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Ethical aspects to one's doing translation for economic gain although he is not translator.
Thread poster: xxxMalik Beytek
xxxMalik Beytek
Local time: 15:34
Sep 25, 2006

Good morning Monday morning:

I'm not translator; but I do translation for economic gain; and I seem to do it well when I agree to do it.

I rely on my ability to write in Turkish and English in doing translation; I have not been trained as translator.

I have web pages in which I describe what I want to do and the place of translation in that framework. I don't know if it is OK to post the URL here, but the URL is in my profile. In one sentence; I can write independently in Turkish and English in certain subjects (business and social sectors), however, for now I rely on translation for subsistence.

I have two specific questions:

1- How do the Proz.com members / users feel about a person who does translation for economic gain although he is not translator?

2- Does any member / user, as translator, find any thing offending in my web site? In that context, I am particularly concerned about (a) stressing, on my web page, that I'm not translator and (b) I make a reference to "producing texts that do not smell translation".

I am a little concerned that my participation in Proz.com activity might not be very productive should members / users tend to feel uncomfortable about my coordinates relative to the field of translation.

I'll consider revising my web pages on the basis of comments from the forum.

Thank you.


[Edited at 2006-09-25 06:01]

[Edited at 2006-09-25 06:17]


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 12:34
German to English
+ ...
... Sep 25, 2006

amateur9 wrote:
I'm not translator; but I do translation for economic gain; and I seem to do it well when I agree to do it.


Translator = one who translates. It is not a magical title conferred by a vice chancellor, government minister or archbishop.

By one definition, "professional translator" = "one who gets paid to translate". This definition encompasses a large number of people whose behaviour is highly unprofessional, especially in the language services industry, because we are not as strictly regulated as doctors and lawyers.

I have not been trained as translator.


I also have no formal training as a translator, so it isn't necessarily a bar to practising this profession.

1- How do the Proz.com members / users feel about a person who does translation for economic gain although he is not translator?


An arguable, but definitely substantial proportion of Proz members (registrants, ordinary members, non-platinum or whatever they are called this week) fall into that category themselves.

2- Does any member / user, as translator, find any thing offending in my web site? In that context, I am particularly concerned about (a) stressing, on my web page, that I'm not translator and (b) I make a reference to "producing texts that do not smell translation".


I'm definitely concerned about producing texts that do not smell translation. I smell translation, because I wonder how documents can smell anything, let alone translation. It's obvious that documents don't have the sense of smell so why tell me they don't? I wouldn't say it's offensive though, I'd just ask for my money back.

I am a little concerned that my participation in Proz.com activity might not be very productive should members / users tend to feel uncomfortable about my coordinates relative to the field of translation.


Your future success or otherwise in translation, at least at the quality end of the market, depends on how much effort you are prepared to put in and how professional your behaviour is. You aren't a native English speaker. I get the impression (possibly mistaken, but you do say "I guess I could that in the direction of English - to Turkish as well; but I would not have a competitive edge there, I mean there are probably a large number of Turkish folks, copy writers, who could do that much mroe efficiently than I could. ") you aren't a native Turkish speaker either. What, precisely, are you doing translating between the two?


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xxxMalik Beytek
Local time: 15:34
TOPIC STARTER
Regulating translation sector Sep 25, 2006

Screaming Lord Sutch wrote:

"....... we are not as strictly regulated as doctors and lawyers..."


At what level do you think a bit of further regulation would have more impact at this time? (a) Translation offices, (b)Freelance translators? For example:

Do you think that there should be certain requirements that should be satisfied before one can open a translation office?

Do you think -- and this is an even more speculative thought that the preceding one - that there should be some sort of an official, central testing system for grading an individual's capacity for doing translation?

I am native Turkish speaker, by the way, but, in certain subjects, I might have done more talking and writing in English than I have done in Turkish.

And thank you for a comprehensive response.


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Geoffrey Barrow
Local time: 08:34
Norwegian to English
Don't translate into English! Sep 25, 2006

amateur9 wrote:
I rely on my ability to write in Turkish and English in doing translation; I have not been trained as translator.


My advice to you is: don't translate into English if it isn't your native language. Your posting clearly demonstrates this, as does your web site.

By the way, I particularly liked:

"....according to Zott and Amit (see preceding note below)..."


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Being a native speaker of a language is the first prerequisite for translation to that language Sep 25, 2006

amateur9 wrote:

Good morning Monday morning:

I'm not translator; but I do translation for economic gain; and I seem to do it well when I agree to do it.

I rely on my ability to write in Turkish and English in doing translation; I have not been trained as translator.

I have web pages in which I describe what I want to do and the place of translation in that framework. I don't know if it is OK to post the URL here, but the URL is in my profile. In one sentence; I can write independently in Turkish and English in certain subjects (business and social sectors), however, for now I rely on translation for subsistence.

I have two specific questions:

1- How do the Proz.com members / users feel about a person who does translation for economic gain although he is not translator?

2- Does any member / user, as translator, find any thing offending in my web site? In that context, I am particularly concerned about (a) stressing, on my web page, that I'm not translator and (b) I make a reference to "producing texts that do not smell translation".

I am a little concerned that my participation in Proz.com activity might not be very productive should members / users tend to feel uncomfortable about my coordinates relative to the field of translation.

I'll consider revising my web pages on the basis of comments from the forum.

Thank you.


[Edited at 2006-09-25 06:01]

[Edited at 2006-09-25 06:17]


Hi amateur9

A lot of translators become translators without having had any special training in translation. (I started like that, although later I did train, in a number of ways, and am still training).

Many excellent translators never received any formal training.

A good translator is a good writer.

But one can only be a good writer in one's native language.

So, in agreement with Screaming Lord Sutch: the absolutely FIRST and maybe the ONLY really necessary requirement to be a good translator is to write in one's native language.

So if your native language is Turkish, offer translation TO Turkish. You say you have expertise in writing already, and if that's the case, you should be able to produce excellent texts in Turkish.

It's evident from your website that your English is not native ...in fact, it stinks of translation:-)

In answer to your questions:


1- How do the Proz.com members / users feel about a person who does translation for economic gain although he is not translator?

"people who are not translators"? Do you mean people without formal qualifications? Yes, plenty of those, but that doesn't mean they cannot be excellent translators. Or do you mean people who can't trasnlate? There are lots of them too (even ones with qualifications), for example, the ones who don't have the necessary minimum qualification of being a native in the language they write to.

2- Does any member / user, as translator, find any thing offending in my web site? In that context, I am particularly concerned about (a) stressing, on my web page, that I'm not translator and (b) I make a reference to "producing texts that do not smell translation".

I didn't read your website, just had a quick look at the "English". I don't think it's good business sense to shout out that you are not a translator. What you should do is say what you are, not what you are not. As for producing texts that "do not smell translation" (you mean "smell OF translation", surely, translations do not emit smells, like perfumes, for example), see my comment above.

To reiterate, only a native speaker of a language is capable of producing texts that do not smell of translation, and even they have problems, sometimes-often, distancing themselves sufficiently from the source text to avoid reproducing structures, turns of phrase, etc, that "smell" of translation.


Best of luck:-)

Ailish

PS:

I have just noticed that on your ProZ profile you have said that you are "English (monolingual)". That amounts to a fraudulent claim, as you are clearly not a native English speaker. That's like a metalworker claiming to be a carpenter. If I employed him/her and found out later that he/she had misrepresented him/herself, I would take legal action against him/her.

[Edited at 2006-09-25 13:02]


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 12:34
German to English
+ ...
... Sep 25, 2006

amateur9 wrote:

At what level do you think a bit of further regulation would have more impact at this time? (a) Translation offices, (b)Freelance translators? For example:

Do you think that there should be certain requirements that should be satisfied before one can open a translation office?


None whatsoever. In a currently unregulated, global market saturated by cut-price practitioners in low-cost-of-living countries, regulation will probably serve only to make the life of pros more difficult. Regulation, if any happens, will have the most impact on strictly regulated markets, so you might find that a smaller number of translation providers get invited to produce poorly paid short-deadline work for Brussels. As to who actually does the work, that will be up to the agents who get the contracts.

Do you think -- and this is an even more speculative thought that the preceding one - that there should be some sort of an official, central testing system for grading an individual's capacity for doing translation?


Personally, yes I do, but I have some serious objections to current attempts to achieve this because they do not provide for a career path for new practitioners. This creates a closed shop. In practice, it would achieve very little because 90% of translation work by volume is contracted on the basis that the price is the only important factor. Just pick up the instruction manual that came with your last piece of consumer electronics or household goods. That work will continue going to cut-price unqualified translators irrespective of whatever regulation you bring in because you cannot tell people how they spend their money. I am only interested in doing the 10% for clients who already know that low price usually means low quality, and those people do not need to be told that translators X Y and Z are on some professional register or other - they choose their suppliers themselves and have their own criteria to judge ability, independently of qualifications and codes of conduct.


I should add I agree with almost everything Lia says. On being a native speaker, I think this is a good rule of thumb. There are a few exceptions, for example pairs where translators are in short supply, but the exceptions are few and far between. I would be surprised if there is currently a desperate shortage of native Turkish to English translators, though this could change rapidly with potential EU accession. In Turkish to Estonian, maybe you could make a case for using a non-native.

[Edited at 2006-09-25 13:11]


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xxxMalik Beytek
Local time: 15:34
TOPIC STARTER
Instruction manual is part of the product and its safety and quality should be assured, no? Sep 25, 2006

Screaming Lord Sutch wrote:

" ....Just pick up the instruction manual that came with your last piece of consumer electronics or household goods. That work will continue going to cut-price unqualified translators irrespective of whatever regulation you bring in because you cannot tell people how they spend their money. ..."


I imagine -though I could be wrong - that the point I make in the subject statement could be a good point to start, in the way of thinking about a process that could help include the quality factor in translation outsourcing decisions.

Quality of products are *assured* by means of establishing rules or guidelines on *how they are produced*. Perhaps a similar concept could be valid in connection with a piece of translated text being the product. In one of the translation offices I work with, I saw this ISO 2000 (?) type of quality assurance certificate on the wall. I don't know exactly what that means for a translation office. But suppose there were a regulation that required that all user manuals for consumer electronics products would need to be translated by service providers holding ISO 2000 certificates?

I changed my language pair in my profile to Turkish-Turkish (my account is of type "neither" any way). And, if it is going to help any one, translation offices here in Ankara do not seem to think that there is an abundance of Turkish-to-English translators.

I'm in process of revising my web page. I can't promise to respond to all suggestions pertaining to it, however, comments, from every body, are always welcome.

[Edited at 2006-09-25 15:25]


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Fan Gao
Australia
Local time: 22:34
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Laughable... Sep 25, 2006

amateur9 wrote:
I have two specific questions:

1- How do the Proz.com members / users feel about a person who does translation for economic gain although he is not translator?


A person who translates for economic gain is a translator...end of story. Even if they do it as a hobby for their pure enjoyment and love of languages and there is no monetary gain they can still call themselves a translator. Whether the paid translator is a professional or not is a whole other story:)

2- Does any member / user, as translator, find any thing offending in my web site? In that context, I am particularly concerned about (a) stressing, on my web page, that I'm not translator and (b) I make a reference to "producing texts that do not smell translation".

(a) You don't need to stress the point that you are not a translator, that much is obvious.

(b) "producing texts that do not smell translation"?

Need I say more? I never thought I would ever feel inclined to say this to anyone but seeing as you asked, your abysmal use of the English language really does stink.:)


I'll consider revising my web pages on the basis of comments from the forum.

Pleeeeeeeaaassse remove the English and stick to Turkish.


Good luck and best wishes:)
Mark


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Krys Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:34
Member (2003)
Polish to English
+ ...
qualifications are not everything Sep 25, 2006

Dear amateur9

I also have no linguistic qualifications, but for the last three years I have been operating successfully as a freelance translator and have more than enough repeat business to reassure me that I do offer a valuable service to my clients.

I would agree with the previous posters that you should translate into your native language. I cannot see anything on your profile here, so I am puzzled by people commenting that Turkish is not your native language either. If you have a sufficient command of English and Turkish, you shoudl be translating out of these into your native language.

One other thing. Since you do not have language qualifications, you presumably have some other specialty. This is what you should be marketing. For example, I trained as a biomedical scientist. Clients come back to me because I have an in depth understanding of what I translate in this field.

Wishing you the best of luck
Krys


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:34
Member
English to Turkish
Only Turkish texts smell ;-) Sep 25, 2006

"A text that smells of translation" is a Turkish expression, which means a translation that doesn't have a natural flow. Just thought I should make this clear for the non-Turkish-speaking audience here


That said, I agree with the comments of the rest. If you want to train as a translator -which you seem to have started already- you should focus on improving your writing skills in your mother tongue first. Note that I am not implying anything about your skills - I have no idea about your command of Turkish. However, that should be your first and foremost AND ongoing focus, whether or not you translate into English. Because, I have the impression that so many people venturing into this profession take their mother-tongue writing skills for granted, and this does cause damage to the profession, as well as to our written language. You have to be a very good writer in your target language first, if you want to be a professional translator. And I assume that you are here because you want to be a professional translator, who, by the way, has a rent to pay, too.





[Edited at 2006-09-25 16:31]


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xxxMalik Beytek
Local time: 15:34
TOPIC STARTER
Texts that don't smell of translation - so it is indeed a translator's objective Sep 25, 2006

I knew that the expression would sound perfectly OK to Turkish speaking outsourcers. I was concerned that it could be offending to translators. I am now, after the last two posts, by Özden Arıkan and Good Words, glad to see that, on the contrary, producing texts that do not smell of translation is in fact a translator's objective.

My writing skills, in both Turkish and English are (should be) basically at the level of an academician -- I should say are (should be) "those" of an academician, which I used to be, in a field of engineering, rather than in a field of literature.

I look at translation as a temporary means of subsistence; I really do not enjoy doing translation - my mind just doesn't seem to work in a way conducive to it.

And, talk about "a third language"? Wait till they see my attempts to re-write Turkish poems in English!

"......
A thought is the start other times,
A blind rose, feeling the grounds.
......"

That was from Melih cevdet Anday, Turkish poet.

And that's the closest thing to translation that I seem to enjoy doing - re-writing Turkish poems in English, which, of course, does not pay the rent.

[Edited at 2006-09-25 19:15]


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Smelling of the "Third Language" Sep 25, 2006

Özden Arıkan wrote:
"A text that smells of translation" is a Turkish expression, which means a translation that doesn't have a natural flow. Just thought I should make this clear for the non-Turkish-speaking audience here


It's perfectly clear to me, I have even used it in the past without knowing it was a standard expression in Turkish. Creating texts that don't "smell" like translations is one of my most important translation themes. It is also a theme that has inspired an entire book; the legendary Third Language: Recurrent Problems of Translation into English by Alan Duff.

What is the "third language"? I don't think it could be described better than this quote which I have borrowed and generalized from a Guardian review of a translated book:

"[The translator] has managed to translate from [source language] into an entirely new language, one born dead. It is constructed using [target language] words but the effect is of something almost entirely unlike [target language]."

The third language is characterized by vocabulary, phrases, expressions and syntax which, while even though not incorrect, are "not the way we say it in [target language]".


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 14:34
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
we were not amused Sep 25, 2006

Özden Arıkan wrote: "A text that smells of translation" is a Turkish expression


Excuse ME... This is 100% Slovenian expression. We ARE exposed to these smells, from all kinds of places. Like PRC (yes, China) at 3 cents a word.

Back to the Turkish claim: certainly one more spoil of roaming Janicharies who paid us a visit twice a year at the height of the Ottoman empire.

Regards and I could not resist

Vito


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:34
Member
English to Turkish
You must be right! Sep 25, 2006

After all, in the light of what you cannot forget and I cannot remember, the direction of the translation is obvious.



Vito Smolej wrote:

Özden Arıkan wrote: "A text that smells of translation" is a Turkish expression


Excuse ME... This is 100% Slovenian expression. We ARE exposed to these smells, from all kinds of places. Like PRC (yes, China) at 3 cents a word.

Back to the Turkish claim: certainly one more spoil of roaming Janicharies who paid us a visit twice a year at the height of the Ottoman empire.

Regards and I could not resist

Vito


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xxxMalik Beytek
Local time: 15:34
TOPIC STARTER
"Adaptation" Sep 25, 2006

Özden Arıkan wrote:

"After all, in the light of what you cannot forget and I cannot remember, the direction of the translation is obvious."



I'll be searching Internet in an effort to become a bit informed about "adaptation", in the context of marketing and related materials. I have been thinking about this subject and, not being aware of the term "adaptation", I have been using the term "re-writing in the other language".


[Edited at 2006-09-25 22:42]

[Edited at 2006-09-25 22:47]

[Edited at 2006-09-25 23:01]

[Edited at 2006-09-25 23:23]


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