101 things a translator needs to know – #94

Take responsibility and get credit
Lots of clients won’t be able to judge the translation you deliver – after all, it’s in another language. The same applies to many typesetters and designers, which makes life particularly tricky when there are last-minute changes.
To avoid stumbling at the finish line, you need to stay involved throughout the revision, layout and proof stages.
Factor this into your quotes and be prepared to go the extra mile. In exchange, explain to clients that your name goes in the credits as translator. It costs them nothing, gives you an added incentive to produce fine work, and allows new clients to track you down.

This may not apply to every single translation you turn out, but whenever something is published – whether on paper or digitally – and the author is stated, the translator should be too. After all, you’ve put in just as much work (and sometimes even more) to make sure the message comes across the way it was intended.

Besides, another read-through may just reveal errors that have nothing to do with your translation but could potentially damage the whole presentation (and maybe even your client’s reputation), as just happened with one of my clients recently:

I had translated the booklet for a music CD and advised the self-publishing client to send me the whole thing after it had been layouted and before it went into print, because I have some experience with strange hyphenations in these kinds of things.

She agreed – and a good thing it was, too, because I discovered a typo in the title of one of the pieces in all three languages of the booklet! I first saw it in “my” language, then checked the other two, just in case, and the superfluous letter was there, as well. Needless to say, the client was super happy that I had detected it – it had escaped even her who had selected and recorded the piece!

I also asked her to send me the booklet again once all the changes had been incorporated, just to make sure – after all my name is on it, as well! 🙂

This is number 94 of the “101 things a translator needs to know” compiled by WLF Think Tank. If you haven’t heard of it, go to the web site and check it out. I got my copy from Chris Durban herself at a translator’s conference in Berlin a few years ago. It is full of useful, often funny, sometimes familiar, but always sound advice both for beginners and seasoned translators.

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