I — Our translation agency will take care of the writing and translation of your various documents

It is no longer necessary to go through communication agencies in order to write the content of a company. The translation agency Swisstranslate can handle all your needs, writing and translating in over 40 languages.

Writing professional communication documents is subject to several rules. A memo, an assignment report or a sales proposal, etc. are not written in the same way. Addressing colleagues in a company or attracting a market requires a type of writing and therefore a rigour that is specific to each type of medium.

So how does Swisstranslate write your professional business documents?

II — The writing process

When you request a document to be written by our agency, a precise and methodical process is applied in order to understand your expectations, requirements and preferences. This process is carried out in 10 steps, which we will present to you below:

1. Understanding your world and your target

When requesting a copywriting assignment, we will make an appointment with you to understand your needs and expectations. Writing professional documents is a serious matter that requires trust and method between the two parties.

During this meeting, we will ask you about
— The type of company (communication agency, technical company)
— The main competitors
— The points of difference with the competition (what you like and don’t like about them)
— The brand image you want to give
— Your target audience
— The purpose of the document
— If your company is trying to respond to a client issue
— The expected customer experience when reading the document,
— Main call to action: what should your audience do after reading it?
— Evidence and testimonials, examples of what you have written in the past,
— Where to find relevant information about your company
— Potential objections (What elements of your products or services might make your target audience hesitate to engage with you. For example, concerns about price, quality, etc.)
— Your new project
— Desired volume of writing/size of the article
— The points that absolutely must be included
— Do we have to comply with SEO rules?
— Various constraints — maximum number of characters, vocabulary to be used, length of text
— Desired language(s)
— Additional information

Depending on the answers, the translation agency’s production department will assess the time required, the technical nature of the text, your requirements, the type of writing, etc. This enables us to target your request as closely as possible, in order to provide you with an appropriate rate and a deadline for the translation.
Each project is tailor-made, and therefore adapted to each request.

2. Working closely with the client to understand their needs

Once the quote has been validated, we will select the specialist writer who best suits your project: a technical writer to write product sheets or a writer specialising in writing press releases will not produce the same type of content, for example. Then the writing work begins, with back and forth between you and our writer, as this requires close collaboration to respect your communication style, terminology, etc.

Depending on the project, a videoconference or meeting can be organised to exchange ideas between the writer, a member of our team and yourself.
A first draft of 300 words will then be sent to you so that you can find the style that best suits your company.
Following this draft, we can adjust our work, and continue with the content writing.

3. Find a relevant and catchy title

Following all the information and requirements given and methodically acquired earlier, our writer starts by finding a relevant and catchy title for your documents. Even though every writer has his or her own writing style, we make sure that it fits your style of document to be written (brochure, press article, internal communication document, etc.).

4. Structuring the content with a plan

We then draw up a precise, funnel-shaped drafting plan to sort out the information in such a way as to best capture the attention of the future reader.

5. Captivate the reader from the introduction

An eye-catching, relevant introduction will be written, making use of current facts, figures and relevant data. Our writers, with more than 10 years of experience, do not only use the documents provided, but also do real research in order to better understand your needs and to produce the most attractive and professional content.

6. Start writing

Once all the preparatory stages have been completed, the writer will start writing, respecting all the reference documents and information provided.

9. Proofreading

This strategic work will end with a thorough proofreading of the drafted document and a final check that it meets the client’s expectations.
The drafted document will then be sent to the client within the established deadline.

10. Working on the layout

In a translation agency, the editorial work delivered to you will not only include the body of the text, but also its formatting, harmonious and relevant to the type of document.
If you wish, we can also take care of the layout of the InDesign document, integrate it into your website, or translate it to send a newsletter in several languages.

Thanks to a detailed questionnaire, a precise methodology and close collaboration, our Swisstranslate agency is able to write all your documents.
From the thought process to the writing, translation and layout, we can guarantee you a quality job with complete confidence.

Our team will be happy to answer your questions about writing!

One might think that the world of translation only revolves around classic written translation services, no matter whether the field is technical or legal. However, one of the core areas of translation is interpreting.

 

The number of employees in the translation and interpreting sector has doubled in the last seven years, and is expected to grow by 29% by 2024. Pandemic or not, interpreting is indispensable.

 

What is interpreting

Interpreting is a system of oral or sign language communication between people who do not speak the same language or have the same language codes.

 

The interpreter performs his or her function in real time, in close contact with the sender and the receiver. He or she has a very short period of time in which to reflect and transmit the message accurately and in the most appropriate style.

 

What are the different types of interpretation?

I — Simultaneous interpretation 

 

Simultaneous interpretation is interpretation that takes place at the same time as the speaker is speaking. The interpreter renders the speaker’s words into the target language as quickly as possible. In order to hear the interpreter, the participants wear headsets. Thus, the interpreter is usually seated in a soundproof booth, where he or she can see and hear the speaker clearly with headphones, and speaks into a microphone. The interpretation then arrives simultaneously in the target language into the ears of the participants via their headsets.

 

Simultaneous interpretation is often used at congresses and conferences, as was the case at the last United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26). It was also used for the first time during the Nuremberg Trials in 1945 and 1946 by the Allied Powers of the Second World War before several military tribunals.

 

This type of interpretation is a very intense exercise for professional interpreters. The interpreter works live: as he or she speaks, he or she must be able to hear the rest of the speech in order to report it.

 

II — Consecutive interpreting

 

Consecutive interpreting consists of rephrasing the speaker’s speech after the speaker has concluded it. While the speaker is speaking, the interpreter takes information from the notes. If the speaker’s speech is long enough, the speaker may pause to facilitate the interpreter’s work. This can also help the audience to understand the speech better. Consecutive interpreting therefore allows the meaning of the speaker’s speech to be better understood by retaining only the essential character of the speech.

Consecutive interpreting is often used in the medical field for communication between doctor and patient, or in business negotiations.

 

The interpreter can control the situation better than with simultaneous interpreting: he or she can point out ambiguities, have the speaker repeat or clarify the meaning of terms that may cause problems.

 

III — Whispered interpreting or chuchotage

 

Whispered interpreting, or chuchotage, is a variant of simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. The interpreter stands next to the listeners and interprets the speaker’s speech in a low voice as he or she goes along.

 

However, whispered interpretation is only possible in the presence of a small audience (usually two or three people).

 

IV — Liaison interpreting

 

Liaison interpreting is similar to consecutive interpreting. The interpreter will memorise brief exchanges in the source language and then render them into the target language.

 

Liaison interpreting is often used in small groups, for example in business meetings, guided tours, contract stipulations and business negotiations.

 

Interpreting equipment

 

Depending on the type of interpreting required, equipment is sometimes needed to enable the professional interpreter to perform his or her job optimally.

 

For example, simultaneous interpreting is the type of interpreting that requires the most equipment. Simultaneous interpreters work in soundproof booths, which may be fixed or portable, depending on the configuration of the venue. Inside the booths, interpreters need interpreting consoles, headphones and a desk lamp. Outside the booth, there is a public address system with speakers, microphones for the chairperson, speakers and delegates, and receivers to allow the delegates to listen to the interpretation.

 

Consecutive interpretation, on the other hand, usually requires no special equipment. All the consecutive interpreter needs is a notebook and a pen. But this requires special note-taking skills.

 

 

The type of interpretation you need depends on the event you wish to translate, the number of people present and the time you have available.

 

Every event is unique, so please contact us if you need help in choosing the type of interpretation you need!

The CV or «curriculum vitae» comes from the Latin «courir et vie». It allows everyone to retrace their life’s journey, their professional and personal experiences. It is a first opportunity to make yourself known, like a business card, which will encourage the recruiter to take an interest in you.

If you are pursuing an international career, then the CV lives up to its name! But for this, it is important to have it translated.

 

I — Avoiding immediate elimination

 

First of all, having your CV translated allows you to avoid immediate elimination. Furthermore, having your CV translated shows the recruiter that you are motivated, interested and involved. This will be a real plus for your application, showing that you are a serious and rigorous person. It will allow you to stand out from other candidates.

It will ensure an understanding between you, the candidate, and the recruiter.

Furthermore, having your CV translated shows the recruiter that you are motivated, interested and involved. This will be a real plus for your application, showing that you are a serious and rigorous person. It will allow you to stand out from other candidates.

 

Is it necessary to use a translator?

It is recommended to have your CV translated by a professional translator. Avoid translating it yourself. Indeed, making language mistakes could put you at a disadvantage and be an argument for the recruiter to reject you. So use a translation agency such as Swisstranslate!

 

II — Adapt to the CV standards of each country where you are applying

 

Translating your CV is also advantageous for you because the recruiter will be able to examine it more easily. Your CV will conform to the standards of the country you are applying for.

For example, an English CV in the United States is very different from a French CV. American law prohibits the disclosure of certain personal information (age, marital status, date of birth, etc.), which is not the case in France. In Switzerland, it is possible to make a 3-page CV, whereas in France, the norm is to limit it to 1 page.

So, if your CV resembles those that the recruiter is used to receiving, it will be easier for them to study it and therefore to select you.

 

Furthermore, having your CV translated by professional translators who know the rules of these countries is a real benefit for you. The translators at Swisstranslate always translate into their native language. This allows them to have a precise and up-to-date knowledge of technical terms, as well as local norms and customs. They are therefore able to translate your CV by adapting the names of diplomas and training courses, the titles of headings and the writing style, according to the requirements of local recruiters.

 

 

III — Multiplying your professional opportunities abroad

 

If you want to move abroad or apply for a job in an international company, it is essential to have your CV translated. It makes it easier to communicate with the recruiter in their mother tongue. If you send a CV in French to a German recruiter, it seems logical that they will not understand the meaning of the information given.

 

On the other hand, having your CV translated opens doors for the future. It gives more credit to your application. When you apply for a job abroad, it shows that you have some knowledge of the language of the country where you want to work. The recruiter will therefore be more inclined to consider your application because they know you are at least bilingual. This is a considerable asset in the world of employment. Translating your CV is therefore an opportunity to show your language skills!

 

 

To conclude, we can say that having your CV translated is an increasingly important step in the recruitment process. The job market is becoming more and more competitive. You have to know how to stand out. The most important thing is to show that you are ready to give your all for the job. So aiming for an international career and having a translated CV shows that you are ready, open to all possibilities and serious.

There are over 7,100 languages in the world. In Europe more than 230 languages are spoken and more than 2,000 are spoken in Asian countries. In Papua New Guinea, with just 3.9 million inhabitants, more than 840 different languages are spoken! Of these languages, around 40% are threatened with extinction…

 

In all this diversity, how are the languages spoken in the world recorded? What future do they have?

 

Links between the world’s main languages 

In order, the 5 most spoken languages in the world by native speakers are:

  1. Chinese
  2. Spanish
  3. English
  4. Hindi
  5. Arabic

 

We can ask ourselves how these languages — which sometimes have very little connection, either in pronunciation or in meaning — can be related?

 

One of the main reasons is that some countries are officially multilingual, such as Canada (French and English), South Africa (Afrikaans and English), Israel (Arabic and Hebrew), Belgium (French, Dutch and German), etc. Languages influence each other and over time, they mix to create another language, another variation, another style.

 

All languages are linked to each other. They have, at one time or another in history, been crossed, declined, influenced. Even if this happens to different degrees. Take Spanish and Portuguese, for example. Some words are almost the same and mean the same thing. The link here is direct and the influence of one language on the other is obvious. On the contrary, the link between French and Chinese seems non-existent, yet it exists. But this requires going back in time. To an influence that dates back to the time of colonisation. The mixing and immersion of cultures has had an indirect and progressive effect on our languages.

 

The evolution of the main languages spoken today

The transmission of spoken languages is above all social. Their birth or disappearance is linked to linguistic policies or economic domination. The major trend today is towards the adoption of a language of international communication and a simplification of the major language areas.

However, we are tending towards the disappearance of many languages. An Anglo-Saxon researcher, Mark Pagel, has estimated that, since humans have had the faculty of language, between 31,000 and 600,000 different languages have been spoken on the surface of the globe, his average estimate being about 140,000 languages. Today, it is estimated that there are just over 7,000 languages.

 

As well as seeing changes in the number of languages, we also see changes in their structure. When new words enter our language, they are not yet fully formed or in their final state. The meaning of a word evolves over time, changing our understanding and perception of a term.

 

Therefore, languages move and change in number, but also in meaning and fundamental use.

 

What is the future for languages? 

 

Languages are not immune to globalisation. Some are increasingly spoken, while others are disappearing. Depending on location, needs and policies, people look for those that are most useful or most profitable.

 

We can assume that a sorting out will gradually take place, leaving only a minimal number of languages spoken. This is indeed what current statistics seem to show, with 40% of languages threatened with extinction before the end of the 21st century.

 

Languages will gradually change, merge and become extinct… for hundreds of years to come.

 

In the relatively near future, French, for example, is expected to grow to almost 800 million speakers by 2050, i.e. almost 9% of the population, compared with only 3.5% today, due to population growth in Africa.

 

The number of speakers of each language is constantly changing. Of the 7,111 languages spoken in the world in 2019, only 8% are considered very stable and unlikely to disappear, as they are used by governments, schools, media, etc. English, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and French are the top 5 languages with the most speakers in the world today.

 

But what will really happen in the years to come?

Translating your website is synonymous with communication. Indeed, with globalisation and the evolution of new technologies, companies have to adapt by developing online commerce and seeking to reach a wider target audience. In 2020, the share of online purchases as a proportion of retail purchases reached almost 70% for Switzerland, while France was close to 60% and Italy 30%.

 

How can a multilingual website become an advantage for your business?

 

Expand your customer base

Translating a website into several languages initially allows a company to make itself known internationally with the aim of expanding its activity. In concrete terms, depending on its field of activity, it can target certain emerging countries where competitiveness on the internet is still weak. This is a competitive advantage in the market and can increase its visibility and even its turnover.

More than 72% of consumers prefer to buy a product/service from a site that provides information in their own language.

So, regardless of the language, the company can give access to its services to a large audience.

Moreover, the company can also target the audience that best fits its market. For example, luxury companies have adapted to the Asian market, taking advantage of the boom in tourism in the West.

 

Improving your image

Today, around 80% of website content is only available in English. However, in March 2020, only 25.9% of internet users worldwide were English speakers. Languages such as Russian, Hindi or Japanese have a significant number of speakers and therefore as many potential customers. Translating your website into multiple languages gives you an advantage over companies that do not have any or do not translate them. But also against companies that limit themselves to certain languages and markets. Turnover will increase accordingly.

Translating a website allows a company to show its reliability and seriousness by making the buying experience simple for their customers. By ensuring that the content is fully translated, from product descriptions to payment processes, the conversion rate will be optimised.

Customers appreciate being addressed in their native language as they can navigate a site more easily and for longer.

 

Boosting your SEO

From a more technical point of view, translating your website into multiple languages allows you to be present on several foreign search engines, butut also to be better referenced. It therefore benefits from better visibility without the company having to invest in an advertising and/or communication campaign. To optimise the SEO of a site, it is necessary to play on strategic keywords. And the fact of translating the site multiplies the number of keywords for all the languages translated. The site will therefore be present at the top of the page of browsers and on multiple international browsers, which increases its visibility and popularity.

 

Translating your website is becoming a must. This action allows a company to reach a wider audience by expanding into new international markets and ultimately increase its turnover.

It is therefore necessary to entrust the translation of your website to translators specialised in the field to ensure that the message is correctly transmitted in the desired languages.

The field of new technologies is particularly profitable, and companies are investing, developing and innovating. In Switzerland, 22.9 billion francs were spent on research and development in 2019, which represents 3.15% of the national GDP and shows the importance that Switzerland attaches to development and innovation. So, after successive feats in terms of translation and communication, Google ensured results, performance and efficiency through innovation and the launch of GOOGLE MEET in 2019, followed by the live captioning feature in 2022.

 

I — What is Google Meet in concrete terms?

In a nutshell, Google Meet is a high quality video conferencing platform, which was previously only available to professionals. Now anyone with a Google account can create an online meeting of up to 60 minutes with up to 100 participants. Businesses, schools and other organisations can take advantage of advanced features, such as hosting meetings with up to 250 participants and live streaming for 100,000 users.

But the novelty of this platform is that it is now possible to benefit from live subtitling during videoconference meetings. However, this service is not free. Google’s live captioning is available for meetings held by people with a premium Workspace subscription, including Workspace Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Teaching & Learning Upgrade and Education Plus. The cost is approximately CHF 16 per month.

 

II — The limitations of Google’s automatic subtitling

This groundbreaking new feature from Google is limited for the time being as it only takes English as its starting language and subtitling is only available in 4 languages: Spanish, Portuguese, German and French. At the moment, Google has not yet announced a feature that allows meetings to be automatically translated from another language, which strongly limits the use of subtitling.

In addition to not being useful for everyone, Google’s automatic translation is not available to everyone, as this feature is only available with a particularly expensive subscription. To take advantage of it, administrators will also have to sign up for the beta version and activate the feature.

Finally, concerning the subtitling service itself, we have noticed that it has some flaws. Indeed, it is necessary to be able to read the subtitles quickly.           They appear and disappear very quickly and in limited quantity. The words are initially proposed in a grammatical manner and then contextualised with the rest of the speech. They therefore change during reading and are sometimes inaccurate. Accessibility and accuracy are the main flaws of this tool. So far, this feature is mainly useful for people with hearing impairments or to follow a meeting without headphones or speakers.

 

III — Is Google Meet really a threat to translators and interpreters?

The improvement of machine translation with the subtitles offered by Google Meet is a threat to «human» translators and interpreters.

On the one hand, machine translation is a threat because it increases productivity, reduces costs and increases the volume of translation. Indeed, this tool translates quickly and more and more accurately. Google Meet is therefore a major competitor compared to other videoconferencing platforms where a human interpreter is required. However, at a professional level, the presence of a human is still required and preferable. For example, when a text to be translated deals with a specific field, technology alone will not be able to master and contextualise all the terms. A translator, however, will be able to understand and adapt his or her translation according to a context, preferences, customs, etc.

On the other hand, technology can be a support, a tool for the translator. It will not be a threat, but a bonus. The translator will be able to rely on machine translation in order to go faster or to carry out checks.

 

To sum up, the new Google Meet subtitles are an important innovation as this year is already marked by a significant increase in video conferencing. They are shaking up the translation market and challenging translators and interpreters. Their advantages in terms of time, cost and convenience are not to be overlooked. However, their weaknesses exclude some people and may mislead others with incorrect translations.

In the future, more languages will need to be supported, both as source and target languages, to increase translation possibilities. Today it is still necessary to use translators and interpreters for those that are not available.

As you can see, the quality is still far from reaching the capabilities of the human interpreter who has the context, the specialisation and the ability to choose the most appropriate terms and to put emotion into the text.

In France, Netflix has a catalogue of over 5,600 films and series. This corresponds on average to the number of film releases in French cinemas in 2020. This explosion of video-on-demand services reflects the new mode of consumption, «everything, right away». But to satisfy the 208 million subscribers worldwide, films and series must be subtitled. Translators are therefore increasingly called upon by this style of platform.

How can platforms release so many films and series in so many languages?

First of all, it is the law in France that defines the number and chronology of releases of films and series; it is called the Chronologie des Médias and it regulates the catalogues after the cinema release. This is why you have to wait 36 months before you can access films on SVoD services (such as Netflix, Amazon, etc.), or 6 to 8 months on pay-TV services such as Canal+ or OCS.

Platforms such as Netflix then produce their own films and series so that they are directly online. This is where the translators come in.

Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ are constantly looking for translators to ensure their releases. They call on translators from all over the world in order to offer the widest possible range of languages. It is now very easy to see a film or series in French with Japanese subtitles, such as the series Lupin, which has been a great success abroad and has been subtitled in many language combinations.

A tool to become an official translator

The American platform Netflix, for example, has to provide subtitles in around 20 languages. In 2017, it therefore launched its own translation recruitment platform «Hermes» with the aim of increasing its subtitling quality and checking that the translators who offer to work on the subtitles of a content have a perfect command of all the subtleties of the original language. Translators are tested on this platform before being selected. A computer selects them by means of algorithms; the quality of their translation is no longer judged by a person, but by an algorithm!

Once selected, translators are paid by the minute, up to a maximum of 25 dollars. This is a matter of debate in the translation world, as some translators are underpaid, depending on the dialogues they translate.

Moreover, this system competes with translation agencies specialising in subtitling. Some people talk about the uberisation of subtitling. This alters the translator’s profession; they have to work more and more on an increasingly tight deadline and no longer have time for creativity. Moreover, their copyright is not well recognised, as negotiations with these platforms are sometimes tough. Translators are therefore increasingly in demand, but the working conditions are deteriorating.

The quality of subtitles, at the heart of the debate in 2021

The quality of subtitling is increasingly at the centre of criticism. The working conditions of translators, which leave little room for creativity, have resulted in a decline in the quality of subtitling. This was the case in September 2021 with the release of the South Korean series Squid Game. This series was a great success, but its dubbing and subtitles in English were not. Some dialogues were badly transcribed, preventing viewers from understanding certain plots or subtleties of the characters. This would have had a snowball effect on the translation of other languages.

This process puts the profession of translator to the test.

The place of translators in the audiovisual industry

Translators have a very important place in the audiovisual world and this is reflected in the explosion of streaming and VOD platforms.

Viewers are becoming aware of the importance of quality subtitles with all the series being released on these platforms.

But for translators to keep up with the crazy pace of film releases and platforms, their working conditions must not be neglected and the uberisation of the translation profession must be avoided for better quality… but also so that it is a recognised profession.

Around 30,000 people are gathering in Glasgow at this very moment for the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26).

From 31 October to 12 November, 120 heads of state are expected to attend and some of them have already taken the floor in the first few days to raise awareness of the urgency of the climate situation and find solutions.

Politicians, activists and citizens from all over the world are listening carefully to what is happening in Glasgow.

What commitments will be made?

More than 80 countries are committing to reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Although absent from the conference, India wants to be carbon neutral by 2070, announced the Indian Prime Minister.

More than 100 leaders, representing 85% of the world’s forests, are pledging to halt deforestation by 2030.

These commitments are only the beginning of a list that will continue to grow in the face of the climate emergency.

But how can these ambitions and commitments be translated?

Climate is a global concern, most countries are involved, which implies a large number of language combinations. There are as many countries participating in COP26 as there are languages to be translated. Every speech must be understood by everyone. While many speak English, translating speeches from Indian or Nigerian into Chinese or Swedish, for example, is less common.

This is where the need for professional interpreters and translators comes in.

Global warming, carbon neutrality and deforestation are sensitive and complex issues. The physical presence of interpreters who can master the vocabulary of climate and environmental issues, as well as diplomatic and geopolitical jargon, is indispensable. Translators and interpreters are the ones who will be responsible for passing messages between countries and for negotiating, and they play a vital role.

Who are these interpreters and how are they organised?

At international meetings, there are always professional and specialised interpreters. They are members of the United Nations and are responsible for the official interpreting at COP26. They participate in technical negotiations, conferences, etc.

For the conferences to run smoothly, they are meticulously prepared in advance with an order of appearance for the speakers: for example, on 2 November, the presidents spoke in a precise order so that the interpreters from each country could prepare themselves. Speakers were given a time limit of 3 minutes to speak. Statements and speeches were sent to the interpreters about 30 minutes before each speech.

Some of the conferences and meetings are held online. This was the case for the Queen of England, who was unable to attend this COP26, and who made her statement live via video conference. However, these online conferences can become an obstacle to understanding each other in international negotiations of this magnitude.

Once ended, COP26 will allow countries to negotiate and agree on key issues to fight global warming and save our planet. The main challenge for countries is to limit global warming to 1.5° by the end of the century. The language challenge for interpreters will also be over.

What is the role of translators?

Agreements will be drafted and it is the translators who will have to translate these agreements and official documents into the languages of the signatory countries.

Just as for interpreters, this COP26 is also a linguistic challenge for translators

In the face of this urgency, let’s hope that interpreters and translators will pass on the right messages to the leaders so that they too can take up their climate challenge!

The long-awaited summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin shook up the news this week. After 36 years, the two great world powers met in Geneva and debated for more than 3 hours on various subjects such as the US presidential elections, hacking and cyber security operations, nuclear arms control, the Ukraine issue without forgetting the Navalny case and now the Protassevitch case.

One American, the other Russian, one might ask how the two presidents managed to understand each other?

A major challenge.

In order to ensure perfect and fluid communication between the two great powers, interpreters are indispensable. But this is not as easy as it sounds. In addition to their ability to «listen and speak at the same time» in two different languages, they have to be extremely concentrated for long periods of time.

In keeping with diplomatic protocol, each leader travels with his or her own interpreters working for the White House or the Kremlin. In addition, UNIGE interpreters also worked for the delegations and for Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS).

Words that can be misinterpreted.

During this meeting, Joe Biden repeated the words of the ABC News journalist and reproached Putin for being a «killer» by assuring that he would pay the price for his actions. Because of the translation, this sentence could have been misinterpreted by Putin. This is why the mistranslation of such words can worsen important international relations.

Translation at the heart of the agreements.

In order for everyone to adhere to the different issues discussed during the meeting, it was essential to translate the agreements into writing. This translation task had to be accomplished with great delicacy and subtlety by professional translators who are experts in this field.

Switzerland is extremely fortunate to be recognised for its multilingual profile and its neutrality in international decision-making. A Biden-Putin meeting in the US or Russia was out of the question. Relations between the two are too bad for either of them to accept an invitation. According to Guy Parmelin, «it is Switzerland’s role to interfere between the great and the good of the world.

This is how the profession of translator/interpreter is valued and indispensable in this magnificent country and how the two icons of world power knew that such a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland would be a success.

Translation problems can appear in many forms: lexical-semantic, grammatical, syntactic, rhetorical, pragmatic or cultural. Among the many issues, we have selected a few to help you understand the degree of difficulty our translators face.

1. Doing preliminary research

Before starting a translation, translators begin by getting to grips with the broad outlines of the document through initial reading and preliminary research on the subject.

2. Have specialist knowledge

For a quality translation, translators are specialised in specific fields and are used to playing with terminology. Translation requires rigour, and above all, a perfect command of one’s mother tongue and field of activity.

3. Working in collaboration with the client

We are aware that our translators need help and precise instructions from our clients. This is why we ask for reference documents whenever possible, so that the final translation is satisfactory.

4. Be available and responsive

Being available is also part of the challenge for a translator. Translation projects cannot be anticipated. The same applies to translators who cannot prepare in advance without having the document. Reactive, linguists are ready to start a translation or proofreading job.

5. Meeting deadlines

Meeting deadlines and time pressure cannot be overlooked as major challenges for our translators. Indeed, they must be fast, because some requests must be processed in a short period of time. In other words, they have to be able to deliver a first-class translation within a few days.

6. Proving yourself every day on every project

Every project is a new translation, but also a new story. We give our translators the chance to prove themselves with each translation. Translations are graded on the basis of client feedback and this encourages our translators to constantly improve their quality.

7. Challenging your work

One of the other challenges facing our translators is to question their work. It is important to be able to re-examine your work and to listen to your client. Translation is not a solitary mission and an exact science, but a collaboration.

 

It is a constant challenge to try to convey the meaning of the source language in the target language as naturally and accurately as possible. Whether it is a question of understanding the culture, speaking the language, or knowing the expressions specific to a country, this union between peoples accompanies our evolution, and this, beyond the borders.