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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted a while ago looking for feedback on French language teaching on line / telephone, and all the feedback and input was great, so thank you all.

Now, feedback on translations please. Is it something that people would find useful? Perhaps letters from EDF / France Telecom etc? Or property documentation? Advertisement translations, for rental properties, English into French? Making telephone calls to various people? I know the latter I have found very useful recently, when trying to sort out a bill that I was sent by the water board. I couldn't have done it alone

I'd be interested to hear what people think. Thanks!

:ranger:
 
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I'm a professional translator and interpreter. These days when people just want to get the gist of a letter, or a few phrases in French, the automatic software isn't too bad.

For anything more serious, I highly recommend using a professional - I see dreadful amateur stuff done all the time.

Translator's insurance is advisable - a mistake on a key passage can cost money - a lot of money. And the translator can be held liable.

A degree in French (or in English for a native French speaker) is the minimum. Preferably a professional qualification such as with the Chartered Institute of Linguists in London, the Diploma in Translation (DipTrans), a post-graduate qualification.

One other key error some amateur translators make - translating away from, rather than into, their mother tongue. No matter how good the linguist, a professional translator can always spot when this is being done.

Stick to domains you have expertise in. A document might appear ok to translate at first glance, until you come across a few technical terms hidden away in the text. I've seen some hilarious botched translations of technical and semi-technical stuff.

It's no use just having a CollinsShorter English-French/French-English dictionary. Professional translators have shelves full of dictionaries, trade-specific glossaries, technical reference works, software etc.

Quite a few official documents require the services of a sworn translator (ie translations of birth certificates, etc). Without the stamp of an approved expert, a translation is of no use to the French authorities, for example.

At the end of the day, if you use a cowboy plumber, chances are you'll end up with cowboy plumbing. The same applies to translation!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Frog. I appreciate the comments, particularly on the very legal stuff. She is a qualified French tutor with word perfect English. I doubt that she would want to get involved in the legal stuff, more letters and things. I hear what you're saying about the free on line stuff, but that doesn't make a telephone call for you, does it? It also didn't help me translate the true meaning and implications of a very serious letter from the French water board recently! She was able to sort it for me by making an appointment for them to visit, writing a couple of letters in correct terminology, sort out their error, and get them to send me the bill for MY meter and not somebody elses. Oh, not to mention preventing the water from being cut off and stopping the court action for non payment of bill! So, whilst there is a huge amount of truth in your comments, we're talking simple stuff if you can speak the lingo, but too difficult for many of us!
 
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No reason at all why a French national who speaks good English shouldn't try to market the telephone contact thing, draft letters in French, etc. But it would probably take a major promotional effort to get the service known amongst a reasonable number of expats, and pricing would be difficult. Expats can be a stingy bunch! It's bad enough getting a bill in the first place, without having to pay to sort out related problems!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tell me about it!!! Mind you, I intend to send the water board my invoice. Do you reckon they'll pay it????
 
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Not a hope :frusty:. Not for a long time at least!

Big corporations have got an unofficial policy on handling complaints these days. Basically they've worked out that 95% of problems simply go away in time, the complainants giving up. They ignore stroppy letters, 'customer service' is there to act as a buffer to ensure they don't actually pay out any hard cash.

I read a whistle-blower article by a former customer services manager along those lines not so long ago. It's a sad trend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not a hope :frusty:. Not for a long time at least!

Big corporations have got an unofficial policy on handling complaints these days. Basically they've worked out that 95% of problems simply go away in time, the complainants giving up. They ignore stroppy letters, 'customer service' is there to act as a buffer to ensure they don't actually pay out any hard cash.

I read a whistle-blower article by a former customer services manager along those lines not so long ago. It's a sad trend.
Worth a stamp, maybe?:lalala: praps not.........
 
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