LOCALISATION: you have probably heard of it but… do you know what it means?

Localisation in translation, or l10n, as it is known in the sector, is the process of translation, adaptation and adjustment of the texts we find in videogames, websites, blogs and many other products.

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How to recognise a good translator

Most of know someone who is adept in speaking more than one language, in some cases we may be fortunate enough to know someone who speaks several and may even be considered a ‘polyglot’. Fluency in multiple languages is always an impressive skill and one which most of us would love to acquire if we could. Some may have been born into a bi-lingual household, or maybe spoke one language at home and another outside in the local community.

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A translator’s Solitude… Or, the Loneliness of the Long-Distance Freelance Translator

A freelance translator sounds like the ideal job when you’re commuting to work in rush hour traffic on a cold, rainy morning, and the thought of being able to get up whenever you want, eat and drink at your desk without anyone complaining, and above all, work in your pyjamas(!) sounds very appealing. However, is being a freelance translator really all it’s cracked up to be, or does the solitude of the long-distance translator drive you crazy in the end?

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The easiest and most difficult languages to translate

As English speakers we are really spoilt, as pretty much the whole world is trying to learn English, and where large parts of the world have not yet fully succeeded in the endeavour, they are well on the way. So this takes the pressure off as native English speakers, which might be seen as a good thing.

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Which languages do you think are the most challenging?

As English speakers we are really spoilt, as pretty much the whole world is trying to learn English, and where large parts of the world have not yet fully succeeded in the endeavour, they are well on the way. So this takes the pressure off as native English speakers, which might be seen as a good thing. Unfortunately however, the all-too-common result on our part is the tendency toward extreme laziness when it comes to language learning! After all, why bother when the rest of the whole is beating a path to our door and doing all the work to make themselves understood.

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The art of humour translation

Humour is a notorious area of difficulty in translations, as any translator will tell you. So much of humour is derived from double meanings and wordplay, small and subtle cultural references and so forth, which can often mean that it is (or can appear to be) simply untranslatable. This is not hard to understand since a great deal of humour has to do with the language itself, the way one word sounds like another or calls to mind certain associations, which belong strictly within the universe of that language and the culture related to it.

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Professional Croatian Translator: Nadira Ljevaković Garić – Part 2

Based on the few months I’ve been working with you, I can only say that you are one of the best clients I’ve ever had. I prefer long-term cooperations and BigTranslation offered me that very thing. It really is a pleasure to be a part of a professional team where you always get your questions answered and, at the same time, have the freedom to organize and decide the amount of work you accept – this is definitely something that makes BigTranslation stand out from other companies.

In what capacity do you work with BigTranslation and what was it that made you choose the company? In your opinion, what makes it stand out from other companies?

Based on the few months I’ve been working with you, I can only say that you are one of the best clients I’ve ever had. I prefer long-term cooperations and BigTranslation offered me that very thing. It really is a pleasure to be a part of a professional team where you always get your questions answered and, at the same time, have the freedom to organize and decide the amount of work you accept – this is definitely something that makes BigTranslation stand out from other companies.

croatian translatorWhat essential qualities or skills should a translator possess? What’s your ‘motto’ on translation, if you like?

In my opinion, working as a freelance translator is not as easy as it may seem. The knowledge of source and target language is essential. Translation goes way beyond being able to speak both the languages you’re working on. One needs to be able to flawlessly transfer both syntax and semantics from one language to another and make the final “product” as natural as the source it came from.
The process of translating itself aside, you need to organize your time, especially if you are working for many clients at the same time. You need to plan, communicate to clients, look for new ones and only then you do the translation work. Many people tell me that I’m having super easy time, a great job where I can work whenever I want to without realizing that I, myself, do the same amount of work which is distributed to 3-4 people in the companies they work in. My motto is: „Think, translate, fascinate“. The greatest pleasure I can have is my clients’. ☺

Imagine a world without translators. What would it be like?

I’ve recently read an interesting story. A professor from the USA was giving some lectures in Japan and started one of them with a joke that lasted a few minutes. After he told the joke in English, he waited for the translator to do his job. The translator only talked for a few seconds and the audience burst into laughter.
After the lecture, the professor asked the translator how she managed to convey all the humour from his joke in only a few seconds. She shrugged and said: “I told them our American guest had just told a funny joke and that all should laugh.”
Most things that we use and buy daily go through the process of language adapting first which is obviously done by translators. Imagine you need to cook for some very special guests and go to a supermarket to buy spices, among other things. How spicy would your lunch be if you didn’t know which spices you used? That’s just a small example how important translation is.
In the bigger picture, translators are the ones connecting the world. Be it culture, finance, politics, education or any other crucial aspect of human existence and growth – none of it would be possible without translation.

Linguistic variations: Minor Mistakes, Major Consequences

It is well known that English is among the most widely spoken languages in the world, along with Chinese (Mandarin) and Spanish, but we never specify which English we are referring to. Although we think of English as being one universal language, it actually has many variations across the globe.

It is well known that English is among the most widely spoken languages in the world, along with Chinese (Mandarin) and Spanish, but we never specify which English we are referring to. Although we think of English as being one universal language, it actually has many variations across the globe. This is why it is important to bear in mind your target audience when you are translating – because one word may have two very different meanings depending on where you are from.

Do you dare to assume linguistic variations are insignificant?

For example, if you are giving an address to the first floor of a building, an American would go to the ground floor of a building, whereas a British person would be waiting one floor above.

Another issue may arise when a party invitation has the instructions fancy dress. At an American party this would mean formal dress, black tie and ball gowns, but a British person could turn up in any outfit from a Mickey Mouse costume to a Superman cape – not a mistake you want to make!

Another common error is the difference with the word pants in the UK and the USA, as in the USA it means trousers, whereas in the UK it means underwear. Another piece of clothing American’s tend to find confusing is the jumper. Although to British people this is quite clearly an item to keep you warm in winter, in America a jumper is somebody who commits suicide by jumping off a building or bridge. Fortunately the popularity of Harry Potter, and particularly Ron Weasley, across the globe has helped Americans to understand the commonly used British meaning!

But perhaps the most embarrassing slip up you could make is with the word “rubber”. In Britain, this is a commonly used classroom object for erasing mistakes, and nobody would bat an eyelid if a 7-year old said “Please may you pass me the rubber”, but in America this would seem very strange, as rubber in America means condom!

Native translators, and say goodbye to misunderstandings!

It is clear to see that for different audiences across the globe, the same word may have very different meanings and connotations depending on its variation, which is why when doing a translation it is of the utmost importance to use experienced translators who know their language and their target audience to avoid these simple but significant errors.

Professional Croatian Translator: Nadira Ljevaković Garić – Part 1

My name is Nadira and I’m 28 years old. I live in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I graduated from High School of Economics and Finance and later studied English language and literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zenica. I also attended many IT conferences and workshops in Balkans. The work experience I have gained is my strongest suit, though.

Nadira shares with us a little about herself and her career as a professional Croatian translator

My name is Nadira and I’m 28 years old. I live in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I graduated from High School of Economics and Finance and later studied English language and literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zenica. I also attended many IT conferences and workshops in Balkans.

croatian-translator

The work experience I have gained is my strongest suit, though. Besides that, studying and constant education have undoubtedly helped me progress.
During my 10 years’ work experience, I have worked for over 20 different clients/employers and changed 7 different jobs. I worked as a personal assistant, administration department manager, teacher, business development manager, IT project manager, general manager and translator.
I gained most of my work experience in a German software development company. My starting position in this IT company was Business development manager. In less than six months, I got promoted to IT Project manager and then to General manager. This was where I developed my organisational and management skills which eventually encouraged me to start my own business – a B2B translation agency.

How long have you been working with BigTranslation?

I’ve been working as a translator with BigTranslation for 3 months now. Despite being a short period overall, I have to point out that this translation agency is one of the best clients I’ve ever had. I believe that the professional team from BigTranslation is satisfied with my work, effort and accuracy considering the fact that, in these 3 months, none of my translations ever needed any changes or corrections by the team’s lectors.

Which are your working languages? What is it that you most like about translating?

Bosnian is my native language, Serbian and Croatian are “near-native”. Actually, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian are all similar. There are some small differences, but anyone who speaks Bosnian completely understands Croatian and Serbian and vice versa. I studied English language and literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zenica so I am qualified to translate from English to Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian and vice versa.
In the world of translating, each project is a new challenge and a chance to learn something new. For me, translating is brain training which I enjoy so much and yet get paid for doing it. I have worked on so many different topics – some made me laugh, other made me sad or even angry (nobody likes poor originals), but overall they made me feel alive.
Have you always wanted to be a translator or did you consider other careers? For you, is translation a passion or a pastime?
I have always wanted to be a translator,  and also to hone some other skills that any translator should have such as organisation, accuracy, promptness, and management as well 🙂 . As I have already mentioned, I’ve had 7 different jobs and finally opted for this job because it offers education, freedom, flexibility and a great salary – all in one package. The bottom line is, I’m finally doing something I truly enjoy in!