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The mother-tongue of the former European colonies.
Thread poster: xxxwilliamson
xxxwilliamson
Local time: 18:40
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jan 30, 2002

Just a small consideration: There has been much ado about whether to translate into once mother-tongue or not (even if a professional and native speaker of the target-language revises your text when the target-language is not your mother-tongue).

But what is the mother-tongue of a translator based in a country like India and other former European colonies. In India, English is only one of the official languages of the country. In Congo, French is the language for official communication, but Lingala the language of the people. How can you apply strict criteria there?


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
You Can't Jan 30, 2002

IMNSHO, instead of saying that language specialists should only translate into their mother-tongue, a better phrase could be: language specialists should only translate into their dominant language(*). This means (ideally) that they are as proficient as a trained, educated linguist or writer.



Sadly, most translators do not fall in this category.



Worse yet, many clients could care less.



(*) exceptionally, two or more





Quote:


On 2002-01-30 13:16, willivere wrote:

How can you apply strict criteria there?



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-01-30 15:52 ]

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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 12:40
German to English
+ ...
Yes, Dyran, "dominant" is the operative word here Jan 30, 2002

I have raised this point many times before.



Terms such as mother tongue or native language are misleading in a translation context. Instead, translators should be required to translate INTO their dominant language - and every person has only one dominant language (by defintion). You can have 3 or 4 \"mother tongues\", but you will always have only one dominant language.



*******



As regards the \"colonies\", I think that\'s fine. If English is your first language (and dominant language), and if you were brought up in India, for example, you should still be considered a native speaker of English. Granted, it is not the \"Queen\'s English\" or \"Received Pronunciation\", but it\'ll do .



As a matter of fact, accent has nothing to do with the whole thing. Here in Canada, for example, with our multicultural society, our kids spend a lot of time with kids from other cultures and backgrounds. As linguists will know, kids learn from their peers, and they even tend to adopt their peers\' speech patterns, etc. So, you can have an English Canadian kid, for instance, who eventually shows traces of a Pakistani accent by the time he/she is 15 or so, because he/she was hanging out with Pakistani friends throughout his/her formative years. And in Québec, for example, you can find English native speakers with a bit of a French accent.



This also ties in with the PNS mark created by ProZ: PNS is based, primarily, on a person\'s accent, but that can\'t tell you whether that person really is a native speaker or whether the language in question is his/her dominant language.



By the way, I believe it was the school of translators and interpreters in Monterey, California, that created a test to determine a person\'s dominant language years ago. I once took that test at my own school, but I can\'t remember if it was the Monterey school that invented it. Anyone?


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xxxwilliamson
Local time: 18:40
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Potential market Jan 31, 2002

Just one small remark: the market for the language combination (English-German-Spanish of the two people who reacted consists of about 800 million people. The market for a Western language like Finnish, consists of five million people. Is : \"you must translate into your dominant language only\" a \"sacred\" principle.

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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 12:40
German to English
+ ...
Grain of salt Jan 31, 2002

Every statement about languages and translation must be taken with a grain of salt.



Your example of Finnish translators is a valid one. However, the size of a certain market should not result in the lowering or even elimination of professional standards and ethics - there is no excuse for that!. In addition, since that particular market is smaller than English, German, Spanish or French, Finnish translators may just be in greater demand; a professional Finnish translator will probably have his/her market niche, being able to charge appropriate rates.



I\'d fully understand, though, if a Finnish translator were to decide to offer \"bi-directional translations\", just to stay afloat (provided he/she is backed up by professional proofreaders/editors of the respective target language).



I just hope you did not imply that someone like that should start translating from, say, French to English! That would be the ultimate violation of professional and ethical standards: only non-professionals translate from one foreign language into another foreign language (\"foreign-to-foreign\"). Foreign-to-foreign ALWAYS ends in disaster!


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xxxwilliamson
Local time: 18:40
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Viability Jan 31, 2002

I do not know about Finnish translators, but I do know that there is a very high demand for Finnish interpreters.



If he/she is backed up by professional proofreaders/editors of the respective target language, can\'t foreign to foreign be considered, if these proofreaders dominant languages are the source/target-language. Three people know more than 1.

Where did I hear People Service Profit?



If I would get a request of say 50 pages French into English, I would accept it, but try to outsource it.

Translation is a bu$ine$$, like any other. If it is not a viable bu$ine$$, the translator should be retrained to do something else.



Isn\'t there a certain tension between viability of certain language-combinations and professional standards and ethics? What would you do if somebody had Nepalese > Thai as a combination? (S)he should consider to translatio into Thai only?







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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 12:40
German to English
+ ...
NO Jan 31, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-01-31 22:02, willivere wrote:

If he/she is backed up by professional proofreaders/editors of the respective target language, can\'t foreign to foreign be considered, if these proofreaders dominant languages are the source/target-language?




No, no, no! The quality resulting from a foreign-to-foreign translation is so bad (and invariably so) that proofreading alone wouldn\'t cut it.



Regarding your suggestion of \"retraining\": sorry, but you cannot \"retrain\" a person to adopt a \"new\" or different native language. You are born with this language (along with all your genes and other stuff), and this \"baggage\" will be with you for the rest of your life. So, if your own language pair is not \"economically viable\", you will have to be retrained - but in a different job or profession. Most of the translators working with such a \"lousy\" pair usually have a \"day job\" to sustain them.



For example: I took a look at our local directory of certified translators (those with \"exotic\" language pairs), and most of them list their availability as \"freelance\" - in our terminology this means that you have another job and are available for freelance work only on a part-time basis (full-time translators would be categorized as \"independent\").



Another option for \"exotics\": you can work into your mother tongue (say, Finnish), but instead of working from one source language only, you could have two or three source languages (eg, German, French to Finnish), thus opening up more sources of revenue for yourself. AND: specialize! Find a good market niche for yourself and \"milk it\".


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