I mentioned in an earlier post the challenges encountered with a monthly translation project I have with a client.
Good news. For the last two months or so, the space limits have been eased up. Whether this was because of translators’ complaints (I can’t begin to imagine how the German or Russian translators were able to accommodate these rules without dropping much of the source copy, writing in telegraphic style or using lots of abbreviations – in marketing-style copy???), or simply because the client needed more breathing space, but that’s the happy fact.
One of my main areas of discomfort was that I frequently had to drop model descriptions from the translations, keeping only model numbers. Although my choice wasn’t taking anything away from the message itself, I didn’t like the idea of making choices on the client’s behalf.
Now, not only the translators have more room to breathe/work, but translation quality should also be improved considerably by availing of this extra space. Correct translation into French, even with minimum stylistic rendering, still involves a higher word count; for instance, although the simplest forms of the verbs ‘to be’ or ‘to do’ do exist in French, translating them by richer, yet NOT literary verbal phrases provides a simple and inexpensive way in terms of brain cells, of adding a true French ‘ring’ to a copy. This is something French natives normally absorb in their younger years. And the idea of this translation project is, after all, to guide end-customers to more of the marketing material. This in itself should be an incentive to make sure that these chunks of information delivered to them are meaningful and attractive. Too many space restrictions ended up in so-so copy.
Now hoping that the US copywriters don’t take advantage of the new rules to expand their own copy! Or we’d be back to square one…