It’s a T(rap)M(ind you)! #2

Hi everyone, I have (at last) received the answers to my queries regarding the discrepancies in the TMs of my project, something I was talking about a couple of posts ago.

The PM clarified most of my doubts and then referred to the end client for the most challenging issues. However, since this is a product list, there was a limit of 30 characters. It was not always easy to stick to it:

– When the TM was not helpful at all and it was impossible to understand which was the main translation of a term, I went for the shorter one, as this helped my job of shortening names and cutting down spaces. As you might imagine, it was a bit surprising when the PM sometimes advised me to use a fairly longer translation.

– Sometimes even the source text was longer than 30 characters. In such cases, the client asked to keep the characters limitation (?!?), unless the code of the product itself was exceeding 30 characters. I did not ask what was to be done if the product code was ‘only’ 29 characters long…

Anyway, this project is almost over, but I am a bit puzzled. If you ask for a translation of a product list, I believe the main reason behind it will be to target more clients and therefore make more profit. However, if people landing on your page are unable to understand what you are selling because the picture is missing and the characters restrictions made the translation look like an Aztec spell… well, if I were you, I would think that maybe a little bit more flexibility would in the end turn out to be quite a profitable choice.

Any thoughts on this?


About Chiara Vecchi

A blogging translator working from English and German into Italian. You are more than welcome to visit my blog!
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2 Responses to It’s a T(rap)M(ind you)! #2

  1. Hi Chiara!
    Very interesting post, as usual. 🙂
    I have worked in similar conditions for product sheets and specifications that are to be posted on online shopping sites. I believe the best way to approach these is by rendering a creative translation, leaving bits of information out.
    However, in most cases they don’t even tell you why it should be so, and you end up patching up language chunks…
    Well, that is my experience anyway,
    Did they give you freedom to choose the type of translation?

    • Thanks Pedro!
      You are right. Unfortunately, the client was not very happy with any translations longer than 30 characters, even if I warned them that this would make it very hard for a prospective client to understand what the product was, especially if there was no picture there.
      So, nope, no freedom at all.
      The good news is that now I have another chunk of their product list and this time… no limitations at all! I will do my best and hopefully someone will buy those items!

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