MET workshop — Barcelona, 26 May 2012

Style matters

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.

Silk purse from sow’s ear? Yes. With a definite payback: translators adopting this approach and honing these skills can develop rewarding, long-term relationships with loyal customers, charge higher rates and negotiate deadlines that suit them. Part of the challenge lies in winning clients’ trust and having the confidence to see yourself as a writer rather than as a humble servant.

Participants in this one-day practical workshop led by Chris Durban and Ros Schwartz will tackle different types of text where the emphasis is on stylistic quality. The nuts and bolts of good writing will be examined, along with concrete suggestions for raising client awareness of this essential added value.

Most examples will come from French, but knowledge of the source language will not be required as the focus will be on writing good, clear English.

Chris Durban is a freelance translator based in Paris, producing texts for the foreign shareholders, customers and partners of French corporations and institutions. Her client-education column “The Onionskin” ran in the ITI Bulletin and led to “Translation, getting it right” and “Interpreting, getting it right”, brochures now available in a dozen languages. She writes a business advice column (Fire Ant & Worker Bee) in the online Translation Journal and in late 2010 published a compilation as The Prosperous Translator. Chris is a member of ITI, ATA and SFT, and co-organizer of “Translate in the Catskills” and the SFT’s Université d’été de la traduction financière.

Ros Schwartz has been a freelance translator since 1981. She has translated a wide range of novels and non-fiction works from French and runs a translation company specializing in marketing and promotional literature. She frequently publishes articles and gives workshops and talks on the art of translation. A Fellow of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, she was Chair of the European Council of Literary Translators Associations (CEATL) from 2000 to 2009 and is currently Chair of English PEN’s Writers in Translation Programme. She was made a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2009.