If you have been to a supermarket and tried any of their economy fruit or vegetables, you may agree that many of them taste the same or do not have any taste at all. Moreover, you will always wonder about how much value is in each item in terms of the nutrition and vitamin content — as you will never be able to see how and where those were cultivated and how much quality was invested into the process. We do not tend to associate the phrase "exquisite quality" with supermarkets. We go there because they are convenient and when there is no alternative available nearby.
In the same way one cannot expect exquisite quality and individual approach from a "supermarket" translation. It is impossible to treat each text as a personality if you have thousands of translators working remotely into and out of hundreds of different languages. Those translators will never communicate directly with their clients and they will not be able to evaluate all the linguistic nuances of the context and cultural background.
I see my business as a translation boutique where each client is the central point of attention and each word is nourished and cultivated with love and care. But delivering a text into the target language goes far beyond translating words. It comprises an intrinsic knowledge of the cultural heritage of Great Britain, Russia, Spain, France, Italy, Ukraine and any other country where our working languages are spoken. It is a deep knowledge of social and political life as well as of recent developments in business and legislation. It is a full awareness of historical perspective and the modern state of linguistics in each respective country. It is the knowledge of how the word is spoken, perceived and comprehended in numerous contexts. It is the sense of the language and culture and of what sounds right and wrong.
Before approaching translation per se I will always ask you the following questions:
1. What is the purpose of the translation? You may need to translate a legal contract to be signed by your business partner or a brochure that should find you new customers in your target country. This will affect the style, the level of complexity of terminology and even the layout of the document for the target market. The contract will follow the legal language in accordance with the requirements of the law of your target country whereas the brochure will have to grab the attention of your target readers from the very first word.
2. What is your target audience? This is of fundamental importance as it will affect the choice of lexis, syntactic structure of the sentences and even the register. These are almost never totally identical from language to language, particularly when moving between different social groups. On the one hand, if you want to address your marketing material to the young generation, the language and the choice of words will have to reflect it. On the other hand, the translational choices will be totally different if your target readership is a middle-class intellectual, a housewife or an animal lover. The language that people use within their social groups may have subtle differences that remain unnoticed to most language users. However, for a good translator it is always a challenge to find the correct balance when tailoring the translation to a specific audience.
3. What culture would you like your translation to fit into? This may sound strange but the debate regarding foreignization and domestication of texts to the target readership has been subject to major disagreement between translational scholars. You may want to ensure that your target reader immediately accepts the content as part of their culture and thus will develop an instant loyalty to your business, your product, service or book. Or you may want to surprise and intrigue them by bringing the culture of the source language country onto their doorstep and thus sparkle a curiosity that will drive them towards making a business, academic or cultural connection with you. You may have never thought about it, in which case I could offer you my expert advice to ensure your translated text is tailored to your specialised needs.
Of course, it goes without saying that every professional translation is a research project and I am proud to say that only reputable and recognised sources form part of my translation process.
I am also fully aware that even a tiny typo or a grammatical error could lead to huge consequences. That is why once the creative part of translation is completed the target text undergoes numerous quality assurance checks before I send it to my customers.
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