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Poll: When translating, how often do you turn one sentence into two, or two into one?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:38
SITE STAFF
Feb 15, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When translating, how often do you turn one sentence into two, or two into one?".

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:38
English to Italian
depends on the source and target languages... Feb 15, 2006

in Italian, we tend to use longer sentences, so, when translating from English, it's often necessary to link two or even three sentences together. Unfortunately, with the widespread use of CATs, the structures tend to be standardized, which is obviously of detriment to the target language. I don't quite understand the point of this poll, though...

Giovanni


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gad
United States
Local time: 07:38
Member
French to English
In my language pair, I'd say it's probably somewhat common Feb 15, 2006

In French, sentences can tend to be quite longer than their English equivalents, so whereas a long sentence might not be considered run-on in French, it would be considered as such in English and thus it'd be appropriate to split it into two or sometimes three sentences.

Totally agree that it depends upon the source and target languages, and I think this is a good and interesting poll and topic for discussion, thanks.


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Stephanie Diaz
English to Spanish
it proves that... Feb 15, 2006

despite the wide use of CAT tools that automatically divide a full text into several micro-texts, translators do apply translation techniques (like this one and many others, certainly)to adapt a source text to the style of the target language and don't rely entirely in these tools for style purposes.

Regards,
Stephanie


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:38
French to English
and vice versa Feb 15, 2006

Maybe the question could be modified slightly to include "or vice versa"? I daresay many people will take it as read, but personally, I both split and merge sentences according to what I consider reads best.

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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 13:38
Italian to English
+ ...
It's A Question Of Fit Feb 15, 2006

I agree with the two colleagues above: generally speaking, writers in Romance languages tend to use lengthier sentence construction and following it when writing in business English is not always appropriate.
There are ways to get around the rigidity of CAT tools, so I don't see a big problem with that.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:38
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Depends on the language Feb 15, 2006

I find that proportionally, I do this more with Swedish to English than Danish to English, although I often translate more complex texts from Danish to English.

And I rarely do it with Norwegian to English - the language is more like Danish, but again, I only translate relatively simple texts in that pair.

The converse is true in the same pairs, however. Sometimes two perfectly good Swedish sentences sound very choppy in English unless linked or rephrased into one. This does apply to the other pairs, but not so often.

And if I translate from French just for fun, then I definitely need to divide French sentences up in to two or even three, but I think that too depends on the type of text. (I usually translate lyrical art criticisms or appreciations from French.)

I think it's an interesting topic!

There are certain texts and situations where the number of sentences is important, but the results can be somewhat artificial - and luckily they are rare in my neck of the woods!


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Heidi C  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
Between sometimes and often! Feb 15, 2006

I had to hesitate between sometimes and often...

I agree, it happens a lot when translating from Spanish to English.

On the other hand, it really depends on the style of the text: I have joined sentences when translating into English also!

And I believe it is important not to let the CAT tool do the deciding! The translator has the final choice! (that is why we will NEVER be replaced by a machine...)

Saludos,

Heidi


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 07:38
SITE FOUNDER
Thanks, Charlie Feb 15, 2006

Charlie Bavington wrote:

Maybe the question could be modified slightly to include "or vice versa"? I daresay many people will take it as read, but personally, I both split and merge sentences according to what I consider reads best.

Yes, I agree that is better.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sounds OK to me Feb 16, 2006

When translating, how often do you turn one sentence into two, or two into one? That already means "vice versa".

I will often turn two into one from English to Spanish and one into two from Spanish to English, that is the usual case. And I certainly do not need any CAT tool to tell me I can't do it.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:38
French to English
Time zone issue Feb 16, 2006

Henry Hinds wrote:

When translating, how often do you turn one sentence into two, or two into one? That already means "vice versa".



The clue is in the fact that the question as posed in the title to this thread now differs slightly from that in the poll box itself. Trust me, this morning (UK time), the poll was something like "...into two, three or more". Just so you don't think I'm an utter buffoon .


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Gabriella Ambs-Wettstein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:38
English to German
+ ...
Sometimes yes, sometimes no Feb 16, 2006

I'd also say it depends on both the source and the target text. With a sentence exceeding 15 lines (I'm not joking!) it should be done. But I had some bad experiences: either a proofreade or a customer didn't accept my version, according to them sentences mustn't be split up. Hm...
With regard to CAT tools, I agree with my colleagues: they are of great help but they shouldn't be in command
Kindest regards
Gabriella

[Edited at 2006-02-16 02:01]


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Francesca Pesce  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:38
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes, English can be just as bad Feb 16, 2006

The worst experiences with long sentences that I've had is with some legal texts in the financial sector (by-laws and similar), where I have found 15 line sentences, with very few commas as well.
...and they say that in Italian we use long sentences (and have somewhat tortuous reasoning...)

What I often notice in my field (business/finance) is the lack of knowledge of punctuation: long sentences can have commas,etc. that help the reader, but those who are knowledgeable in finance often are not all that good at writing!


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