a unique, two-step, process

In this increasingly globalised world, the demand for translating copy between written languages is growing.  The term 'translation', however, is used very loosely to describe a variety of derivative works. . .  when what is usually required is transposition.

[ BONUS:  Translation v transposition ]

A translation adheres closely to the original text, with very little license beyond the best rendering of a word or phrase.  A transposition, on the other hand, modifies the output based on the desired final meaning and form.

I'm sure we've all giggled at the absurdity of (translated) directions for use on a Chinese washing machine.  It really beggars belief that the manufacturers or distributors, having spent millions on marketing, allow their product instructions to read; "During mechanism resting must make pressure on button for use below electric flow!" when, for less than 50 quid, could have had it transposed to;  "Switch off stand-by mode to save energy!"


Is Artificial Intelligence the answer?   Google Translate, for example, boasts neural machine translation which, it is claimed, allows it to generate more natural text. . .  but it is still merely a translation.

At the current state of technology, AI is unable to capture the nuance that stems from each language's different grammatical rules, semantics, syntax and cultural influence.  That is why this two-step translation is so valuable.

1:  translation

Let me have the URL of your website, from which I can copy the copy, or email the source text to be translated in an editable form;  (.doc, .txt or an unlocked .pdf)*.  I will then submit it, paragraph by paragraph, to one or more translation Apps in order to generate the raw translation.  This step works from any source language, even those employing non-Latin alphabets such as Cyrillic, Chinese or Thai.

*If already you have a previously translated version, simply send it to me and the process can move directly to the next step. . .  transposition.

Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, verbatim translation wrings the sense, meaning and subtlety out of copy, which is why Step 2 is so critically important!

2:  transposition

Using the translated text as the source, I can then re-write the copy to recover the intended meaning, to add context and to tailor the voice to your target market.

Because such copy goes through multiple iterations, the review and proof reading process becomes even more important.  I will submit an initial draft of the raw translation. . .  plus a further draft for editorial approval after transposition.

[ BONUS:  The length of transposed copy ]

Whether transposed text is to be used for printed literature or a website, the visible copy itself plays an important role in the overall design layout.

Fortunately, English is the most compact of all Latin languages, with an average word length of 5.2 characters, whereas German, with its preponderance of 'compound nouns', averages 6.4.   Consider the word 'landkraftwagen' for example, this would transpose as 'heavy goods vehicle' in English which, despite it having more characters, becomes three separate words and is therefore far easier to lay into a given display area.

This is why translation fees based purely on a word count is so unpredictable. . .  is it calculated on the source text, or the finished English?

To further complicate matters, characters in non-Latin source languages usually demand greater proportional spacing so, even if the number of characters is approximately the same after translation, consideration must still be given to maintaining the design integrity.


request a quotation

free of charge. . . with no obligation!

Simply email with a link to your current website, attach the text for your marketing emails, blog or Social Media posts. . .

. . .or call 0796 115 2281

I can then calculate a guaranteed quotation to rapidly convert the original text, or your translation, into natural English.

Your quotation will normally be returned to you within 24 hours (during the working week), and will include a deadline for completion of the work.

Copywriting slogan: read, hear, speak

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