What makes a quality translation?

One of the challenges of translation is that no two languages conceptualize the world in quite the same way. Whereas there’s only one French word for « cat » (chat), there’s more than one way to translate an abstract concept like « empowerment » depending on the context, and in fact the best solution may be a periphrasis (like donner les moyens).

This means that, at first glance, any document you have translated may look quite different from the original; maybe the conclusion has been adapted or some elements may have been moved. These are necessary steps a translator takes to make sure the text conforms to French customs and usage.

A good translation, in other words, does not regurgitate the original word for word. Instead, it seeks to produce the same overall effect on the reader.

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