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IT’S A MATTER OF TRANSLATION STYLE

Please consider carefully what I’m about to reveal. The process of the translation is the absolute lynch pin for success or failure for all foreign language media projects.

The outcome pivots on the approach and STYLE of the translation.

The crux of the matter is, there are built-in challenges translating for video that simply do not exist in any other form of translation.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is adapting the target language script to fit the audio timings of the original narration, while maintaining a translation that is true to the source text.

A literal, technically accurate, word-for-word translation will usually be longer than the English.

For example, if an English paragraph of a narration is 20 seconds long, a literal, technically accurate translated audio script could easily be 25 to 30 seconds or more. This obviously isn’t going to work.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The good news here is that translators, who have the experience of working with adapting translations to video, can apply techniques that will ensure that this doesn’t happen.

The fact is…

It literally takes a small village of experienced professionals who can seamlessly work in concert with each other to turn an English video into a great foreign language product.

The SECRET of this entire process is:

Translating for video demands a colloquial or “spoken-word” approach.

This is truly a matter of translation style:

•    Does the translation flow naturally?
•    Are the connections between sentences clear?
•    Is the message in the video communicated efficiently?
•    Does the translation fit the timings needed in the media?

A “great” media translator will smooth out any awkward, hard-to-read sentences, changing the literal to a properly localized conversational tone for the specific language and region.

One of my best Spanish voice talents who is also an expert interpreter and translator, Roberto Mendoza, summarized this best:

“Translating for video needs to be written for the ears, not for the eyes. It should feel as though the script was written in the target country, not translated into the target country’s language.”

There are two benefits to this approach.
First, done well, it is the way people ACTUALLY speak. The script has a natural flow. It feels and sounds right, making it easier for the voice talent to read and the listener to understand.

The second benefit: A colloquial approach helps make the translation shorter, more efficient and, therefore, more accurately timed to match the original English audio.

We often are asked to use the language production strategy called “Lip-Synching”.  Lip Synching is the process of complete dialog replacement.  The English, “on camera” audio in the video is completely taken out and entirely replaced with the target language.

The amount of detail in this kind of translation work is enormous, as it must be accurately adapted to the pauses within each sentence. For this process to be effective, a colloquial approach is essential.

Still, some might argue that a colloquial approach is not as accurate as a literal translation.  We know this is not true!

A colloquial translation, although not a technical word-for-word translation, is a far more natural and efficient way to say the same thing, while preserving the meaning of the original content.

To see the truth of this, you need only to ask yourself this question:

“Are there more efficient ways to say things in English?”

The obvious answer is yes. Here’s a very simple example of this:

Original:
“Hello Bob, I will need to go down to the grocery store, and it’s too far to walk.  Do you mind if I drive your car to get there?”

Edit:
“Hey Bob, I need to go to the grocery store. May I borrow your car?”

It’s implied that it’s too far to walk because a car is required to get to the store. The net result is a more efficient way to say the same thing.

Fewer words… same message.
Although one script takes longer to say than the other, the content and meaning remain constant.  This type of editing can happen in any language!

… to learn more about my newest publication called the “Insider’s Guide To Translating Foreign Language Video” CLICK HERE.

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