le comptoir d'anglais

  • Augmenter la taille
  • Taille par défaut
  • Diminuer la taille

Translator's Code & More

English-French Translation (2002-2003 content)

Contact: Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

Copyright apply to all translation included in this site.

Original text & translation: Claire F. Dionet. All rights reserved.


Translators’ Code

In my capacity as a free-lance English – French translator, I make a commitment to respect the French Translators’ Code and to serve my customers with the best of my technical and terminological knowledge and professional skills.

Claire F. Dionet, English–French Translator, 2002

The French version of the Translators’ Code has been adopted by the Société Française des Traducteurs, which does not have an English version yet. Here is an extract I have translated for you.

The free-lance translator is an outside collaborator of companies. In this respect, in compliance with the ethical rules of the profession and the Article 378 of the Code Pénal, he/she commit themselves in respecting professional secrets regarding the content of the materials being entrusted to them, and especially not to disclose or publish any confidential information without the specific permission of the customer. The legal duty regarding confidentiality remains valid after the termination of the contract.The translation must be reliable and handled in compliance with the rule book.The quality of the translation is essential and depends on the translator’s competencies, but also to a great extent on the quality of the original writing. The customer may insure himself of the suitability of the translator’s skills for the translation required by means of a paid test.

Nevertheless, the translator may not be liable in the case of incomplete, badly written original text, or with defects which could adversely affect the quality of the subsequent translation work.

The text to be translated must be handled print or typed with high legibility. It is critical to attach the original figures or drawings and/or extra figures or drawings which enhance the understanding of the original text.

In the customer’s interest, in order to provide the translator with the best working conditions, it is suitable to supply all the documentation relevant to the subject at hand and to make easier both his/her access to documentary sources and provide useful contacts with the business technicians.

Whenever possible, the customer should provide the translator with the meanings of acronyms and abbreviations contained in the text and provide him/her with information on the specific terminology used by the company.

As for any work of quality, translating takes time. It belongs to the customer and is in his own interest to allow sufficient time to the translator.

Extract translated by Claire F. Dionet, (c) 2002.


Quality Standards - Good Practice - Performance Criteria


Besides the usual checking of spelling, grammar, style and absence of omissions in the course of the translation process, assessing the quality of a final technical and linguistic work of the mind is not an easy task. Nevertheless, it is possible to define quality standards for completion of the many stages of the assignment, which, when applied with the best attention and thoroughness, define good professional practice, a mark of quality.

The successful completion of a translation greatly depends on the expectations of the customer. Whatever the circumstances, the emergency of a deadline or the limits of a budget, it is out of question to sell out the quality. My aim is to deliver a translation of the best possible quality according to the situation mainly defined by the customer’s briefing. I may feel the need to discuss it further and sometimes give advice, saving you from any frustration that may otherwise be caused by mere lack of communication. Your final guidelines are then added to the quotation and order form.

The customer’s guidelines and priorities play a large part in defining the type of translation required and the level of quality to be achieved.



The actual translation performance itself is carried out in a number of stages, which implies that the translator takes the required time to achieve each of them and obtains the quality aimed for.

You asked for a professional translation service. The work ordered matches the services offered. Here is an outline of the TRANSLATION STAGES (1) that the translator will follow in order to provide a polished translation « ready for publication»:

1- Reception, verification, setting of the material to be translated. Planning.

2- Analysis of the material and choice of translation options.

3- Mobilization of required skills, knowledge, information, clarification of ambiguities (retrieval of information, technical research, product study, etc.).

4- Preparation of the raw materials (mobilization of the terminology, phraseology, structuring and patterns of expression).

5- Setting of the version to be translated and required environment.

6- Transfer (central stage of the translation process).

7- Quality control, proofreading and editing.

8- Corrections and localisation.

9- Validation of the translation.

10- Formatting and shaping (recording, printing, etc.)

11- Delivery.

(1) Adapted from stages presented in chapters 1 and 11 in « PROFESSION : TRADUCTEUR APE 748 F - Traducteur alias Ingénieur en communication multilingue », Daniel GOUADEC, La Maison du Dictionnaire, Paris 2002. ISBN: 2-85608-173-8


The choice of translation options and the operation time of the translation process depend, among other things, on the material to be translated and the use that will be made of it.

Thus, an expert examination of damages addressed to a court requires deeper knowledge and more time than the translation of a private commercial correspondence. Translating the correspondence of a lawyer requires more expertise and time than a friend’s letter. When you entrust a film script translation to have it subtitled later on, do you want it to be adapted to the number of letters limited by the subtitling process you will use, so that it is ready to type, or do you plan to entrust this stage to your team? Some customers want to take charge themselves of the latter stages of the process. Defining your requirements and aims helps your translator in responding to your needs.

Allotting the translator time proportional to the required expertise for the translation and the level of finish expected is a key factor of quality.

All translation must be reliable. This is why I adapt the operating of each of them to the specifications made by the customer.

* * *

The quality also depends on the matching of the translator’s knowledge and skills with the work ordered. I am committed to keeping myself aware of contemporary changes in translation fields which develop rapidly. This means, among other things, attending specialized conferences and workshops (university conferences on education, conferences on the fishing trade, etc.), meeting technicians, production managers, associations, spending time on research and vocational training sessions (translation, terminology). Such investments contribute to the quality of the work.

My customers are encouraged to give me any information related to the delivered translations. Feedback is always taken into consideration for the next assignments.

In my customers interests, I may refuse a translation that would not match my professional skills.

To permanently assess the adequacy of my translation work with your expectations and for maintaining the quality of my service, I regularly send (since July 2002) a brief satisfaction questionnaire to each of my direct customers.

Ask for a “custom designed” translation

The translation process adapts to your projects. Did you know that there are alternatives to cover-to-cover translation?

- Synoptic translation: presentation in French of the key words and a summary of the material or press article in English.
Synoptic translation is especially appreciated by archivists, researchers, librarians, and appraised by documentation and media centres.

- Documentary translation: research of information, details, documentation carried out in English and/or French according to your goals and instructions.

This is recommended to any individual, private or professional, needing to support a project, research, position paper, etc.

- Flash translation: For quick and simplified information, it stresses the main points of the material entrusted.

It is suitable for private individuals willing to know about the material content at the lowest possible price.
It is not suitable for a legal document or any material related to security or safety.

« Translation is mainly an activity with options, because there always exist several ways to translate well (…). »

D. Gouadec (Director of Translators, Terminologists and Editors Training Centre, Rennes 2 University / Centre de formation de Traducteurs, Terminologues et Rédacteurs, Université de Rennes II) (1)

(unofficial translation by C. Dionet)

Should you still have any uncertainties, please do not hesitate,

get in touch and ask for advice.

Does it make senses to talk about a 100% perfect translation?

Anyone who promises the “absolute perfection” of a work of the mind shall never be taken seriously. But there is no need to get stressed, for with some brief input on your part, your translator can adopt an optimal translation process and good practice for a fully satisfactory translation.

When customers say that they are fully satisfied with the translation delivered, that often means that they clearly expressed their expectations and gave the translator the means to respond to them.

Each translator has their own references, linguistic preferences and their own culture, so that the same text can lead to several distinctive translations of quality, while respecting the full meaning and accuracy of the original. In the same way, each reader and each customer have their own personal sensitivity; a translation seen as « 100% prefect » by one customer may fail in giving full satisfaction to another. This is why it is crucial that the customer defines the quality level required and then agrees with the translator about matching the required time and conditions, enabling the translator to choose the appropriate translating operating options.

« Specialists often refer to accurate yet unpolished work as for-information translation. It can generally be produced faster and more cheaply than for-publication work.

However, if you are trying to sell or persuade, or if image is important to you, it will probably not be enough.» (²)

Expressing your goal to the translator is important; so don’t leave her to guess. Tell her what you expect, and if you wish to deal with the final editing or the localisation or if you prefer entrusting her with these stages.

« Style, pronounceability, word choice, phrasing and sentence length – all will vary, depending on where your text will appear and what you want it to achieve. An experienced translator will probably ask you for this information; make sure you know yourself. » (²)

Each company, each organization develops its own style, spirit and jargon, which makes it crucial to include with your order the key documents and material about your activity (they can be returned to you once the translation is ready). This documentary information gives a precise idea of your team’s spirit and its communication style. Express your intentions about the expected translation. All this allows your translator to serve you better and to adapt the translation process mode to suit your goals.

I am all eyes and ears when it comes to your expectations and needs and I offer solutions adapted to demands and the delegated budgets of each of my customers.

To obtain the desired quality (and define the price-quality ratio convenient to you), it is crucial to clearly express your expectations and to entrust your intentions to your translator. Once I have studied the material to be translated, I can discuss it with you if needed. If you so wish, I can guide you and design the translating process most suitable to your goals.

Obviously, no method makes anybody sure-fire. If there was any dissatisfaction, I would run a full check to determine its precise source. I would draw the appropriate conclusions and do the necessary to make good.

I give the best of my know-how to each of my customers – companies, organizations, professional or private individuals – and operate the translation process adapted to his/her expectations.

(²) Extract from “Translation ‘getting it right’ - A guide to buying translation” Text by Chris DURBAN, Translator. Booklet available in English at the Institute of Translation & Interpreting or <www.iti.org.uk>.

Claire F. Dionet. April 2003

Concarneau, Marinarium 2010