HOC New Translator Guide - Part 2 of 7


This part deals with translation technicality.


B. Transcreation is (not) all about technicality:

Being gifted and talented allows you to venture into the the Arabic translation business, but it is not all that you need. You need to be aware of the techniques required, and to train yourself on them. Transcreation requires that you adapt your style to the required tone of voice, and select domain-appropriate vocabulary and expressions. You also need to adapt to the text type. Translating an article or essay is different from working on a brochure, a press release, or on product description texts.


House of Content technicality tips:

  1. Determine the appropriate tone of voice: Many clients provide tone of voice guidelines, but in case they don't, you will need to determine what tone to use yourself. Always discuss the tone of voice with your PM, especially when you feel you are not certain about it. The following points will outline how to determine the tone of voice.
  2. Ask yourself: What type of text is this? Is it an article? A city guide? A press release? A product description? A user-guide? A chapter from a book? A Q&A entry? The list goes on.
  3. Ask yourself: who is the intended reader? What gender? What age group? What culture? If the culture is Arabic, what Arabic culture exactly? Gulf, Syria-Lebanon, Egyptian, African (e.g. Sudan), or francophone (e.g. Tunisia and Algeria)?
  4. Ask yourself: What is the purpose of the text? To promote a product or a service? To inform? To promote ideas or propaganda? To influence the public? To explain a concept or a scientific finding? The list goes on.
  5. Based on the above points, ask yourself: what is the appropriate sentence structure? For example, should we use first person, second person, or third person?
  6. Based on the above points, ask yourself: What is the appropriate level of sophistication I can use in my choice of vocab and complexity of structure?
  7. Based on the above points, ask yourself: Is it appropriate to use some local dialect words? Is it appropriate to use some local expressions?
  8. Always review your transcreation after you are done, and measure it against the guidelines you came up with when answering these questions.
  • Remember: Always discuss the tone of voice with your PM or editor, and make sure the two of you understand each other in this matter.