Re-writing project: any tips gratefully received!
Thread poster: kaytrad
kaytrad
France
French to English
Jun 13, 2012

Hi,
I'm not sure whether I'm in the right section but anyway. This is the first time I have ever posted a topic here although I do read you guys regularly and I'm sure I can trust your advice!

I have been asked to work on a re-writing project and have been given a few pages of beautiful products (the type of stuff that graces upmarket women's magazines) with blurb that looks like it has been translated from French (i.e. littered with words that are far more common in French than in English and is rather stilted).

The instructions are to make the text more impactful and "éditorial".

For the moment, I have plenty of time but no idea exactly how much time to allocate. Being a perfectionist I can quite see me simply doing nothing else until the deadline comes round, and probably wasting time, like the poet (Oscar Wilde?) who spent all morning revising a poem and simply adding a comma, only to put it back in at the end of the afternoon.

Also I'm not really sure what re-writing involves, although it is something I have been vaguely thinking of expanding into... one day. I presume that as for translation I am not to either add or subtract information, it's more a matter of dressing the information up differently?

Does anybody have any tips, do's and don'ts, pitfalls to be avoided, or handy links to point me in the right direction?
BTW price is not an issue (yes you read that correctly!)


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:32
English to German
+ ...
Drooool... :-) Jun 13, 2012

You've got a nice project coming up. It's called trans-creation. Technically, you are the copywriter of all the texts that are supposed to fire up all the ladies and make them spend $$$$$$$.

Such projects are no day-by-day jobs, and I consider one particular recurring annual tourist magazine my true highlight of the year, because writing the entire thing is a delight and they let me do whatever I want, aside from my stuff for Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan and such.

Good that you find the products beautiful. Writing stuff like this has nothing to do with filing endlessly on some elegant grammar, but to get yourself emotionally fired up to the same degree of passion for a particular pinkish hue of nail polish or something that the original author most likely only could achieve by help of a fifth of Bourbon.

You will not have ANY time to marvel about commas because e.g. the July-edition of some glossy magazine has to be sitting at the newsstands all over the world at 5am the same day, no matter what country and no matter what language, so you better soup up your comma-generator.

Rates are between 1 and 4 dollars per source word. Take your vitamins and get ready for night-shifts.



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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:32
English to German
+ ...
Prepare for a lot of reading. Jun 13, 2012

kaytrad wrote:
with blurb that looks like it has been translated from French (i.e. littered with words that are far more common in French than in English and is rather stilted).


Nothing is more ridiculous than a forcefully translated fashion term.


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Vikki Pendleton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:32
Member
German to English
+ ...
nice rate... Jun 13, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Rates are between 1 and 4 dollars per source word.


Not sure that's the rate everyone will get. You seem to be talking about rush jobs from major clients, whereas this looks to be a smaller job. I'm sure kaytrad is getting a great rate but posting this sort of rate may make her/others feel they are being underpaid. I know a few weeks ago someone posted a fab rate for DTP and the translator then found out they were only getting something like a quarter of that rate and felt a bit deflated.

Re the original post - I assume you know the budget/fee you're getting, so my advice would be to turn that into a sensible hourly rate and work on it at that rate (or faster, if that takes you past the deadline!). I hope you enjoy it, it sounds like a fun job


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kaytrad
France
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
thank you for your feedback Jun 14, 2012

So re-writing is in fact the same as transcreation?

I have been translating in the fashion, cosmetics and jewellery sectors for something like 15 years. My method consists of translating the technical terms and adding generous lashings of imagination, adapting any cultural references yet striving to maintain the general tone (humour, sex appeal, fantasy, nature...) I just found out recently that this is in fact transcreation. (or has been elevated to transcreation as a reaction to MT?)

However, here I don't have the original French, just the photos and some stilted English copy providing very few technical details, so I'm wondering what to do with it exactly. Am I allowed to simply wax lyrical based on what the photos conjure up for me? introduce notions, such as purity, or romance, or whatever? I would hate to hone a text to perfection only to be told that I took too many liberties!

I have been googling and have come across various articles giving advice on writing in general but for actual re-writing they mostly seem to deal with some mathematical concept. Wiki's article for example is sheer gobbledegook to me!

BTW thank you for your concern over the rate but as I said it is not an issue here, we already have a contract with rates that are satisfactory at least for the moment (I might ask for more once I have got the hang of this) and I have been told to take all the time I need until the end of next week. My concern is simply that I'm not sure whether I have time to take on anything else on from my other lovely loyal clients while I'm working on it, and most importantly whether there are any specific rules about re-writing that I need to be aware of before plunging right in

(and I do find it quite amusing to be told the rate even without asking since I've read several threads where people have asked about rates and not been given anything at all explicit!)


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Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:32
Member (2009)
English to Russian
+ ...
Whatever you do with these texts... Jun 14, 2012

...make sure you clearly understand what the client means by "re-writing" (vs. transcreation). In case you have never heard of this kind of jobs before, let me quote something that can be found on "get-a-cheap-supplier" websites aplenty: "We pay $1.00 for every 400-500 rewritten article". Do you see the difference? Please note that I am NOT talking about prices now: it's about quality and requirements. The purpose is totally different. Hopefully, this is not what you were offered to do.
Good luck!


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:32
English to German
+ ...
No rush jobs, but ready-to-print service for direct clients Jun 15, 2012

Vikki Pendleton wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Rates are between 1 and 4 dollars per source word.


Not sure that's the rate everyone will get. You seem to be talking about rush jobs from major clients, whereas this looks to be a smaller job.


A freelance copywriter in the US will not charge less than an hourly fee of $100.00. As a translator you have even more aspects to consider, e.g. format-fitting writing to match the existing layout.

I never charge per word for trans-creation projects, that's silly, no matter if it's an article, a full-page print ad or headlines for the magazine cover - I charge flat rates only, and they have never been questioned. Thinking in cents in this industry will simply indicate that you might not be up to the task.


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dropinka  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
Re-writing vs transcreation Jun 15, 2012

kaytrad wrote:

So re-writing is in fact the same as transcreation?


This is re-writing -- improving the target text only, without considering the original copy. When you have to adapt advertising and marketing copy from a foreign language into your native language, that's transcreation.

It seems like you agreed upon an hourly rate with your client. For what it's worth, I don't particularly like it because the more experienced and quicker you are, the less you're going to get paid... That's why I would suggest charging on a project basis (flat fee).

Claudia


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kaytrad
France
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Pitfalls and puns Jun 15, 2012

Rates: The point here is that I have made it clear that I'm going to spend more time than an expert would, simply because I'm not sure of what I'm doing. The client wants me to do it even so - they are apparently more confident of my ability than me!

If it goes well and I enjoy it and I get more work along these lines, then yes, I shall change my tack, and I do appreciate all this advice on rates, even though it's not yet relevant.

For the moment however I'm trying to work out exactly what I have to do and worrying that I might fall into some idiotic beginner's pitfall, which is why I created this thread.
Having discussed things further with the client it turns out that I have to distil a dozen pages into a few paragraphs, so I'm not sure it's even "re-writing" I'm being asked to do, rather actual "writing"? I'm nervous but quite excited in that I have so often had to translate this sort of stuff and felt I could produce something much better if I were allowed to simply jettison the source text.

I've read the background material and taken a good hard look at the photos, I'm making a list of technical questions for the client (e.g. what exactly is this fabric and how come it looks so shiny) and I have a list of "buzz-words" extracted from their press releases that I think I ought to try to weave into the text (sorry, can't help punning here!).
I shall be looking at the designer's previous work and reading up what people have already said about them, to try to capture the tone I need to achieve. I have hit on a couple of puns and am wondering whether they would go down well...

I'm going to be dealing with a few other bits and pieces today but I'm basically living and breathing this project, and hoping that I will soon be able to just open up a word file and let it all flow out of me. Although, knowing me, it won't go smoothly until the deadline is looming!


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Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:32
Member (2009)
English to Russian
+ ...
How did it go? Jun 25, 2012

Did you enjoy working on this project? Is the client happy? Did it go exactly as you expected in the beginning?

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kaytrad
France
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for asking! Jun 25, 2012

The project is by no means finished as the client doesn't really know what she wants or how to explain it at any rate, and the photos have not been finalised and the text rather depends on that. But we're getting there. Most of the problem is that she bit off more than she can chew and does not have a good enough grasp of English to tell that what I have done is OK.

She is also under a lot of pressure and passes that along to me. I can usually shrug this off when I feel completely comfortable about a translation, it's more difficult when I'm not entirely sure of myself.

However, a friend posted a quotation from Paulo Coelho on FB the other day, along the lines of "adventure may be perilous but routine is deadly", and I have been reminding myself of this as I push ahead here!


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