Michael Warr - Language Services / Sprachdienst

January 2021



It's all about having good copy...

When it comes to communications, it’s all about having good copy

Ah, the good old days when we could still laugh at the dubious - laughable even - translations churned out by such venerable online resources as Google or Babelfish.
I think my all-time favourite might have been, “Le pantalon
allumettes le pull”! (The Year 10 pupil who produced this gem did, however, insist it was all her own work…)

Those days, it must be said, are well and truly over.

Certainly in my language pair, De>En, the automated translations produced by the likes of @DeepL exhibit a quality and accuracy of language that is quite simply staggering.

No wonder so many larger agencies now seek to engage freelancers to provide PMTE (post-machine translation editing) services rather than paying them to produce a human translation (HT) from scratch.

So, before we all go and cry into our collective pints, where does all this leave the modern freelance translator or LSP?

In my opinion - exactly where we were.

You see, the serious clients and decent agencies were never really paying us just to translate text from one language into another. Our real skill lies in the mastery of our respective target languages. The ability to see past the words and to grasp the essence of a piece of text as a whole.

Meeting an important client of mine at a trade fair last year (when such things were still an option!), he made it quite clear to me that his company valued my services not because of my command of German – he was pretty sure the machines had caught up in this regard – but because of my ability to manipulate the English language to convey their message effectively.

In other words - it’s all about having good copy.

Moving forward into 2021, I’m looking to bear this in mind in all my dealings with both clients and other co-operation partners - showing them just what it is that I can offer them beyond simply turning German words into English ones.



No flights to the Alps?
No problem….#skiinginireland !!

Keine Flüge in die Alpen?
Kein problem….#schifahreninirland !!