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Style Matters

Translators, myself included, seem to give a lot of weight to technology. The tools we use often become more important than the result of our work. I told the owner of an agency, for which I did an editing job recently, that many of the German sentences simply did not makes sense, even though (or because) they closely followed the English source. She shrugged it off by saying that a translator couldn’t be expected to do better than the original.

I happen to disagree and believe that is a cop-out to produce non-sentences in the target language simply because the source consists of non-sentences – and was pleased to see Nick Rosenthal’s (@nickrosenthal) tweet about a style workshop for translators. From the workshop description:

The ability to produce polished prose, no matter how uneven the original text, is one factor distinguishing top-end translators able to command high fees from bulk providers and bottom feeders.

Style does matter, even or especially with technical material. We should have more style and editing workshops.


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