang of a language, you come across a word that looks exactly like an English word. Brilliant, you think – and then, you find out later, that it wasn’t at all the word that you thought it was.

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