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Translation Services

I specialise in French to English translation and offer both business and literary translation services.


Translations can either prioritise linguistic equivalence or cultural equivalence, or aim for a mix of both. Linguistic Equivalence prioritises loyalty to the language a text is being translated from (called the ‘source language’ in translation lingo) and tries to remain as close to the source text as possible. Cultural Equivalence prioritises emotional and cultural resonance in the language a text is being translated into (generally referred to as the ‘target language’).


A good little example to illustrate the difference between linguistic and cultural equivalence is how tricky it can be to translate idioms.


For instance, if I have a tickly throat, when I’m speaking in French I will say: « J’ai un chat dans la gorge ». A linguistically equivalent translation is ‘I have a cat in my throat,’. Of course, if I said that in English, people would give me strange looks. The culturally equivalent translation would be to say ‘I have a frog in my throat,’.



The style of translation you opt for will have a significant impact on your reader’s engagement with your text. Below, I’ve translated the same short text into two separate translations: a linguistically equivalent one, and a culturally equivalent one, so you can experience the differences first-hand.



Linguistic Equivalence:


In a general manner, Patrimoine is an ensemble, or artefact, which has been wholly or partly inherited from the past, and which can be constituted of both material and/or immaterial objects, or both private property and communal land, and which we might wish to preserve, sell, exchange, value, or maintain for future generations.


Unesco proposes the following definition:

« Patrimoine is our heritage of the past which we profit from and enjoy today and which we will transmit to generations to come. Our cultural and historical patrimoines are two « irreplacable sources of life and inspiration. » (UNESCO, 2008). It notably includes « œuvres which have an exciptional universal value from the point of view of history, art, or science » (monuments or artefacts) or from «aesthetic, ethnologic, or anthrpologic points of view ».


This definition distinguishes two types of value :

  1. A value of historical heritage which we profit from and enjoy (use vaule), the «irreplacable sources of life and inspiration. »

  2. Values to transmit to « future generations », a notion which evokes the discourse of maintnability.

There are therefore multiple types of patrimoines:

  1. Cultural

  2. Legal

  3. Economy

  4. Biology, Medicine

  5. Nature

  6. Other


Pros: The translation feels authentic and gives the reader the sense of the original text’s source culture and language. Ideal for the translations of short stories, poems, and interviews/monologues where maintaining the ‘feel’ of the original language/culture or the identity of the speaker is important.


Cons: Translations can feel clunky and archaic.



Cultural Equivalence:


Pros: Translation does not sound like a translation, but rather seems entirely naturalistic. Ideal for copywriting, content writing, longer novels, journalistic, and academic writing.

Cons: Can lose some of the uniqueness of the original text, usually departs from the original text more fully.


Broadly speaking, patrimony refers to that which is deemed to be of significant cultural or historical value. Also referred to as heritage, patrimony can designate both material or immaterial artefacts, and both private or public land. UNESCO defines patrimony as ‘artefacts we have inherited from the past and will transmit to future generations. Cultural and natural heritage are two irreplaceable sources of life, and provide us with countless sources of inspiration,’ (UNESCO, 2008). UNESCO’s definition highlights ‘works which have exceptional historical, artistic, scientific, and/or universal value,’ from either ‘aesthetic, ethnologic or anthropologic perspectives,’.


UNESCO’s definition identifies two different kinds of value:

  • historical value: irreplaceable sources of heritage which we currently use or benefit from today.

  • future value: irreplaceable sources of heritage which we will transmit to, or maintain for, future generations.


Patrimony can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Cultural heritage

  • Economic heritage

  • Evolutionary, Biological and Medical heritage

  • Natural and Geographic heritage

  • Miscellaneous

Click here for the source text. Used with permission under CC BY-SA 3.0  license.

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