HOC Blog

HOC New Translator Guide - Part 1 of 7

This guide is intended to help new and experienced translators and editors understand House of Content’s philosophy in Arabic digital content, and translation in particular.

Although this is not a translation course, it is intended to “train” translators on basic principles in translation. Part 4 of this series will focus on Arabic translation techniques, but the rest of the posts can apply to all language combinations.

We welcome your feedback at any time, as we are sure experienced translators and content specialists have a lot to add and enrich this quick guide.

Basic principles

A. Transcreation is (not) all about creativity

The cornerstone in Arabic translation (transcreation) is, with no doubt, creativity. It is through creative talented people like you that House of Content can deliver what it promises. Because it is a creative type of work, you have to have your imagination sparking as you work. Imagination is your tool to recreate the text in its new language, rather than just convey the meaning. Think of yourself as the creator of a new text, not as a tool to create a new version of the same text. Think of the text as your own child, nourish it, and give it a piece of your soul.

House of Content's creativity tips:

  1. Do not work on transcreation unless you feel your mind is sharp and your creativity is at your reach. It is not advisable to work when you are exhausted or preoccupied.
  2. Treasure your rest time, and always have at least a one day weekend.
  3. Read, read, and read. Reading is the perfect way to empower your creativity and broaden your style horizons. House of Content recommends reading any text in its original language: Read Arabic novels in Arabic, and English ones in English. Do your best to avoid reading translated books, unless they are translated by House of Content! On the other hand, do your best to read translated articles, manuals, guides, and other forms of publications, so you know the market standards and most common practices.
  4. Always trust your creativity, and try bold choices in structure and vocabulary, but keeping in mind the next point.
  5. Embrace the tone of voice required by the text type and the client. Live it, and speak it with people around you. Read articles and other sources that use similar tones, and try to mimic them in a creative manner. The ability to mimic tone of voice, or as NLP calls it, the ability to "mirror", is a valuable gift and essential skill all creative language specialists must have.
  6. When you face a tricky sentence or a complex paragraph, try different translations, and read them together, then decide on the best and most creative one.
  7. Never settle on a translation you are not happy with. Trust your creativity. You CAN come up with a better one!
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