reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

French translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

Traducción al Francés

traducción al francés

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

reasoned translation

Reasoned translation
Traductrice freelance

Over 9,000,000 words translated since 2005,
i.e. a volume equivalent to about 100 fiction novels.

And 0 word machine-translated...

Est-il besoin de le préciser ?
"[...] Ability to speak a language fluently does not necessarily confer a linguistic knowledge of it, i.e. understanding of its background phenomena and its systematic process and structure, any more than the ability to play a good game of billiards confers or requires any knowledge of the laws of mechanics that operate upon the billiard table."

Whorf, B. (2012). Language, Thought and Reality - Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. Second edition. Science and Linguistics, p. 271. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Before buying (or offering) translation services,
make sure you get it.

Read standard ISO 17100:2015,

as well as these ITI guides:

- Translation: Getting it Right
- Translation is NOT a commodity
"The study of human communication can be subdivided into syntactics, semantics and pragmatics."

"In many ways, it is true to say that syntax is logic, semantics is philosophy and pragmatics is psychology."

Watzlawick, P., Beavin Bavelas, J., Jackson, D. D. (1967). Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies and Paradoxes. Ch. 1: The Frame of Reference. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. (2011).

Voice demo

Please note French part from 0:15 to 2:27 involves some acting as it is an extract from “Parler pour ne rien dire” (which might translate as "Empty Talk"), a piece by Belgian-French humorist Raymond Devos, best known for his sophisticated puns and surreal humor.
His house in Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse (Yvelines, France) became a museum on November 7, 2016, dedicated to his work and foundation.

Translation means   t r a n s c u l t u r a l   w r i t i n g  ...

... and is probably one of the most widely misunderstood jobs in the world.

   Jacques Flamand accurately defines translation as (a) the rendering of an author’s original message in all its nuances in another language, (b) while ensuring that translated material reads like a native original.[1]

   In his excellent guide La traduction raisonnée (p. 19), Jean Delisle references a slightly more detailed definition of translation, suggested by Claude Tatilon[2] : To translate is, first and foremost, serving target readers, by creating an equivalent of the original material: firstly, a text that renders all original information as accurately as possible. But to translate also means creating a text endowed with three other qualities: it must 'feel natural' in the target language, it must fit perfectly in the target culture and it must lead, through skilful writing, to a faithful rendering of all ideas, originality and stylistic idiosyncrasies of the author.[3]

   In the layman's world

   To most non specialists, however — and to some "translators", unfortunately — translation is a simple matter of replacing one word with another. This is where the trouble begins. This is how literal and non native translations proliferate, sometimes leading to unexpected — and potentially very costly — blunders.

   For example, when Ford launched the Pinto in Brazil in 1971, sales went nowhere. As it turned out after further investigation, "pinto" was slang for... "tiny male genitals" in Brazil. So "Pinto" was adapted to "Corcel", and suddenly everybody was happy. "Corcel" means "horse". And just that made a huge difference.

   There is no need to go back as far as 1971 to find such blunders, though. Have you heard about the Audi e-tron® series? Well, what the Audi (French?) communication team did not hear of, apparently, is the French meaning of "étron" (pick your favourite: it means either "turd" or "despicable person"). Let's wait and see how the car sells in French speaking countries. It would be such a pity to see all this R&D work go down the toilet.

   How fortunate that electric cars are still a niche market. That should make the lost opportunities much more bearable. Still, for H1 2016, France was the European leader...

   In the same vein, in 2011, Nokia (whose mobile phone arm was bought by Microsoft in 2014, to be then sold to HMD/Foxconn in 2016) unveiled its first-ever Windows Phones: the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710. Unfortunately, the company realised too late that "lumia" actually means prostitute in Spanish (over 450 million native speakers, mind you). The result today? Apparently a big flop based on the Facebook and Twitter pages that links to ("nokialumia", which sounds like "nokiawhore" to Spanish natives). One might of course argue that marketing does present some commonalities with whoring, but let's just put it down to a habit of uncritical puffery. Anyway, marketing is just about showing beautiful images, right? Not about true meaning. Otherwise, how could a makeup brand named Urban Decay ever be successful?

   Quite ironically, puffery, when poorly adapted, can sometimes turn into ridicule... especially considering "puffery tolerance" varies greatly according to culture and audience.

   Another, very current example: Budweiser's manly "King of Beers" registered tagline becomes the "Queen of Beers" in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and Hindi (non exhaustive list) because in these languages, words for beer ("bière" in French, "cerveza" in Spanish, "birra" in Italian, "cerveja" in Portuguese, "bere" in Romanian and for example "शराब", "तेज बियर" and "लागर" in Hindi) are feminine. So much for testosterone, and brand perception...

   Actually, as of February 2017, another American brewer, SHE Beverage Company Inc., is targeting women with a "Queen of beer" tagline. Is it just me, ladies, or does this tagline make you think of (second rate) beauty pageants too? In French at least, that is definitely the kind of association that "La reine de la bière" will bring to mind, not to mention that "SHE" is pronounced exactly like "chie", "chies" and "chient" (inflected forms from French verb "chier" in the present tense, for singular 1st and 3rd person, singular 2nd person, and plural 3rd person), which means "to take a crap" in French. Not quite "Sexy, Hot and Erotic"...

   As for baby food brand Gerber, it never sold in French-speaking countries, because "gerber" means "to puke" in French. Which is probably why you will not be able to access the Gerber website from a "French-speaking-country-IP-address".

   The list goes on...

   From a linguistic point of view, above examples are of course extremely simple. They involve a maximum of three words. So can you imagine how many traps you, your image and/or your message may fall in when it comes to transcreating thousands and thousands of words for whole marketing campaigns, corporate — and often critically strategic — communication material, academic papers, training material, counselling and self-development books or websites, or government websites and material supposed to inform foreign residents CLEARLY when a natural disaster occurs?

   Are you aware that even a single spelling mistake can cut (online) sales in half?

"Mr Duncombe says when recruiting staff he has been shocked at the poor quality of written English."
"James Fothergill, head of education and skills at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI): "Our recent research shows that 42% of employers are not satisfied with the basic reading and writing skills of school and college leavers."

   Native language proficiency is no better in France, as shown by the Baromètre Voltaire: as of 2014, the French only mastered around 45% of spelling and grammar rules, and this percentage is currently going down.[4]

   Do you realise that every time you miss an accent in French (or miss an inflected form in an inflected language, or an agglutinated form in an agglutinative language), your text makes the same impression on your audience as message below does on English natives?


   Is the above the kind of impression you aim for?

   Much worse than "a few spelling or grammar mistakes," what if your carefully drafted original message is way off the mark abroad because of cultural differences (among which perceptions about proper writing) simply ignored by unprofessional translations?

   Much worse still, what if your original message was not actually drafted that carefully, maybe even by non native English speakers? And then was translated AS-IS, word-for-word?

   Could it be that some gibberish did actually slide into your material, maybe because Google Translate, automated translation software and the like had you think that "to translate" means "to translate word-for-word?"

   Or maybe simply because every time you use software, you tend to "think" such software will do all the "thinking" for you? Even when this software is just a sligthly improved online dictionary?

   Do you think that giving access to an online (even improved) language dictionary to someone instantly turns that person into a native speaker of that language, and into a good writer on top of it?

   Do you convey your message to your international audience in gibberish, and to your French audience (about 274 million people) in Frenglish?

   Pardon my French but it sounds "riskish".

Tie-breaker (rhetorical) question: How would you translate English expression "Pardon my French" in... French?

[1] Flamand, J., Qu’est-ce qu’une bonne traduction ? : « Pour atteindre son but, la traduction doit se plier à deux règles. 1. Rendre la pensée de l’auteur avec toutes ses nuances ; 2. Avoir l’aisance d’une composition originale. La seconde découle de la première, car le lecteur ne comprendra bien le texte que si la traduction se conforme à ses habitudes de pensée », Meta : journal des traducteurs / Meta: Translators' Journal, vol. 29, n° 3, 1984, p. 330-334 (Full text available here). Back to text

[2] Tatilon, C. (1986). Traduire : pour une pédagogie de la traduction. Toronto. Éditions du GREF. Back to text

[3] "Traduire [...] c'est avant tout se mettre au service de ses futurs lecteurs et fabriquer à leur intention un équivalent du texte de départ : soit, d'abord, un texte qui livre, avec le moins de distorsion possible, toute l'information contenue dans celui d'origine. Mais traduire, c'est aussi produire un texte duquel il convient d'exiger trois autres qualités : qu'il soit rendu « naturellemment » en langue d'arrivée (qu'il « ne sente pas la traduction », dit-on couramment), qu'il soit parfaitement intégré à la culture d'arrivée et qu'il parvienne, par une adroite manipulation de l'écriture, à donner l'idée la plus juste de l'originalité et des inventions stylistiques de l'auteur traduit." Back to text

[4] Based on initial exam taken by 2 million users so far (from 2010 to 2014). Back to text

« [...] Mal nommer les choses, c'est ajouter au malheur de ce monde.
Et justement la grande misère humaine, [...] c'est le mensonge ».

~ Albert Camus, Sur une philosophie de l'expression, Poésie 44, revue clandestine de Pierre Seghers (n° 17, décembre 1943/janvier-février 1944).
Étude reprise dans les Œuvres complètes, vol. II, collection La Pléiade, Gallimard, pp. 1671-1682.
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