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Battles Won in Translation


Feb 25, 2015 / by Katharine Allen & Barry S. Olsen


From MediaPost.com...


Article Excerpt: "Recently, I’ve become aware of the value of a good translation. Perhaps it would have occurred earlier in my life, say, if I had called the IT guy and he shocked me by translating his instructions, but that did not happen. I am, rather, referring to the kind of translations that we do in our agency, of advertising from English to Spanish.


"Having come from the general market, I had never given it much thought. Evidently, it’s not as simple as flipping back and forth in the Spanish-English dictionary. And, with Spanish, you have to work around words that tend to have more syllables than English, so good luck trying to make your 30-second commercial not sound like the legal gunfire at the end of car dealer ads. It ain’t easy. You have to know the intent of the original ad, how it is intended to make you feel, the rhythms and the subtleties of two languages." 


Link to the full article HERE.


InterpretAmerica's Take: Not all worthwhile battles are epic. Often they are small in scale and intensely personal. That is why this article from MediaPost.com, "the largest and most influential media, marketing and advertising site on the net," caught our attention. It is not all that often (dare we say almost unheard of) that an article written by someone outside the language services industry begins by declaring "Recently, I’ve become aware of the value of a good translation." But we would definitely like to see more articles and blog posts like this one because they show that good translation and interpreting can speak for themselves. 

The need for "client education" is probably one of most tired, trotted-out platitudes in translation and interpreting. "Clients don't value what we do," is the perennial lament, which is always followed by the obligatory retort: "You have to educate your client about the importance of professional language services." And so it goes...


The important question here is: How do we help end users of language services have experiences similar to the one had by this article's author? In an effort to further this conversation, it is these kinds of forward-looking questions that we will be asking at InterpretAmerica 5 on June 12-13, 2015, in Monterey, California. Won't you join us?

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