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Am I a copywriter or a translator?
Thread poster: eccotraduttrice
eccotraduttrice
United States
Local time: 17:54
Italian to English
+ ...
Jun 24, 2007

I'm not as experienced as most of you here, so any help would be much appreciated! I am translating a marketing text. The audience is not the general public but those within this particular industry. The writing is typically florid Italian, and this is where I get confused. I am capable of writing a convincing marketing document in English, but I feel like I would have to stray rather far from source document to do this. The text is long-winded (compared to English) and at times poetic, which is just not something we do in English business/marketing documents. When I read my translation, it is accurate, but since this is for a company that does advertising/public relations, I don't think this writing is going to convince anyone to use their services!

So, is it my job to write good marketing copy from the source text? What exactly is my job here?

Thanks for your help!

[Edited at 2007-06-24 18:55]


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
your job is to ask your client ... Jun 24, 2007

imho

I don't work with agencies, so I am able to approach either the author or the person who is publishing/printing the author's work. And I ALWAYS ask about the end objective and target audience. Most of my clients are very open to my opinion--that is, I can try to educate them about what would constitute a "good" document in the target language.

In your case, I'd ask your client: "What is more important to you: conveying the "Italian-ness" of the source document or writing something that will sell this product in the target country?"

LOCALIZATION in other words.

In almost all cases, whether the document tends toward a marketing text or is perhaps aimed at a technical audience or even the general reader, my clients want a translation that will APPEAL to the target audience. For most, that's much more important than having the document reflect cultural nuances of the source text.

BUT there could be important exceptions, so I always have a dialogue at the beginning of a project.

(Just to give you one example, from a job this week: The document was supposed to be finalized, but the client realized that the author had written a poor draft. I was asked to improve it as much as possible.)

Anyway, hope that helps!


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:54
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Translator or localizer? Jun 24, 2007

cantare wrote:
...
When I read my translation, it is accurate, but since this is for a company that does advertising/public relations, I don't think this writing is going to convince anyone to use their services!
So, is it my job to write good marketing copy from the source text? What exactly is my job here?

In effect you are saying that the text should be localized, not purely translated, as otherwise it won't have the intended effect. I suggest you should point this out to your client and ask what they want in view of the cultural difference that you describe to them.
Oliver


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eccotraduttrice
United States
Local time: 17:54
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
This makes sense -- thanks! Jun 24, 2007

Since that would entail a whole other layer of work, I assume I could/should raise my price for this service?

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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
that's a hard question ... Jun 24, 2007

You have to earn enough to live (hopefully, to live well), and if you spend a lot of extra time (and your talent) to localize a document or to add a special marketing sparkle to it, you should expect to charge more.

But, understandably, you need to work that out beforehand with the client so that they won't have a nasty surprise when they get your bill.

I find that the "editing" or "rewriting" aspects are so standard in what I do that I already have it "priced in" to what I charge.

If I go "above and beyond" what I see as a reasonable amount of "polishing" of the final text, then I will charge an hourly rate for that additional effort -- but only after telling the clients why I want to charge that (and convincing them that it is worth the money).

To go back to your specific case, it sounds to me as if you have good reason to charge more if this is not just a "general marketing text" but one that needs to be tailored to specialists in a technical field.

If your client knows some English, perhaps you could find some examples of similar pieces created in English and show how the "florid" Italian won't do. Then if you can think of ways of exhibiting your finesse with the technical jargon, that should work to impress, too.

Good luck!!


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eccotraduttrice
United States
Local time: 17:54
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jun 25, 2007

Thanks so much everyone -- I ended up contacting the client, telling them my thoughts on the document and asking if they wanted me to localize it. They wanted me to keep it as is, which works out well for me because I am not charging enough to add on another layer of work to this project. But next time when I evaluate a project, I will know to consider whether or not there is any localization work to do and charge accordingly! Thanks again!!

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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 01:54
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
yes Jun 27, 2007

cantare wrote:

Since that would entail a whole other layer of work, I assume I could/should raise my price for this service?


rates for "usual translation" and for translation with "copyright experience" are much different.


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Dagmar Cook
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:54
English to Czech
+ ...
Don't do anything for nothing! Jun 28, 2007

You have spoken to your client, and given them the opportunity of your skill in localisation - you no doubt told them it just won't work as an selling point in English (or whatever language), and you no doubt told them that you were able to convert the text to English with the same 'punch' as in the 'florid' Italian (personally, I'd charge them at least double!). If they listen, they succeed, if they don't they fail! Put it to them bluntly, in cash-terms, i.e. success versus failure, and if they want to go with the cheap (failure) option, then do a direct translation, remembering to issue a caveat, that the translation is to be taken 'as is' and only a direct translation of the original.

Personally, I wouldn't waste my time on such jobs, or with such inflexible clients, but I guess to some of you it's bread and butter stuff. Working through an agency will lead to nothing but trouble (that's almost guaranteed, and why I don't waste my time on this kind of stuff any more)!

So, basically, do as they ask, even though in English it sounds bloody ridiculous! Their problem, not yours!

[Edited at 2007-06-28 01:22]


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