Numerous decisions are taken in the course of producing correct translations that meet or surpass the expectations of clients, authors and readers. In the final analysis, what matters most may be the outcome of these decisions – but the quality of translation services can also be measured in terms of the process: as well as being faithful to texts, translators must be loyal to people. This page focuses on how I approach translation projects as a freelance translator and proactive service provider. If this style of working appeals to you, I look forward to hearing from you and discovering more about your current or upcoming projects.
Solid processes for sparkling quality — the pillars of my approach
The points I pay careful attention to in my work as a translator and in my handling of translation projects are detailed below.
- I understand the texts I translate, and I translate only texts I understand
- Attractive texts through translation into native language
- State-of-the-art technology
- Working in a network – independent, but never isolated
- Thorough translation and thoughtful collaboration
- Reasonable and realistic prices and delivery dates
Understanding precedes translation
I translate only texts I clearly comprehend and can reproduce coherently. This implies:
- that I need to have prior knowledge of the relevant specialist subject and a certain affinity to the topic. Where I lack that background, I will refer you on to a colleague
- that I read texts thoroughly and familiarise myself with their subject matter
- and that I ask questions.
By ensuring your content reaches your target group intact and in a lucid form that is accessible to them, this approach makes sure your competence shines through to your audience.
Attractive target texts through translation into native language
I translate only from German into English, my first language. In my native language, I can create masterful texts and find elegant and precise ways to express even ideas that have never before been formulated in English and are new to the language itself as well as to the reader. However, I push at the boundaries of language only when this is necessary – I normally respect them. I pay attention to rules and comply with specified style preferences.
I also pay attention to the medium in which a text will be transmitted. In spoken-word form, in print, or online? The difference is important.
I can take the time to work conscientiously on your text and still deliver it punctually and for a reasonable fee because I make effective use of up-to-date technologies (such as AutoSuggest dictionaries):
- Computer-assisted translation (not machine translation!) with SDL Trados 2017
- Terminology management with SDL Multiterm
- Rapid web searches
- Speedy offline research in my own reference library and in Bamberg’s many libraries
- Quality control with ApSIC Xbench, Dragon Naturally Speaking – and in time-honoured fashion with a red pen
Thanks to current technologies, I can also:
- handle a large number of different file formats beyond standard office applications (from Adobe InDesign to XLIFF)
- translate web pages efficiently, for example by using XLIFF or CSV files so that your web developer can export texts from the backend of your content management system for translation and then import the translations with a minimum of fuss and without losing metatexts or formatting
- record audio versions of texts (such as speeches or lectures to be given in English) so that you have a template for practice
I regularly take part in continuing professional development activities and swap tips with colleagues to ensure that my technical skills stay as sharp as my subject-specific knowledge. And of course I also learn as I work.
Working in a network – independent but never isolated
As a professional freelance translator, I value my autonomy but rarely work completely alone: assistance from trusted and valued colleagues is often only a click or phone call away, and I often collaborate with reviewers or co-translators, especially when time is of the essence.
Thorough translation and thoughtful collaboration
The translation of complex texts is generally a multi-layered process that can demand stamina and patience. It typically involves the following steps:
- thorough terminology research and systematic terminology management
- rough translation and subsequent revision (texts expressing complex ideas in complex language can benefit from a second pass)
- consultation with the author or client, if necessary, and/or with an external reviewer
- meticulous final editing
- client approval, possibly discussion of the final version of the translation
This multi-stage approach ensures that the target text in English is clear and readable and communicates the same content as the source text in German. Thoughtful translators may also spot additional opportunities to improve a text further by, for example:
- updating it (or at least identifying passages that are no longer current and querying whether they are still required in order to speed up the translation process and cut costs)
- correcting errors that may have crept into the text
- identifying possible edits (if a word or character limit applies to the final text)
- adding detail or, occasionally, annotations to the English translation (if the addition of factual information referred to only obliquely in the German text makes the text more comprehensible to readers beyond the immediate German-speaking world)
- adapting references and citations (phrases which seemed particularly pithy and worth citing as direct quotes in the source text might be better paraphrased in the English translation, and vice-versa)
Such changes need to be made in close cooperation with clients and/or authors. Suggested changes must also be documented clearly so that they can be accepted or rejected in multiple locations in current and future documents.
Reasonable and realistic pricing and delivery dates
I would be pleased to prepare an individual quote for your project. As a freelance translator, I can offer you straightforward, direct and cost-effective project handling. You can discuss your requirements with me personally, and I will respond to your queries fast and flexibly.
For an even more friction-free customer experience, try to inform me about your planned project at an early stage (even if the text is not available in its final form at that point) and let me know if additional reference material such as existing translations of similar documents can be made available.
I look forward to hearing from you and discovering more about your project! Feel free to contact me using the contact form below or directly at sarah@s‑swift.de.