Here you can read more on translation and interpretation, linguistics and other language related topics.
By providing interpretation services for Russian and German speaking clients in Hong Kong I make sure that they can communicate what they mean in Asia's financial and business capital.
English is one of two Hong Kong's official languages. Find more here.
Do simultaneous interpreters always work in pairs?
Simultaneous interpreters usually work in pairs.
But when meetings are long and we work bi-directionally (for example, English to Russian and Russian to English), at international conferences 3 interpreters for the same language set are assigned.
In this setting, the interpreters switch
every 20 minutes.
This allows to stay focused and ensure high performance over a longer period of time.
#englishrussian #russiangerman #englishgerman
Photo credit: Private archive
“Victoria, if Merkel speaks Russian and Putin German, what language do they speak with each other?”
They speak their mother tongue, through interpreters. The interpreter of politician A interpreters into the language of the politician B. Even when both parties speak each other’s language fairly well.
Let me explain why. Please note that my explanation does not refer to the photograph and the individuals mentioned above.
Having an interpreter is required by the protocol and is largely of a benefit to the politicians.
🔹 Speaking one’s partner’s language has a symbolic meaning of courtesy, respect, but might also be interpreted as a submission or a favour.
🔹 Politicians, CEOs etc. would rather spend their energy on WHAT to say and HOW they want to say it, not on the foreign language. Speaking a foreign language puts you in a weaker position, as the means of expression are limited and you may not be able to convey the message the way YOU want.
🔹 In a consecutive mode the speaker can gain time to think of how to reply to what has just been said.
🔹 In the worst case (for the interpreter), the speakers can blame the interpreter for having misinterpreted the message or ask the interpreter to translate it again.
#interpretationexplained #1nt #internationalconference #eventmanagement #переводчиквазии #dolmetscher #fremdsprachen #internationalrelations
Photo credit: Private archive
It is not only interpreting... Working at a conference is just a tip of the iceberg of the assignment-related work. The biggest chunk of the job is preparation. Sometimes it takes weeks to prepare for a 2-days meeting.
The challenge (and the fun) of being an interpreter is to be able to get into the head of the people one is working for: be it politicians, pharmacology specialists, sports managers, chocolate producers, you name it!
My preparation work usually includes:
✅ Thorough research of the
✅ Creation of glossaries
✅ Learning terms by heart
✅ Getting the names and the functions of the speakers and participants
✅ Finding the speakers online, preferably on youtube and/or podcasts, so I can get used to their manner of speaking and accent
✅ If the assignment is taking place in a country I have never been to, I familiarise myself with this country’s culture and background, in order to anticipate any cultural references. This is really about getting into the heads of my clients.
As always, the list is not exhaustive. Sometimes my preparation includes: visiting a museum, an archive, even a brewery. I also watch relevant documentaries and, if time permits, the significant films.
Translation… Transcreation… Localisation... Copywriting… It is just a text in a foreign language, right?
So your company decided to expand in to other countries and is planning to offer your goods or services overseas, for example in Germany, France, Russia, etc. You have done a thorough market research, got experts on board and ready to go. The only remaining barrier is the foreign language, but the solution is seemingly clear -
You need a translator. So far so easy, it seems.
What many people do not know, is that hiring language experts is like hiring a lawyer - for family affairs you will less likely choose to work with corporate lawyer, although both of them are “into law”. So how to choose the right expert with the right skill set for your company’s needs?
First, decide on the language you need.
If you are expanding to Spain, ask yourself, do you need only Spanish or also Catalan? If you are going to offer your products in Switzerland, please consider, that this country has four (4!) official languages, and, for example, the written German used there is slightly different from the German in Germany and Austria (to say nothing about the spoken language).
Second, clearly define what you need the translation for.
This is often neglected, so let me give you a short overview of different language products and the respective experts.
Anything what is related to contracts, you might want to work with a legal translator, someone who underwent training in law. Sworn translators are usually familiar with legal matters, however, it depends a lot on the country’s specific requirements for sworn translators.
Make sure that the translator works with an editor, preferably also specialized in law, who would double check every single detail (a maker checker approach). Excellent translators and serious translation agencies usually aware and this service is included. It is crucial for legal texts and will give you a peace of mind. This particularly applies, when neither you nor any of your colleagues speak the target language.
On the other hand, if it is a business letter, an invoice or a project proposal (unless very technical) that you have to send to your foreign partners, then you need a translator. The same applies for product documentation. If it is a technical project description, then you should seek technical translator’s services. Make sure that the translator has worked in that field before and ask them for respective references. Also, if you have any internal style guides and/or glossaries, send them to the translator. This is how you can assure the consistency of the translated texts.
If you want your app translated - then a localiser is the best option. Localisation means that the text is going to be fitted into the cultural context of the target audience. Translators specialised in localisation are the ones who understand how to make the usability feel natural, especially regarding the length of the words.
As for marketing material or blog posts in another language you should consider hiring a transcreator. Transcreation is a text written by a native speaker, with expertise in the source language. The transcreated text ideally will provoke the same effect on the target audience as the original text on the primary audience. The transcreation specialist will adopt the text the way that it will feels “natural” or "not alienated" to the target audience. For example, maybe your products have a certain feature which needs to be highlighted more in the target country you are expanding to... A good transcreator can address that!
A copywriter might be an excellent partner for you if you want to create content from the scratch without a clear equivalence in your language. But, what about websites? Usually, the navigation is translated by a localiser, but as for articles, about us pages etc. a transcreator or copywriter with SEO expertise would be the best choice.
As you can see there is a whole variety of language specialists (and the list is not exhaustive) and more or less all of them are usually referred to as “translators”. Many translators have several skills out of the mentioned above. Remember, if in doubt about what type of language product you need and what your language expert needs to have an expertise in, drop me a line.
Feel free to contact me for more information. Here to help!
For some companies it might seem only natural to delegate the translation work for advertising, contracts, website, apps, etc. to their employees, who speak foreign languages. It seems to make sense, as these employees are familiar with the products, the corporate culture, and language. However, this is the only advantage. And there are many things a company should consider before asking their employees to do some translation work.
First of all, the employees already have their primary role: Be it accounting, design, marketing, sales, etc. That means that they cannot primarily focus on the translation and localisation task. Even if it is only “couple of lines” or “a column in an excel-sheets” for your app, and you think it will only take 20 minutes to make, it will probably take way longer than expected. Translation is something that requires high concentration as well, so doing it „on a side“ or „during the lunch break“ will bring rather mediocre results.
Second, an excellent translation requires more work and broader skills than it seems. As simple as it sounds, translation is not about words in another language, it is about the meaning. And the meaning depends on the context in a broad sense. Let us take legal translation. As soon as you deal with two different languages, you - almost certainly - deal with two different legal systems, where there is no one ideal solution. For example, a certain legal term in Russian can be translated in two different ways into German, depending on the meaning. This is where the context plays a crucial role. Please consider, that a good translator would ask about your product, the purpose of the translation, as well as many technical questions. Only then a language expert will comprehend your message and be able to convey it.
Another critical aspect is the language command of the employee. Even if his or her role is multilingual, one should keep in mind that, what might be a good enough French for the customer support, might turn out as very poor French when it comes to translation of contracts, apps or websites. Ideally, the translator should have lived in the country of his or her foreign languages, be familiar with the culture and traditions, and have a good feel for the nuances of language.
How translation done by experts can save you money?
I have seen it too many times that companies, for convenience and cost reasons, aks their multilingual employees to translate something. Like one of my clients, who turned to me after having had a bad experience with an app translation done by his (non-translator) employee.
What happened was, that this company asked one of the finance department employees to translate their app into German, then they even asked another employee, who took German classes at high school, to look through it, and then, assuming, that it is now good enough, the developers released the German app. Only after getting some negative customers’ reviews, they found out, that the German language version is poor and not user-friendly. This is where the company decided to turn to a renowned translation agency or a freelance translator to control the damage and finally I came into the picture.
For company, that means, than instead of working on new projects, the work on that particular app will have to start over again. Which will require more time, money, resources, and efforts from other team members (app developers, designers, etc.).
Another quite frequent “solution” many companies find, is to hire a comparatively cheap translation agency. However, a “low-cost” translation only means that the agency makes it with Google Translate. Most likely, the company will have to overhaul it with the help of serious and professional translators. Just be aware of that risk so you can avoid unnecessary costs.