Creative specialised translations: our people make us famous while tackling the most interesting assignments!
We’ve been providing specialised translations for almost 13 years, and the jobs we assign to our translators cover a wide range of subjects. We take pride in our people, value their loyalty, and appreciate their commitment to even the most unusual translation projects.
Mihai has been collaborating with Swiss Solutions for 3 years. This week, we invited him to tell us about a difficult but exciting translation job he had to complete. Each translation has its own challenges: terminology, cultural matters, the deadline, the importance of finding the right resources, and so on.
But we were quite surprised when he sent us the story we are sharing below.
Swisssolutian greetings to you all!
Romanians and cursing
I had always been aware of the Romanians’ creativity when it comes to cursing: from the ever-popular “mă-ta” (your mother) to combinations with other relatives, holiday names, and all sorts of intimate activities involving real or imaginary objects that I won’t mention here. What I found out from a translation job I received from Swiss Solutions is that French, English and other languages also have insults and profanity that are quite complex and similar in terms of inventiveness and creativity to those we find in Romanian. The job I’m referring to, involved a list of slang words and expressions that should be forbidden in text messages during the 2016 European Football Championship.
The list was prepared by an important mobile phone service provider who needed specialised translations: French slang terms to be translated into English, Romanian and other languages. The purpose was to make sure the messages sent during the championship contained no profanity or insults directed to players, national football teams, referees, etc., since such messages were to be displayed on a screen near the Eiffel Tower during the games and between the first and second halves.
The obscene words in that list would have (probably) made other translators reject the job, but I accepted it since I was intrigued and eager to start (somebody had to do it).
Although many people are embarrassed by cursing, we have to admit it’s part of the Romanian language and its vast vocabulary and should be accepted as such.
Working on specialised translations always requires one’s full effort. My mission for this job was to find equivalent Romanian terms for the French terms in the list. Of course, it was a challenge, because I also had to consider the cultural and political background (for instance, names of presidents or current “stars”), along with names of characters who got a lot of exposure on Romanian television at the time.
An important aid for this translation project was a French-Romanian Dictionary of Slang by Ioan Matei, which I had bought during my university years. Back then, I would use it to impress my Romanian and foreign university mates with my urban language expertise. I also got great help from several former university mates from France and Morocco who were more than willing to explain the subtleties of certain terms and the overall meaning of expressions. In fact, I find this kind of help to be invaluable whenever one must deal with rather sensitive texts that are going to have a wide visibility.
Terms, abbreviations and expressions
Once I had made sure I hadn’t missed any terms, abbreviations or expressions, I sent the file containing the specialised translation to the Project Manager. Then the file was sent to the proofreading department, where my translation was double-checked to ensure it was terminologically consistent, error-free and complete.
All the jobs I receive from Swiss Solutions are interesting, and many are a challenge, but I have fond memories of this job—it required more of my creativity than others and reminded me of how rich our language is, while opening my eyes to the complexity and creativity one can notice in any spoken language.