These are the subtleties that the machine didn't get:
- Sie = you or she
- Stoff = substance or fabric
- Meter ≠ feet
- Word order, tense and punctuation are not quite correct in the last senctence
In our global world translating continues to be a major part of our communication. It's all about transferring a word, a phrase, an idea into another language. We do that all the time when we
speak a foreign language - more or less successfully. To improve your own speaking skills a language class is a good option and when you need a text transferred a professional translator is
It's not "just" about a correct translation of words, but about conveying meaning within a cultural context. We have to consider different grammar usage (e.g. verbal phrases, tenses), cultural
references, colour associations, idioms and cultural differences (e.g. how direct do you address a problem).
In business, brand consistency in marketing texts or liability issues in technical manuals are vital.
The translator beginns where online dictionaries and Machine Translation have their limits.
Hence, for a rough understanding these tools are quite helpful, but unfortunately not good enough with details and meaning in the (cultural) context. Especailly when marketing is concerned,
creativity and intuition is needed to get the message across, among other skills:
- Sound knowledge of both languages and cultural differences (how do you translate Marmite?)
- Copywriting skills
- Expert knowledge and terminology, depending on client and area of expertise
- Good general knowledge
- Client databases to ensure consistant terminology
- Handling of different file formats, e.g. Word, Excel, pdf, PowerPoint
Localization is much more than the actual translation of the text:
- Cultural references: EastEnders, Fairy liquid
- Idioms, proverbs
- Visual examples: "For breakfast we always had pancakes."
- Measurements/currency, date, time and number formats: cups, pouds, metres, feet, 1.000/1,000
- Sentence length and word order
- Formality / directness: a casual or speculative text should not sound authoritative or factual when translated.
- Space: English usually uses less and shorter words than German (important for layout on page, flyer, etc.)
- Definitions have to fit the text: organic / bio
- Regulations: text referring to chlorine water
- Abbreviations: asap
- Book titles: Does a translation exist, then the publisher's title should be used (research!)
- Effective slogans, advertising, e.g
Wir haben einen Weidenspaß – We have agrazing fun
Unser Käse ist legendär – Our cheese is legendairy
- Words in the other language might have a negative connotation, e.g. pushy.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimizing): Adapt keywords
- Adapt visuals and pictures to target audience
- Colour choice may also differ
- Detailed information on file format, target audience, volume, field,...)
- Firm offer regarding deadline and price
- If unsure regarding a term, I will ask or comment (specific term, errors in source text)
- Research. For example, a text refers to a book title, research is needed to find out if the book has already been translated and this title will be used in the translation.
- Formats like bold print will have to be included in the translation, in long texts it is important to adjust the text length, e.g. in Excel forms, flyers, picture descriptions.
- Spell check.
- Terminology database for each client: Needed to guarantee a consistent translation
- Proofreading, ideally by another translator, expert from client's company
- Quality Assurance: consistent terminology, formats, layout, check if translation sounds natural
- Creative work for marketing texts, slogans
- BTW: Proof reading is often just as time-consuming as translating.
Now, this does sound a lot of work, and it is, but a professional translator does all this automatically. Every client's project is different, always an exciting challenge and the price will
reflect that, i.e. it is not possible to give you a definite figure. But as a guideline, you can use these figures:
Translation, depending on difficulty, field, format and research time:
0.16€-0.24€ per word, plus VAT
Proofreading, depending on difficulty, field and volume:
0.26€-0.20€ per word, plus VAT
Marketing texts, copywriting:
0.20€-0.24€ per word, plus VAT
With projects that require high creative input, like slogans or marketing texts, I charge per hour, or add a "creativity charge" to the translation price.
"Words travel worlds. Translators do the driving."
"Worte reisen um die Welt. Übersetzer sind die Piloten "
Anna Rusconi, , Translator
Anna Rusconi, Übersetzerin