George Trail, the owner of George Trail Translation Services, recalls a career highlight moment.


United Kingdom, 6 June 2022— I took a moment away from registering with new translation agencies to write this short business marketing article.

You know, in these turbulent times, it’s become harder for entrepreneurs to get new customers, and to be honest, I’m no exception.

Sure, I have a website with extensive copy on it (including an FAQ page) and business social media accounts, but I get the impression that prospective clients will quickly lose interest if I don’t give them something to remember about me with a more human touch, aside from all the dry and boring information they would want to find out about with anyone in my position when they (claim to) want something translated (rates, preferred method of contact etc.) – in practice, the content of such “dry and boring” information at first glance may well just strike them as over-simplified or pose a (possibly imaginary) extra hurdle of confusion in the way of their own progress with what they want done, or an extra thing that needs consideration, whether they realise it or not.

In my case, as I work from home I find it easy to be flexible, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to contend with different standards, different expectations, different working habits and progresses in some determined and responsible way if I am to ensure the trust and respect of others. Of course, this rings true in the translation work that I actually do…—-

In any case, I did write a post on LinkedIn about how I responded to the coronavirus in my professional life back in March, for the whole world to read – a convincing affirmation of engagement way outside the confines of my office can only be a good thing as far as my career as a professional translator is concerned, right?

At the end of the day, it’s all about initiative, whether or not this involves making new use of information – and there’s no shortage of that online! For now, though, for all out there just “curious to hear” a coherent and confident account of the “best” (in the vaguest sense of the word, I’m sure) moment(s) in my career, if for no more than some sort of solidified idea of who I truly am in my professional career, what follows is a story in my career that will always resonate with me in a positive, nay refreshing and inspiring way.

I recently did a French to English project in which I saw this long sentence in the original: “En cas de dépassement de ce délai, ou de redressement pour omission dans la déclaration, ou de non paiement en tout ou partie des droits exigibles, court un intérêt de retard mensuel fixé par l’administration et calculé sur le montant des droits.”

What follows are details of how I went about translating it. This sentence isn’t actually grammatically complete in my eyes; but anyway, it started with me designating certain parts of the sentence to help me make informed decisions, beginning with everything before the third comma, which is followed by “court”.

So, after I read “en cas de” I expected to see one or more nouns before I came to whatever point indicating the end of a subordinate clause, moving onto whatever main clause. “ou de redressement pour omission dans la declaration” and “ou de non paiement en tout ou partie des droits exigibles” became treated as separable adverbial clauses “added in” along with “cas de dépassement de ce délai” while containing no important structural element of the sentence.

And then, I concluded, originally, that everything before “court” was to be treated as a single nominative noun while I took “court” to mean “short”, or, in this case, “less” (in the sense of “minus the value of…”) whatever followed – at the time, I just thought, “I have never seen ‘court’ used like that before.”

But no, when I read on I understood easily enough that everything after “intérêt de retard” (i.e. “mensuel” “fixé par l’administration” [and] “calculé sur le montant des droits”) is multiple sentence elements each explaining details about a delay interest (for that is what “intérêt de retard” means; as applied with a contract, for that is what this material was, after all).

I eventually realised that “court” represented the verb “courir” used as a transitive verb. And so, having let go of my own preconception that “court” meant “less”, my final translation of this sentence was this: “In the event that this deadline is exceeded, or of any remedy for omissions in the declaration, or absence of payment for all or part of the fees payable there shall apply a monthly delay interest amount which is fixed by the authorities and calculated based on the owed amounts.” I had never seen “court” as “courir” used as a transitive verb in this way before either!

But that is the best moment in my career for a long time. It involved my own independent realisation of a concept I wasn’t familiar with until then – which required me dropping a realisation of another concept alien to me.

Contact Information:

George Trail
George Trail Translation Services
10 Hillary Dr Crowthorne Berkshire South East RG45 6QE