It’s now more important than ever that you can talk to customers in different languages. You’ve worked hard to grow your business – don’t let it get lost in translation! If you’re looking for the specialized help of freelance translator, there are a few tips which could help you to glide through the process.
1. It’s good to talk!
Speaking over the phone helps build a stable understanding between client and translator. For the freelancer, this gives us the opportunity to ask questions, find out whoyour business is and get a feel for your personality - this is all information which will help us choose the right way to translate for you and the right way to work with you. For the client, it gives a feeling of security to know that you’re dealing with a real person, and the opportunity to ask any questions about the process. So never be shy to pick up the phone.
2. Don’t make your brief too brief!
People differ in opinion on exactly what a “clear brief” is, so let me clarify. A translation brief should answer the W-Questions. What do you need to have translated? Which target languages? Why does this text exist (the purpose)? Who is your target audience? Where will it sit (environment)? And, most importantly, you should be avoiding industry jargon - do the N-Y test. That is, give it to a Nine Year old...if they can understand it, then you’ve got a good brief!
3. Define “Urgent”
If I had a dime for every request which was “Urgent”, then I’d be a millionaire! But “Urgent” means different things for different people. Us freelancers often have the resources to shuffle projects around, but only if we’re given the full information. Tell me when it’s due, and I’ll make sure it’s ready on time.
4. Share your schedule!
Sometimes we need to clarify terminology, but we know that you’re busy and we hate bothering you all the time. I always appreciate it when clients tell me somthing like “if anything is unclear, I’m usually free between 9am and 11am”. GREAT! I can stack up my questions as I’m working on your project and you won’t even hear from me during your busy period. This way, everyone is happy.
5. Give feedback!
There’s no good formula for feedback other than honesty. Give me examples of things I did that worked and things I could improve on. Be tough but not cruel. As freelancers, we’re working with hundreds of different people, with different styles and needs - so it just takes a bit of honest feedback for us to get it right.
6. Show the love!
Freelancers are simple creatures - if our client is happy, then we’re happy. And the only thing that makes us happier is when our client tells other people about their happiness! Our business depends on referrals. Perhaps you could write an endorsement on our LinekdIn profile, or introduce us to some of your industry friends? There’s nothing more beautiful than a smiling, happy freelancer!
When it comes to movies, just like books, they shouldn’t be judged by their cover. And they certainly shouldn’t be judged by their title – especially given that titles can be so badly translated that it sometimes appears that they could be referring to a different movie altogether. One which stands out for me is the 1976 British movie The Eagle Has Landed which was translated into French as L’aigle s’est envolé. Observant French speakers would realise that this translation means exactly the opposite to the original title!
Titles are important. They are the elevator pitch of a movie or a book, and the first impression that the audience has. They should be magical, like the whiff of ground coffee outside your favourite café – stirring inside of you deep feelings of excitement and anticipation. The title is the catalyst which prompts a viewer to say “yes” or “no” as well as signaling a sense of belonging to a genre or series.
As much as the titling of a film is important, so is the translation of a title! Aside from confusion, there could be more devastating outcomes of a poorly translated movie title…
You could give away the entire plot, as happened with Rosemary’s Baby, which was translated to La semilla del diablo in Spanish (The Devil’s Seed).
In the case of Jennifer Lopez’s movie The Cell, it seems as though the Hungarian translators were asked to translate without any context whatsoever, since they came back with the title “Sejt” – which means cell (organic tissue) rather than cell (prison).
Alternatively, you just alienate everyone like the makers of The Hangover who decided that the French version should be called Very Bad Trip.
I’d say it’s just a Very Bad Idea to un-translate the title of a movie.
Do you know of any other poorly translated movie/book titles?