Translations for Architecture and Design – The history of architecture and design, along with visual art history, is a study that spans many disciplines, times, and geographies.
Studies of art and design are written in many languages, requiring professionals in the field to have a working knowledge of several languages.
Commonly, graduate programs in art and design require the student to attain proficiency in one or two languages other than their native tongue.
Translations for architecture and design are important to both commercial and academic professionals. It may be impractical for the student of art or design to attain fluency in several secondary languages.
For that reason, the scholar must occasionally rely on translation services to render primary or secondary texts for their research.
The student of Islamic and Middle Eastern art may benefit from an intensive language study program for this reason.
Depending on the professional’s requirements, a translation service accurately translates presentations, monographs, and other literature for the client’s needs.
This article considers the role of the translator in art and architecture professions in both academic and commercial applications.
Translation in Design and Architecture
Erudite design historians often need to dive deeply into books and articles about an artist or their works of art. They may need to learn more about the artist’s muses or where they lived.
The scholar needs to know basic information, e.g. the artist’s birth and/or death dates. Perhaps the professional needs to perform a review of the literature about a little-known artist.
When the literature is written in another language, the services of an experienced translator may save the client both time and money.
Rather than rely on previously translated sources, the art design or architectural scholar searches for opportunities to reveal new details in the literature.
This effort may require skilled translation services in less common or regional dialects of centuries past, including African, Asian (Asia Minor), and Indian languages.
The translator may wear multiple hats. They may either perform direct translation of a book or document into the language of the scholar’s choice or initially consult on the best or most effective approach to translating documents, books, or monographs.
Even if the client is business-proficient in a language, they may need a translator’s services to grasp the original author’s idioms or intentions.
Visual arts and architectural histories are multidisciplinary fields. Today’s professionals may need to decipher literary history, archeology, biographies, and anthropology studies.
Art historians do more than examine, understand, or write about N artwork or artist. An architectural historian must consider much more as well.
Translators must take a nuanced approach in any case. A skilled translator considers the differences between an ancient text and a modern product brochure, considering:
The time period
If the translator is working on older source materials, i.e. those predating the 20th century, it’s important to decipher the differences between the language at the time versus the modern day.
It’s essential for the translator to derive the original author’s meaning as closely as possible while creating understandable text for today’s reader. The translator must avoid ambiguity, even if the author of the time was ambiguous!
Adjustment as needed
The scholar or business client should guide the translator whenever possible. Discussions about the project’s goals and objectives are important roadmaps for the translator.
Although the historian might not precisely know at the outset, it’s critical for the client and translator to regularly communicate about findings and requirements as the process unfolds.
Personal letters of the artist or statements from gallery directors and experts) that pertain to the artist or individual artworks may require the translator’s patience.
A thorough review of some documents might seem unimportant or unnecessary to the client’s goal. However, translating inventory lists or descriptions of a painting or building might be entirely “new” to scholarly research.
Obviously, the history of the visual arts and architecture involves much more than Picasso or LeCorbusier’s work. Current scholars may have a deep interest in so-called minor architects and artists.
It’s essential for both the client and translator to “stay on the same page” about the value of certain primary source documents. Translation of these subtle details may assist both the client and translator’s goals in ideally completing the project.
Design and Architecture: Translation of Secondary Sources
Scholarly journals throughout the years are often written in academic formal prose. Academic writing in the client’s own language may seem like another language.
It’s essential that the client and translator have an understanding of the specific jargon or terminology used in the field as well.
If the translator is working with an art historian or commercial art client, it may be helpful to review other art history journals in the language other materials are to be translated. In this way, the already skilled translator may become more familiar with the style and idioms of the language.
Both art and architecture historians often value precise and lucid language. However, experts in these fields may express nostalgia, too.
Source materials may have overtones of romance, even in scholarly journals. Obviously, the experienced translator seeks to capture the underlying modes and tones of the original text as fully as possible.
Depending on the client’s needs, the translator may be asked to rapidly translate documents in no specific order. The translator may be asked to quickly translate lengthy documents.
In some cases, the client may require the translator to create searchable archived texts. That’s one of the reasons that today’s experienced translators have well-developed technology skills.
In addition, the translator may be experienced in using a range of computer-based tools to benefit the client’s objectives and quality goals.
How the Translator Benefits Design, Art, and Architecture Clients
While many academic and commercial art and architecture clients have an excellent command of multiple languages, not all are trained as linguists and translators.
Because of the nature of their work, they might not be completely apprised of available technologies and translation tools.
Clients in these disciplines hire professional translators for their ability to solve complex problems. It’s only sensible that the best translation services offer the highest level of useful and efficient solutions.
To engage the best translator for your art and architecture translation project, consider both the translator’s skill and technological expertise.
Translations for architecture and design are critical to the success of the commercial or academic project. Translating documents for the visual arts or architecture professional requires the translator’s ability and willingness to decipher unique and multiple disciplines.
These skilled professionals must truly understand visual and tangible works. They must provide solutions of technical accuracy (in both language syntax and jargon) when assisting the art or architectural expert in creating a work of informational and aesthetic importance.