French/Spanish to English translation

02 July 2012

Finding the Perfect Translator

There are four basic qualities that define a good professional translator. These are – strong knowledge and experience over the language, certification in translation services, ability to translate without tampering with the meaning in the document and finally easy availability and timely delivery of the translation document. 

A professional translator needs to know the language in detail and should have a sound vocabulary in both languages in order to be able to accurately translate the document using the right words, as sometimes a sentence conveys a meaning that is different from what the words or phrases express. Usually if the translator has lived in the country where the language is spoken or has received tertiary education you will find they usually have a good set of skills. Don’t be shy to ask where they have learnt the language and what their level of expertise is. You can also find out more about the translators experience on the translation services website. 

Professional certification is a must have for any professional translator.  Professional translators in Australia must be registered with The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) which is the national standards and accreditation body for translators and interpreters in Australia. It is the only agency to issue accreditations for practitioners who wish to work in this profession in Australia. 

It is also good to look for translators that will translate the source text by comprehending the overall meaning and not individual sentences or words and will also translate all relevant stamps, logos and will keep the formatting of your document as close to the original as possible. 

Last but not least timely delivery, easy availability, and whether translation is a full time or part time job for the translator, are some of the other things that are worth checking before hiring a professional translator.  Look for a professional translator that has a good website and the means of uploading documents online or by email and be sure they can service for translation services Australia wide.   

23 August 2012

French to English Translation Services for Businesses

Over time, as globalisation becomes more comprehensive, language will become a more salient issue in trade and commercial cooperation. French and English particularly exemplify this as they are perceived by many to be the international languages of business.

There are some 350 million native English speakers around the world, and another 350 million non-native speakers. Following close behind, estimates suggest that there will be near 500 million French speakers by the year 2025. 

French and Belgian colonisation is responsible for spreading the French language to both developed and underdeveloped nations. Canada and Switzerland are two nations for which French is an official language; similarly, Morocco and Algeria, developing nations on the rise that will see French as their staple language of trade. Having an understanding of English and French can be an exceptional advantage in trade and expanding businesses into emerging markets. If the barrier of language can be surmounted then there are many new, high-yield markets that are waiting to be explored by developed English-speaking nations.

It is tempting to skip the step of equipping yourself with a professional translation service, forgoing the expense and opting for one of the many online services, such as Google Translate, that will give you an approximate of what is being said. Often these can be very good for translating small messages or understanding snippets on the internet. However, these services are flawed, and this is in large part due to what are called idioms.

An idiom is the expression of meaning through a collective of words, in which the meaning cannot be inferred by simply pulling apart the words in the phrase. An apt example might be “piece of cake”, which is well understood by any English speaker as a simple task or something that requires little effort to do. One could, of course, directly translate to the French “morceau de gateau”, however the meaning would not be translated and the reader would be left bewildered and thinking of desserts.

The trouble with English is that it’s an especially idiosyncratic language. This is because it is an amalgamation of scores of other languages from which it steals thousands of terms and rules. Why is it that English espouses ‘taking a seat’ with the act of sitting rather than theft? Or that a person ‘goes home’ but ‘lives in a house’? An English-speaker would not say ‘lives in a home’ unless they were implying an aged-care facility. It is these sorts of anomalies that make an official language translation service invaluable, because texts cannot be simply understood by exchanging a word in one language for its equivalent in another. 

When contracts are being drafted and small details can make the difference of millions of dollars, it is vital to ensure that the English version matches the French version in every understanding. A simple mistake like confusing ‘paid for’ and ‘paid to’ can be horrendously costly, far out-weighing the expense saved in using a non-professional service.

03 September 2012

The Term ‘to Make’ When Translating between French and English

 ‘Make’ in English translates directly to ‘faire’, which should be an easy enough and useful term.

However, this verb is more complicated than it seems. In what context are you using ‘make’?
In English ‘make’ can imply the dressing of a bed (as in, make one’s bed), the building of something (to make a snowman), the forcing of someone (making one do), or to be something or adopt a certain attitude (to make nice).

There are many more variations on this, but it becomes apparent that a direct translation will not suffice.

It becomes necessary to diversify the vocabulary by inferring the metaphorical meaning, applying a more apt verb, and from there translating from English to French. For example, ‘to make’ a building, in the context of creating something, is to ‘construct’ a building, which directly translates to ‘construire’.

Additionally, ‘to make’ someone do, is to ‘persuade’ or ‘force’ someone to do something, which translates to ‘obliger’ or ‘forcer’.

It is these slight variances that make French to English translation so much more difficult that a direct input-output of text from Google Translate. To ensure that these translations are not lost in an important document, only National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) practitioners should be used when translating documents from English to French or French to English.

The examples so far have only been one-word terms in exchange for one-word terms, but again, the language becomes more complicated. Often there are exchanges of prepositions or other words. For example, if one were to directly translate ‘meet up’, it may come out as ‘rendezvous en haut’, which when translated back to English means to ‘meet up, up’, which is clearly a mistake. 

Many more nuances will be explored in the following weeks à la Traduction Francais Anglais/English to French translation.


09 October 2012

Signs, Subs & Students

There are many overlooked industries and professions that require French to English and Spanish to English translation. Business documents and legal documents leap to mind for obvious reasons, but filmic subtitles, medical records, or even street signs are overlooked - all and many are in dire need of NAATI certified translators.

Sign Writers
Opening to Montreal, Quebec, a state building development has highlighted just such a need. Recently, beach visitors were surprised to find newly erected signs at Hampton Beach that were translated from English to French all too literally. One sign, intended to warn French speakers about rip currents, was supposed to read “if you’re in trouble, wave for assistance”, but read more cryptically as “if you need help, ocean wave.”

The incident has been embarrassing for the local government as a substantive portion of the area’s economy is made up from French-Canadian visitors. The signs have since been replaced.

Incidents like these are relatively common in French to English translation and can be amusing. Filmic subtitles, too, can share this levity, and exemplify the difference between amateur translators and, say, professional NAATI translators.

Film subtitles are experiencing something of a renaissance; powered by the internet and amateur enthusiasts. Many movies that were once exclusive to one language—usually due to their niche or low-distribution—are now accessible to a wide audience of multiple languages. There are many French arthouse films that require traduction Francais Anglais.

Many film producers only consider subtitles as an afterthought.

A keen subtitlist, Alexander Whitelaw said “English is the key language” for selling films internationally. Whitelaw goes on to describe that the verbal language, and especially that of artistic cinema, is so wrapped in metaphor and idiom that it is a bit like trying to solve a crossword puzzle.

Above all, the internet has been the primary driver of change—and many changes in the language itself.

Language Conservatives
The internet’s influence has not gone unnoticed by the Académie française, an organisation that has been a persistent and adamant source of French language conservativism. The organisation has defied Anglicisms for generations.
Despite this, the frequency and volume of English words being found in printed publication is steadily increasing. The academy draws up French equivalents for cultural phenomenon, but it cannot possibly keep in step with the pace of the culture.

Examples of these cultural phenomena include podcast being met with podçasté and tweating with tweaté. Neologisms like these need to be understood and familiar to professional translation service providers.

Many of these words border on parody in what has been coined ‘Franglais’ words, like ‘le weekend’ and ‘le parking’.

In 2008, France’s education minister stated that success lies for newer generations in knowing better English, and not simply relying on French to get the job done. In the future, all French students will be expected to know how to make French to English translations and English to French translations.

02 November 2012

Language Learning in Australia

If you’ve spent any time in Australia, you will know that it is not a very multi-lingual country. Although there are many, many varying cultures and ethnicities sharing this melting-pot continent, the emphasis on children and adults learning a second language is poor at best.

In Australia, only around 12 per cent of Year 12 students are studying a foreign language—and very few will go on to become certified translators.

New policy has been issued by the incumbent government to affect a change in this dismal finding, including the mandatory teaching of at least one language in every school.

In the 1960s the level of language study in Year 12s was near 40 per cent, a level that Tony Abbott of the opposition is attempting to espouse as part of his education campaign. If the leaders and the opposition both agree that Australia needs to do more about its language learning, then you know it’s serious.

The need to learn a second language is more than merely practical. It changes the way people think about different cultures and opens them up to the beauty and mechanics behind how language works. It is an enriching experience.

The increasing globalisation and communication with foreign countries will see a greater need for NAATI certified translators. There are great prospects and job opportunities, as well as enriching experiences to be had in, say, becoming a French-to-English Translator, or a Spanish to English Translator.

The reverse question must be asked however, what if we could just do away with the other languages, obviating the need for certified translators, by allowing English to dominate the rest of the world? Could we simply live in a world of monolingualism?
English is the most salient language of the West and in many fields of commerce, science and law—and it is forcing aside many other languages.

In Ottawa, the new census has shown that in the last four years the number of people claiming French as their mother tongue has dropped by 0.8%, which is a large drop for a very small period of time. This is 14.8% over the course of an average lifespan—at least the average lifespan of someone living in Ottawa.

However, not in the lifetime of anyone who is reading this now, will we see this phenomenon of global monolingualism. There are simply too many nuances and variations on a language to keep it static. This is in addition to the impossible task of persuading others to give up their native languages, which are so often linked to their culture and perception of the world.

These barriers, ostensibly entirely impossible to overcome, mean that, for now at least, the Australian people need to hit the books and their local café de baguettes and start learning new languages. The need for French to English Translators and Spanish to English Translators, unless something drastic happens, will exist for many more generations to come.

11 January 2013

Mistranslating at the EU

In the EU, there are currently 23 official languages spoken by the member states. Each of these languages must be translated to 22 others, altogether making 506 possible permutations of French to English Translation, English to French Translation or Hungarian to Maltese.

To cater for this multi-multi-lingual need, more than 700 employees are required to translate official documents, agendas, draft reports, minutes, and questions. And then there’s interpreting, which is another matter altogether, requiring some 1,000 interpreters for a plenary session.

When it comes to actually translating for a politician, surprisingly, it is not as difficult as one might expect. Because a political speech is quite formal, and when there are fewer colloquialisms to decipher, it can be very easy. The only hurdle is the highly technical language and subtle ambiguity that must be maintained.

Sometimes with a speech, it is best to open with a joke. However, in the EU, you may find a few crickets chirping if you use a pun or language-local proverb/reference.  Trada, Brisbane translation services have come up with a not-so-great joke to illustrate:

Two men are aboard a navy ship. One opens a bag of grain and both of them peer in. Inside they see a couple of weevils.

'You see those weevils?'

'I do.'

'Which would you choose?'

'Which would I choose?’


‘Oh I don’t know; they look just the same.’

'But suppose you had to choose?'

'Well, then I suppose I would choose the right-hand weevil; it’s bigger and is clearly the superior creature.’

'Well, sir, you are wrong. Don’t you know that in the Navy you must always choose the lesser of two weevils?’

A joke such as this works in English, but the pun is lost when it is translated to another language, because the word for weevil could be so different from ‘two evils’ in German or French or any other language.

Proverbs and literary and religious allusions can also be nightmarish. There are a number of small but real mistakes that happen in this position. One mistake that was sure to offend some of the more sensitive politicians (which is all of them), a translator pronounced the ‘deprived communities’ of Wales as the ‘depraved communities’.

24 January 2013

Traduction des abréviations et des acronymes

Il faut remarquer tout d’abord que, selon les dictionnaires ou les articles scolaires, ces mots anglais - abréviation et acronyme - se définissent différemment – un fait qui entraine une certaine incompréhension et un chaos en nomenclature.  En fait, certains ne reconnaissent même pas l’opposition de ces deux notions.  En raison de telle divergence, il est nécessaire de spécifier la définition utilisée dans ce cas.

Abréviation –la version abrégée d’un mot ou d’une phrase, l’orthographe de laquelle varie selon les règles de la langue particulière.

Acronyme – un mot créé par une suite de lettres qui sont les initiales d’un groupe de mots.

Ce qui mérite notre attention, c’est que bien que ces définitions se trouvent souvent en littérature, en même temps, un acronyme est soi-même souvent défini par le mot ‘abréviation’.   Chose intéressante,  il semble que la notion d’une abréviation fasse allusion à deux concepts parallèles.  Dans les grandes lignes, le terme s’emploie synonymement avec  ‘version abrégée’ et faire référence essentiellement à tout dont la forme est plus courte qu’autre chose – qu’il soit une contraction, initiale, acronyme, césure, abréviation syllabique ou abréviation latine.  En ce qui concerne la linguistique (et cet article), pourtant, l’opinion prédominante est de traiter les deux notions comme deux groupes différents.

Versions abrégées – le problème le plus répandu dans la traduction

Les acronymes et les abréviations (surtout ceux qui sont issu du latin) sont parmi des éléments les plus couramment utilisés de la communication médicale écrit et orale.   Bon nombre de termes, tels que les noms des entités de maladie, les noms des composés chimiques ou des thérapies apparaissent à peine dans leur forme entière, étant donné que ça entraverait la communication efficace.  La popularité répandue des abréviations est sans doute en raison de la tradition historique du langage médical, mais aussi de l’économie spatiale et temporelle qu’elles fournissent, qui est immensément nécessaire dans les situations médicales d’urgence.  De plus, l’action d’abréger permet aux professionnels de santé de coder le vrai sens de leurs commentaires, rendant le contenu inaccessible aux patients, parfois nécessaire pour des raisons éthiques.

La réticence à employer des termes entiers engendre une situation  où la plupart des textes médicaux sont remplis des versions abrégées, souvent sans explication du tout.  Dans un bon nombre de situations, elles embrouillent le vrai sens, étant  la source d’obscurité ou d’ambiguïté – car même dans une seule spécialité, chaque acronyme peut avoir plusieurs termes attachés (par ex.  CF a plus de 20 significations médicales, MA plus de 25).  Dans des cas extrêmes, des versions abrégées peuvent être illisibles (une ordonnance écrite à la main), ou spécifiques à l’auteur, n’étant fabriquées que pour un seul texte.  Pour ne rien arranger, au fur et à mesure que les spécialités se développent, le nombre des versions abrégées inventées chaque année est tellement  qu’une mise à jour complète d’un dictionnaire n’a pas de chance de réussir.  Le résultat, c’est que les traducteurs sont souvent sans source de référence du tout.

Concernant le traitement des abréviations dans la traduction, des versions abrégées n’ont aucune place dans les titres, parce qu’il n’y a pas de contexte disponible pour fournir de la clarté absolue.   Dans une traduction, le modus operandi est de définir un acronyme la première fois qu’il est utilisé, c’est-à-dire d’introduire le terme dans sa forme complète avec son acronyme en parenthèses, et puis d’employer la forme abrégée à partir de là.

05 February 2013

Andy Martin on Translation

When Andy Martin, certified translator, attempted to produce a new French to English translation of Jules Verne’s 19th-century nautical classic, he ran into issues that highlight how even the best translators can have trouble with rich prose and vocabulary.

Martin writes in an opinion piece in the New York Times that there is a vast taxonomy of fish in the novel. He states that around page three, he starts to “drown in fish”. The typical vocabulary of most when it comes to fish (ichthyology) is limited, but translating from French to English or English to French translation is another matter altogether.

Martin is a veteran of the translation art and industry. He published in 1990 The Mask of the Prophet: The Extraordinary Fiction of Jules Verne and takes a keen interest in teaching translation, which he conducts at Cambridge University, as well as writing somewhat regular articles for renowned publications.

Martin wrote an article for a British newspaper entitled “Translation Is Impossible.” In it, he describes that there are many things that simply will not translate from one language to another. He invokes the infamous line of Groucho Marx “You’re only as old as the woman you feel,” as one of these untranslatable instances.

In English to French translation, the verb “feel” needs to function both transitively and intransitively—that is, the work needs to describe both the action to “touch” and the experiencing of emotion. In French, about the closest one can get to achieving this is “A man is only as old as the woman he can feel inside of him trying to express herself.”

This article, written by Martin, ironically enough has since made the English to French translation and was published in a well-known French magazine.

Andy Martin summarises the piece with this: “The lesson I learned from Adair, a really serious translator, is this: You can’t get it right.  So the only thing you can do is make it better.”

26 March 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

What is translation?

Translation is the process of changing text from one language into another, while retaining the original meaning and implication of the source text’s author.
The process is very involved and requires much more than just the direct match up of French vocabulary to the equivalent English words or vice versa.

Why should I have my document translated by a Professional Translator?

Professional French to English or Spanish to English translation differs greatly from machine translation (i.e. Google Translate, Babylon, etc.). A professional translator ensures that the translation reads naturally, implies all that it should without ambiguity and does not miss subtleties in the language.

How to choose a translator?

You should be discerning in your choice of translation services Brisbane. Your French to English or Spanish to English translator should meet the following criteria:

  • Check the professional translator Brisbane’s qualifications and, if you feel it is necessary, request information about their experience. French to English translators should only accept assignments for texts they are competent to fulfill.
    As a client, you should expect nothing less.

  • Is your Brisbane professional translator NAATI accredited?
    This is the most important prerequisite for official documentation translation. All official documentation must be performed by NAATI translators or fall under the rubric of NAATI certified translation.

    This includes documents such as: passports, birth/marriage/death certificates, reports, etc.
    For a more comprehensive list, please visit

  • The competitiveness of their rates.
    Are the rates comparable with other Brisbane professional translators and will the cost fit within your budget?

How long does it take to translate a document?

This depends heavily on the subject matter, field and complexity of the translation. Generally, with a professional translation service such as Trada, you can expect personal documents to take between 2-3 business days. Larger jobs will vary, but if urgent, can be sped up to meet immediate deadlines.

Is there such thing as an 'Original' translation?

Some organisations and Government departments tell clients that they will need the 'original' translation. What this used to mean was the handwritten version of the translation and not a photocopy. These days, however, translations are usually done by computer and thus, there is no such thing as the 'original' translation. At best, we print it out once done and then apply the NAATI stamp and certification. Although, most of the time, even the NAATI stamp and our signature, date and certification are applied digitally prior, as most clients prefer the finished translation to be sent via email. So, as you can see, there is no need, in this digital era, to supply hand-stamped version of the translation. Unfortunately, not all Government departments on the same page as this. So, in that case, we are happy provide a wet-stamped verion and post it if necessary.

09 April 2013

What Are Trada's Services?

Trada provides French to English translation and Spanish to English translation services.

Trada is an Australia-wide provider of NAATI certified translation. It caters to the needs of individuals, organisations and businesses—whether it’s simple documents or complex long-form passages of text.

These include the following types of documents:
-    Personal documents of an official nature

  • Licences (vehicle, work-related, visas, etc.)
  • Passports
  • Birth, marriage and death certificates
  • Police checks
  • Letters of reference
  • University degree and diploma certificates

NAATI translators can provide official translations of:
-    Health/medical/sports physiology documents
-    Scientific documents
-    Health and fitness documents
-    Gastronomical documents
-    Linguistic documents
-    Current affairs documents
-    Transcript documents

Trada is also a provider of proofreading and editing services for certified translation documents. This means that you can be assured that your documents have not only be translated correctly, but that all grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.

Trada’s rates are exceptionally well priced.

The official documents such as certificates of birth, death, marriage or divorce are $60 per page, plus GST. These rates are the same for university degrees and diplomas, driver’s licences and I.D. cards, passports and letters of reference.
These documents can be processed in as little as 48 hours, or even fewer!

If you are interested in French to English translation, the best way is to send a message and get an obligation-free quote. You can simply email Trada with the document attached.
We will send back a complete quote for the certified translation.
Trada also caters to special organisations, such as not-for-profits, which may be entitled to special rates.

There are a number of ways to pay for your translation services Brisbane, including:
-    Brank Transfer
-    Cash
-    Cheque
-    Australia Post money order

Please note that rates take into account your individual needs, and as such, the following are indicators only.

23 April 2013

Meet Terry, One of Our French to English and Spanish to English NAATI Certified Translators

Terry has always had a passion for languages, particularly French, Spanish and English—very fitting. The fire for languages began at an early age, and from high school he was studying French, following this with several years of correspondence study. His continuing curiosity and interest motivated him to move to France, where he lived for over a year. Time was spent studying, working, absorbing the language—and the wine. By living in the country that is native to the language that he was attempting to learn, Terry
was able to pick up nuances that simple textbook-learning and courses could not provide. Today, Terry has a thorough understanding of conversational and formal French.

Terry is the Director of Trada. He holds a Graduate Diploma of Translation from the University of Western Sydney and a Bachelor’s degree in French Language and Literature from the University of Queensland.

Terry can tell you first-hand that translation is not easy. It is a lot more than simply changing text word for word into another language. In most cases, a literal translation will make no sense—it’s about the
meaning, not the vocabulary. Terry advises emerging translators to familiarise themselves with the topic and the text at hand; read it first before picking up the pen.

Terry is one of Trada’s French to English and Spanish to English NAATI certified translators. NAATI stands for the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. This is an internationally recognised authority, and in Australia, it is the only certification that proves that the holder is a genuine interpreter or translator.

The prospect of doing business in Australia is increasingly attractive to foreign investors. With globalization gradually accreting its way across all sides of the globe and the constant need for translation services by commerce, Brisbane French to English and Spanish to English translators are more in-demand than ever.

Trada, a leader in French to English and Spanish to English translation in Brisbane, is committed to bringing you quality and accuracy in its work. You can speak to Terry today by calling Trada on 0430 355 305 or email him on You’ll be saying Comme ç’est bon! or ¡Qué bien!

Author Bio

The author of this document is an expert in writing fresh and unique articles, with over five years’ experience writing for the following industry subject matter: French to English and Spanish to English NAATI Certified Translators, French to English and Spanish to English Translation Brisbane, Brisbane French to English and Spanish to English Translators, and other related topics.


What is translation?

Translation is the process of changing the text from one language to another whilst conveying the same meaning as demonstrated in the source text...


How long does it take to translate a document?

Although dependent on the field and complexity of the translation, generally speaking, personal documents can be translated within 2-3 business days. Larger jobs will vary...


Why should I have my documents translated professionally?

Professional translation differs greatly from machine translation (i.e. Google Translate, Babylon, etc). A professional translator ensures that the translation reads naturally and not like a translation. Accredited through NAATI...


How to choose a translator?

a. Check their qualifications - and/or request information about their experience. Translators should only accept assignments for which they are competent and as a client, you should expect...