Style. It’s not just for Versace…

By on December 5, 2016

I awoke this morning to find…

I woke up this morning and found…

When I woke up this morning, I found…

When I awoke this morning to find…

When writing original English copy, there are multiple options for conveying an idea. Similarly, there is almost certainly more than one way to translate a particular idea from another language into English.  The same is of course true when translating from English into other languages, to varying degrees.

You can probably think of other ways to express the idea of waking up this morning and finding something.  Imagine how many variations there are in a full sentence, a paragraph, or a page of text.

The style of the original text can guide the translator and help them to choose which option is best.

If the sentences above were options for a translation, there would probably be a “technically correct” option, but it may not be the best option in terms of style.  The first sentence is a bit more formal.  The second is a bit less formal.  Also, a sentence within a larger text should always reflect the content around it, so the word order may need to be altered slightly to provide a better flow.

Languages with rich, complex vocabularies are incredible things, but producing a great translation can be tricky.

A translator can analyse the style of a particular source text, and then convey that style in the target translation, as much as is suitable.  For example, some countries are more formal, and do not welcome overly familiar marketing copy, like what we see on Innocent drinks packaging here in the UK.

Whilst our clients trust us to choose the most suitable style for the target market, providing details about the brand strategy, target audience, company ethos and campaign goals can help us to ensure that the translation is as suitable as possible. Also, if a client is happy for the translator to veer away from the source text in order to get a more authentic feel, or if they prefer to review test pieces to see how individual translators convey ideas, we can make this happen.

We understand that the “exact” translation may not be the most suitable, and as there are many ways to convey an idea, we work to create the right translation for every client.


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