The Art of Translation


Panneau Metropolitain Art NouveauThe art of translation is much more than just replacing words in one language with words in another. These days machine translation tools are capable of doing this passably well for basic texts. A good translator looks beyond the words to all possible shades of meaning before choosing the expression that flows most naturally.

This is why professional translators normally work towards their native language, and combine good writing skills with in-depth knowledge in at least one specialist field.

How much will my translation cost, and how long will it take?

You would be right to be wary of a builder who quoted for building work without ever coming to see your house, and who claimed to be able to do a week’s work over a weekend. The price of a translation depends largely on how many words need to be translated, but also on other factors, which I can only decide upon seeing the document:

  • The degree of specialisation or complexity of the text
  • The quality and clarity of the original document
  • The end use: commercial, publication or private use
  • The format of the original, and the format required for the translation

Before starting, I check that the document is complete and legible, and I research any specialist terms and background necessary. I often do a rapid rough translation to highlight where extra verification is needed and may need to contact you to clarify something at this stage. Only then do I translate in depth. Next I revise and do an initial check. After this, I like to leave the text overnight before the final revision and proofreading. High quality work takes time, so please order as early as possible.

I invite you to download this free Client Guide (PDF). I work in line with the Code of Practice of the Société française des traducteurs.