Even for native speakers of English, building up a rich vocabulary can be quite challenging. Much easier for instance to use very + adjectif rather than struggling to find “le mot juste”.
The table below is a handy guide for this task.
A word of warning, however: the alternative to very + adjectif must be appropriate.
Eg, using swift with car just sounds wrong.
One can have a swift journey, a swift recovery and a swift runner, but for car one would rather speak of a speedy car.
This example underscores a highly complex aspect of the English language, all the more so as one can speak of a speedy journey, a speedy recovery and a speedy runner.
Here, the rule is that speedy can be used to describe anything that goes fast – animate, inanimate or process – as can swift, but in the latter’s case not for something that is mechanical (car, plane, etc).
Only native speaker translators translating into their mother tongue have this level of instinctive linguistic sensitivity. In fact, it is this type of extremely detailed and particularly picky aspect of our work that gives us the most job satisfaction.
Please contact me to discuss all types of translation and content writing work.
To demonstrate this, below is some profile information of a France-based French translator that is prominently displayed on the front page of a professional website.
Even though the translation is grammatically correct and easily understandable, it reads like translated text and isn’t how native speakers express themselves.
French text on the site
Parce que votre marque, votre produit ou votre service méritent mieux que des mots, vous avez besoin d’un traducteur qui est avant tout un homme à l’écoute. Pas un robot.
Translated text on the site
You need a human translator to adapt your brand content, your added-value, because at the end of the day it’s not just words we translate. It’s your vision.
“You”, “your”, “we” — in English, the passive voice tends to be used.
An “and” is missing between “your brand content” and “your added-value”
Contrary to French, English normally avoids repetitions of possessive pronouns (“your”) in a list, even when it only contains two elements.
“value” and “added” aren’t normally hyphenated.
“because at the end of the day” is a highly idiomatic expression that makes for an inappropriate “fit” within the context of this text.
For such a small chunk of text, an identical number of sentences in both the source and translated texts is often a bad sign. To maintain the original meaning of the source text, the translation needs to be reformulated.
Revised translation by a native English speaker translator
A translator who will communicate the subtleties and vision of a French brand, product or service in context-appropriate English.
The revised translation includes a mention of both languages.
The hyphenation in “context-appropriate” is correct.
No need to make any mention of “a robot”. It’s obvious the translator in the text is human and not a piece of software.
The translated text is slightly altered to ensure that the meaning of the source text is maintained.
Cultural awareness disregards translating gender insensitive French expressions such as “un homme à l’écoute”.
The fact is that the first impression given to a potential customer will often be the key determinant as to whether any subsequent work is undertaken. These types of “first contact” content therefore need to be flawless — and all the more so when on a website’s Home Page.
A complete mastery of all of the subtleties of the English language is the added value that only a native speaker translator can provide.
Please contact me to discuss any French to English translation and English content writing work. I’m sure I’ll be able to help.