As a native English speaker translator who translates from French and also has a background in journalism, I offer my clients:
- French-English bilingualism
- Excellent knowledge of English
- Sound English writing skills
Indeed, good writing skills in a translator’s target language is often forgotten as essential for this type of work.
Moreover, especially if a non-native speaker translator doesn’t live in the country of his or her target language, that key linguistic knowhow invariably just won’t be present.
Professional translators work into their native language
Translation: Getting it Right — a guide to buying translation
(Institute of Translators and Interpreters, 2014)
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.