Friday, 13 January 2017

Boat Show Quality Translated

Sideways view of Prestige brand motor yacht

The top-class finishing of motor yachts at the London Boat Show 2017 impressed me. Manufacturers do not appear to skimp on any detail. The quality is high both inside and out. Every surface sparkles with care and attention. Can we translate this between the boat and translation industries?

Translators are constantly under pressure to produce higher quality faster. A warning from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)* caught my attention:

Reflection and Risks

Pic of poster with words: Problem? Dropping your anchor gives you time to think

The RNLI knows about safety. Dropping your anchor gives you time to think about a problem. Panic can create even greater difficulties. 

A translator needs time to think too. Increasing pressure to translate immediately without reflection or using an unedited machine translation can leave a client in stormy seas.

The RNLI advises people to know the risks and respect the water.

Translators advise clients on linguistic risks and respect cultural differences.

Security and Risk Prevention

Safety equipment at the show reflects the high importance of safety to the boat industry. I saw life-rafts and a huge range of life jackets. 

Flares are important in case of emergencies. Good translators ask questions to signal potential difficulties and prevent risks. A translator's safety equipment is in quality checks. It is never advisable to compromise on such 'security' checks.

Reliable Direction & Quality

You need reliable charts to set you in the right direction at sea. Technology is not always reliable. It's the same for translation. 

A boat manufacturer also needs quality marketing materials with quality copy to succeed in a crowded market. The chart of crowded shipping lanes reminds us of the importance of a strong, well-translated or transcreated message.

Professional Captain

PIc of torso of ship's captain in uniform holding hat under arm, shiny buttons and braid around sleeves
The boat industry understands the importance of good communications at sea. A well-trained, experienced and professional Captain keeps you out of harm's way. 

A professional translator is your guide in unfamiliar translation seas. Your boat won't go anywhere without a fair wind or a good engine. Like your captain, your translator needs a good brief from you to take you where you want to go.

A quality yacht deserves investment in quality documentation. 
Quality marketing translations make for a smooth sales passage.

* British charitable institution that saves lives at sea.

Karen Andrews is a freelance French to English translator, transcreator, content writer and editor. She has a strong background in global marketing.

Email Karen for further information via in French, German or English.

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