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Translating business websites is an important skill every freelance translator should have in today’s market. Although it looks like an easy form of translation compared to scientific&technical content, audio-visual content, or literary works, it has its challenges because it requires not only accuracy, but also the right terminology and style for any given business. If you’re accustomed to using everyday vocabulary, or words that give an artistic flair to your translation, you should be doubly careful when choosing the right words for a business website. Too much creativity might jeopardize the reliability that the company wants to convey to its customers, and too much simplicity gives the wrong message when it comes to their professionalism.

What I mean to say is: YOU HAVE TO BE SMART ABOUT IT

There are many ways to translate any given text, but the right way for a business presentation has to include:

1- Language accuracy.

2- Professional terminology

3-Knowledge of Journalistic writing

Although the original text has already covered all of the above, the conversion to another language must be done with the same mindset, so the message and the image that the business wants to convey to international prospective clients remain intact.

The language accuracy is a given in any translating work, but on some types of translation is much more important. When translating a website, even a typo may give the wrong message, let alone misspelled words, the wrong verb tense, or the wrong pronoun. You should always triple check a website text for spelling, and grammar.

And let’s be honest. There are no translators who know everything about everything. But there are translators who know where to find the information needed in any given situation.  I have recently translated the official website of a dental clinic, and of course I wasn’t really acquainted with that terminology. But thanks to the miracle that is internet, I could find dozens of dental clinic websites all around the world. A quick read of all that material allowed me to assimilate the knowledge needed and the medical vocabulary that was necessary for my work. (The same thing must be done for every language, because websites are usually translated in two or more languages.)

I know everyone would agree with the first two criteria, but there might be doubt about the third, given that translators are not usually considered “writers”. This is a misconception better left for another day, but I’ll explain why in this case, the journalistic style is the most appropriate for website translations. Unlike other styles of writing, which can be flexible and casual, journalistic writing uses short sentences and paragraphs and quickly gets to the point. But more importantly, it creates a realistic and unbiased perspective from your part, which means that you wouldn’t add your own interpretation to the mix. The journalistic style makes sure that you remain faithful to the text, while presenting it in the best professional form.

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