The Art of Successful Translation

welocalize May 5, 2021

Interview with Germany-Based Linguist, Lisa Maria Gormann 

Translator, Reviewer, Organizer – those are the three words I would use to describe my role”.  

Based in Aachen, Germany, where she works from home, Lisa Maria Gormann is an in-house German linguist at Welocalize.  

Having been with Welocalize since August 2020, Lisa Maria translates from English into German (she has studied French too). With a focus on IT, technical, and marketing content, Lisa delivers high-quality translations, helping to shape the international presence of many global brands.  

In this blog, Lisa Maria shares her thoughts into her experiences of being an in-house linguist and the importance and future of translation.

In-house or Freelancer – which do you prefer?  

I have experience both as an in-house translator and as a freelance translator, but I have to say that I prefer in-house. While you have a lot of freedom as a freelancer and can determine when you work and how much you work, I enjoy having set working timesIm also happy about the security an in-house position provides especially during these challenging times we are living in at the moment.  

As I am still rather new at my job, I am very grateful to have senior translators I can ask for help and who are very happy to share advice and knowledge. I have learned a lot from them in the past few months and I always feel that I have someone I can reach out to when I feel stuck on a project.

The support in the German language unit at Welocalize is amazing and although we are all working from home at the moment, you never feel alone. Having great colleagues, interesting projects, and an overall enjoyable atmosphere certainly is a big plus!

Untranslatable’ Words  

There are several words I’ve come across that are ‘untranslatable’. One of my favourites is “empower.” It is a great English word that is often used in marketing texts and it has a variety of meanings. However, translating it into German is rather difficult. While it can be translated as “bemächtigen” or “stärken,” these words often do not fit the marketing context well, as these texts should be concise and compelling.

Finding an appropriate translation, that is fitting for the context, and getting creative about the message that content is supposed to send is one of my favorite things about being a translator.

Fundamentals of Successful Translation Projects 

Several things are fundamental to success! First is knowledge; Knowing the languages you are working with is a given. However, you should also have some cultural knowledge of the target country. Then, of course, you should be familiar with the content you translate and know where you can research terms and vocabulary. Finally, it’s essential to have a strong handle on the program and technology used to help when translating. 

Challenges in Translation 

Challenges can really depend on the content type and making sure you have enough context. For example, if you translate a marketing text, you need to make sure to present the products in the right way, to get the brand’s message across, to incite customers to purchase them. But, if you create video subtitles, you should make sure to be as short as possible without leaving out vital information. 

The Importance of Translation 

The whole world is connected nowadays thanks to globalization. Companies are selling products on different markets, scientists worldwide are working together, and charities work across bordersImportant things happen around the world every day and often people from different countries who speak different languages are involved.  

Translators build bridges between people. We help the whole world to communicate with each other.

Future of Translation 

It’s likely that translation work will shift more toward post-editing of machine translations. Machine translation (MT) has improved greatly in the recent years. However, they still need advancement in some areas like idiomatic speech, proverbs, and so on. Human translation and input will always be needed.

Advice for Global Brands  

Global brands need to find a Language Service Provider (LSP) with expertise in the area they are working in. This will make the difference between a good translation and a perfect translation. Having deep knowledge of the target market, general cultural knowledge, and experience with the content that is to be translated – these things are key to creating a translation that doesn’t sound like a translation, but like a text written in this specific language for the specific audience.

Check out our open Germany-based positions here.  

For more information on Welocalize translation and localization services, connect with us here.