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Love of language is the conditio sine qua non
Thread poster: Dietrich Herrmann, MD, PhD, MBA
Dietrich Herrmann, MD, PhD, MBA  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:55
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Feb 12, 2002

Folks, don\'t get me totally wrong. I am not knocking degrees in translating/interpreting, but I do knock the emphasis put on them. A client with a technical translation needs the technical expertise first and the language part second. What good is a beautifully written text in pharmacology plumb full of technical blunders? The thrust of my argument is that for technical/scientific translations it is more important to truely understand what the text means (which maybe different from what it says since the author could be one of those semi-illiterate engineers/doctors ); if you lack this fundamental understanding how can you paraphrase, break up and rearrange long sentences, choose different terms, in other words let the language play out? Why do you think that practically all somewhat advanced professional texts, be they in science, engineering, law, finance etc., are translated by someone with more than a passing knowledge in this particular field? I know, I don\'t have to cut off my own leg in order to be able to amputate BUT I MUST HAVE BEEN THERE LOTS OF TIMES BEFORE I CAN DO IT MYSELF.

My advice to a newcomer has always been to think about which area of specialization to go into - and then to go out and get your hands dirty. Of course, without any question the foundation is a deep love of languages, of playing with words. It is the same as in any profession, you will not become good at it unless your heart is in it.

The criticism about doctors and engineers who cannot write properly I wholeheartedly agree with, after all I see the discharge reports my residents write every day, and it\'s enough to give me nightmares about the quality of the Abitur and German universities. But if you follow the postings on how to get started, most eventually successful brethren/sisters (?) of this honorable (2 cents per word offers to the contrary) profession actually did work in those fields in which they are experts.

I do hope that this is not coming across as a diatribe or sermon; I simply want to straighten out the somewhat skewed (at least in my mind) perspective posted in some of the forums (BTW, nobody has told me yet if in the President\'s English it is forums or fora! Please step down to illuminate a simple minded techie doc )

As they say when they pass that most infamous of sentences \"...or forever hold your peace\" - now I\'ll do just that.

From the Mardigras mad Motherland

Dieter


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 14:55
German to English
+ ...
You're right, Dietrich - to some degree Feb 12, 2002

All the technical know-how won\'t help you if the language is off. Unidiomatic or incorrect use of the target language can and will lead to misunderstandings (and the poor engineer might connect the wrong wires and ....BOOOOOOOOM!).



And this is true of all subject areas (technical, scientific, legal, medical, etc.)



When you look at technical expertise and language, neither one comes first or second: they are equally important. So, I must strongly disagree with this simplistic statement of yours.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-12 21:02 ]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:55
German to English
Simplistic? Feb 13, 2002

Far from it. Thanks for raising an interesting discussion topic, Dietrich. What really makes an ideal translator? The fact is that there are probably very few people in this profession with the ideal qualifications. Someone who has had all the academic training available to translators but little or no hands-on experience working the fields he or she is translating is at a disadvantage. And this goes for professions other than technical/scientific. A person who has worked in the financial markets for years or in the automotive industry, say, and also has excellent language skills will be able to compete with the degreed translator in his or her field of expertise. And of course, it goes without saying that developing those language skills is also a must.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-13 02:02 ]


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 14:55
German to English
+ ...
Exactly, Kim! Feb 13, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-02-13 01:58, kmetzger wrote:

And of course, it goes without saying that developing those language skills is also a must.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-13 02:02 ]





Well put! Yes, technical expertise and linguistic skills go hand in hand; neither one is superior or inferior to the other. Even a technical document (like a manual) needs to be well-written (why, Dietrich, do you think there are specialized degree programs in technical writing?)

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-13 02:12 ]

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Lesley Clayton
France
Local time: 20:55
French to English
+ ...
Forums/fora Feb 13, 2002

Dietrich,



My New Oxford Dictionary of English says:



Forum: noun (pl. forums) 1. a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged:

2. chiefly N. Amer. a court or tribunal.

3. (pl. fora) (in an ancient Roman city) a public square or marketplace used for judicial and other business.

ORIGIN late Middle English (in sense 3): from Latin, literally \'what is out of doors\', originally denoting an enclosure surrounding a house; related to fores \'(outside) door\'. Sense 1 dates from the mid 18th cent.



So there you have it.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2004)
English to Italian
forums/fora, stadiums/stadia Feb 13, 2002

My Collins English Dictionary says that both alternatives are used. Fora or stadia should be in theory the correct form, since it\'s the plural of Latin words forum and stadium (via Latin from Greek \"stadion\", as far as the latter is concerned)...

Forums and stadiums are now used because of the improper deployment perpetrated by technical translators without good knowledge of the target language...



Giovanni


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Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:55
German to Italian
+ ...
Well done Giovanni!!! Feb 13, 2002

I agree with you.



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Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:55
German to Italian
+ ...
Well done Giovanni! Feb 13, 2002

Really OK!
[addsig]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:55
German to English
Side-tracked? Feb 13, 2002

I think the question of whether the plural of forum should be fora or forums is an interesting one, but I also think it\'s too bad Dietrich\'s interesting subject got side-tracked.

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DR. RICHARD BAVRY
Spanish to English
+ ...
An Organic Chemist Speaks Out Feb 13, 2002

Just for the hell of it, I wonder how many very qualified translators without my training and experience in the field could possibly render a polished translation into English of any articles in any Russian, German, Italian, French, etc. chemical/scientific journal!



Hey! I know the complexities! And I understand the dilemma! But I would bet my 30 years of experience, let alone my arse, that I could do a far better job than a neophyte!



And I would never never ever venture into fields I know nothing of!



Rich



P.S. I have edited more than my fair share of absolutely lamentable translations by those who know nothing of such matters!





[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-13 17:25 ]

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-13 17:28 ]


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DR. RICHARD BAVRY
Spanish to English
+ ...
"Deployment"? Feb 13, 2002

That sounds pretty technical to me!



Quote:


On 2002-02-13 10:38, guarnieri wrote:

My Collins English Dictionary says that both alternatives are used. Fora or stadia should be in theory the correct form, since it\'s the plural of Latin words forum and stadium (via Latin from Greek \"stadion\", as far as the latter is concerned)...

Forums and stadiums are now used because of the improper ***deployment*** perpetrated by technical translators without good knowledge of the target language...





LOL



Just love that \"nontechnical\" and inappropriate use of words!

Giovanni



Take a gander at:



http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary



One entry found for deploy.





Main Entry: de·ploy

Pronunciation: di-\'ploi

Function: verb

Etymology: French déployer, literally, to unfold, from Old French desploier, from des- dis- + ploier, plier to fold -- more at PLY

Date: 1786

transitive senses

1 a : to extend (a military unit) especially in width b : to place in battle formation or appropriate positions

2 : to spread out, utilize, or arrange especially strategically

intransitive senses : to move in being deployed

- de·ploy·able /-&-b&l/ adjective

- de·ploy·ment /-m&nt/ noun



I guess that the battle lines are quite well drawn, and yet the troops of words are somewhat in disarray! Missing the target will lose the day.









Get the Word of the Day





[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-13 18:45 ]

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2004)
English to Italian
yes, Richard... Feb 13, 2002

Indeed. But it\'s not a mistake. Deployment of words used as weapons in the never ending battle of translators against Mother Language.

BTW, your attempt at making fun out of a non English speaker is rather sad. I know your sense of humor, but maybe you should \"deploy\" it in a more constructive way...



GG


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DR. RICHARD BAVRY
Spanish to English
+ ...
Just pulling your leg Feb 13, 2002

No deadly intent intended...no need to go ballistic!



Quote:


On 2002-02-13 18:55, guarnieri wrote:

Indeed. But it\'s not a mistake. Deployment of words used as weapons in the never ending battle of translators against Mother Language.

BTW, your attempt at making fun out of a non English speaker is rather sad. I know your sense of humor, but maybe you should \"deploy\" it in a more constructive way...



GG



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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2004)
English to Italian
I didn't go ballistic... Feb 13, 2002

Richard, I know your sense of humor and I didn\'t think for a moment that you had any \"deadly\" intent. I feel a bit unwell, but I\'m not dead.



GG


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