Translation Slam: French to English Corporate Communications

Hosted by the ITI French Network

Our first FrenchNet event of 2022 took place on 15th March 2022 and did not disappoint! Janet Fraser and Anne Fox went head-to-head, skilfully moderated by Ruth Simpson, on a corporate communications text.

Samantha Lawrence reports:

Having never been to a Translation Slam before, I really did not know what to expect. I can now firmly say that I’m really glad to have attended and that it exceeded my expectations.

The text chosen was an introductory text from the Le Secours Populaire website. Le Secours Populaire is a non-profit organisation that provides unconditional support to anyone in need. We went through the text sentence by sentence which gave each Slammer the chance to discuss any difficulties encountered and their translation choices; this also enabled the audience to make comparisons between the two translations. The text did not disappoint in terms of its discussion as a lot of varied and interesting points were raised, some of which I have never given that much thought to previously. The points raised included syntax, structure and word choice, among others.

One of the points that got me thinking is how, in English, we tend to add “the” in front of some charity names but not with others even though it is not a part of the name such as “The British Heart Foundation” and “Cancer Research”. Personally, I hadn’t realised we tend to do this until it was pointed out.

One of my favourite quotes from one of the Slammers is that when translating “I leave out words but not ideas”. I feel that this sums up translation quite well as preserving the ideas rather than the words is a fundamental part of the translation process. I found that this was also reflected in both of the Slammer’s translations where a lot of changes were made to maintain the idea.

There are so many aspects of the event that I really enjoyed that I can’t possibly name them all. If I had to choose my favourite, it would be having the chance to see how others work on translations, seeing the methods they used, and being able to have a lively discussion about the issues that came up in the text. It was such a great learning opportunity, as I was able to learn new things from both the Slammers and the discussion in the chat box. It’s easily my favourite CPD event that I’ve attended. I couldn’t recommend attending one enough and I’m looking forward to the next one.

A big thanks to the two participants, Janet Fraser and Anne Fox; the moderator, Ruth Simpson; and to our events team Holly-Anne Whyte and Alanah Reynor for organising it.