Know Your Audience

As soon as I found out that my last interpreting gig was English-French and that it was for Tupperware, I immediately went to Tupperware.fr to build my glossary. I had of course assumed that my audience would be French from France.

It wasn’t until I spoke with my former interpreting teacher (who, by chance, knew about this conference as he had been booked for the same job a few years ago) that I realized that my audience would actually be French Canadian! The client had never mentionned this…but then again, I had never asked! Boy was I glad that I called my teacher.

I was actually quite excited about this news, even though I would have to change many items from my glossary, because Tupperware Canada’s website is bilingual. All I needed to do was click on a product and then click “French” to find it’s equivalent.

By doing this I discovered that certain specific products had different names in Canada and in France.  For instance the the “Healthy salad on the go set” is called  “Ensemble salade-santé à emporter” in Canada, but on Tupperware France this item is called “Salade on the go.” In this case, the Canadians would have probably understood the French name of the item, but may have been annoyed by the terminology. In advertising school they teach to “know your audience” and know who you are marketing to. I now think that these precepts apply to us translators and interpreters just as much!

To avoid any confusion, and to truly speak the same language as your audience:

 Know Your Audience As You Are Preparing For The Job!

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