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Poll: What do you USUALLY think when you read others' translations (in your pairs/fields)?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:03
SITE STAFF
Feb 28, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What do you USUALLY think when you read others' translations (in your pairs/fields)?".

This poll was originally submitted by Joanna Borowska

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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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 05:03
SITE FOUNDER
Note: I made up the answers Feb 28, 2006

Hi all. Joanna's poll proposal came through without any answers (maybe there was a problem with quotes, Joanna?) So I made up answers.

In other words, this poll is a joint poll. Hope you don't mind, Joanna. (But if you do, just tell me...)


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Joanna Borowska  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:03
English to Polish
Great minds think alike ;o) Feb 28, 2006

Hi Henry,

I had problems submitting the poll. I tried a few times but every time I got a "failure" message. I didn't know I finally managed to submit anything.

Anyway, my answers were quite similar to yours:

What do you USUALLY think when you read others' translations (in your pairs/fields)?

1. "I would have done it better."
2. "Impressive. I couldn't have done it better."
3. Hard to say (#1 about as often as #2).

Regards,

Joanna

[Edited at 2006-02-28 12:03]


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 12:03
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
It depends Feb 28, 2006

A strange question... Of course, it depends. Often I really enjoy others' translations. I don't compare to my abilities, I just read and think `Wow, well done!' But sometimes I see translations which are utterly bad, so I think `Oh my...'

I suppose that the poll puts a question which escapes any generalizing approach. The main point is not to lose our ability to admire anything which is done really well and to see a bad work as it is. And, of course, in the process of evaluating we have nothing more in our disposal but our subjective opinions and the level of our self-aggrandizement. If someone always thinks that others' translations are bad, it tells much about the `beholder', first of all.

[Edited at 2006-02-28 12:19]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 05:03
SITE FOUNDER
:D Feb 28, 2006

The similarity is funny (is it 'great' minds, or just translator minds?) Anyway, nice poll!

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Maria Tulbure  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
Member (2005)
English to Romanian
+ ...
No vote Feb 28, 2006

I did not vote, as I would have chosen all the answers and several more. When I read others' translations I try to be objective, even if sometimes I have to admit I envy someone for a brilliant translation. I usually think of how I would have done it. So I would say it is rather hard to answer this question, having to choose only from the three answers suggested. I would have rather asked (maybe I'll suggest such a poll) 'How do you feel when you come across a brilliant translation?' (A possible answer: I'd better give up translating and start doing something else ... ) or 'How do you feel when you come across an awful translation?'

[Edited at 2006-02-28 16:52]


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 05:03
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Great poll idea! Feb 28, 2006

Of course, it's impossible to provide answer options that will really fit. One chooses the answer that comes closest, and then explains it more fully in the forum. And that's the point, isn't it?--to stimulate thought, exchange, and discussion!

I marked "Not too bad" because there are so many of us in my pairs (English >< Spanish) that there's almost always at least one excellent answer, with a good option or two to spare. On the other hand, there's often at least one truly awful answer...


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Mrudula Tambe  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 14:33
English to Marathi
+ ...
I dislike when they use the transliterated words Feb 28, 2006

Some translations are grammatically poor which can be avoided by practice but when other translators use the same words from the source laguage in the target language I feel it is nothing but the lack of creativity. I think they don't want to think on the translation for a minute or two and want to catch the deadline

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Sandra C.
France
Local time: 11:03
English to French
+ ...
No vote either Feb 28, 2006

I didn't vote either, as I'd need a 'it depends' option.
I wouldn't dare generalize.
I've seen every kind of translation in my languague pair, some excellent, some awful, some average...


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:03
Did not vote Feb 28, 2006

I was looking for the option "good" or "very good".

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naomihon
Uzbekistan
Local time: 14:03
English to Uzbek
+ ...
not too bad Feb 28, 2006

Everyone has his own way and style of translation. I respect my pair language translators, as I can learn something from them. Because sometimes it seems that you are not satisfied with your work and you've missed something. After reading translated article (if it is really good) you realise what is your mistake. But I don't mean to copy from others, just to look the same thing with different points of view

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:03
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Good point, Mrudula Feb 28, 2006

Maybe slightly off topic, but sometimes I think people who complain about English pushing other languages out should make better use of their own vocabulary instead of just inserting English words in their own sentences! That is the way I see it most often, but it probably applies to many other pairs.

Translating often means rewriting, or you risk losing important shades of meaning. The same word does not always mean exactly the same in another language - it's a trap, and is one of the things that makes me suspicious in other people's work.

I haven't voted yet. I have learnt a lot from proof reading for really skilful and gifted colleagues who wanted a native speaker's opinion, and in that sort of situation I think wow, that's brilliant! I tell them I am noting their solution to use myself when the time comes.

Today I am updating a text that I suspect several different people have translated and updated at different times - some parts are fluent and some are far too close to the source.

Ideally, I would like a 'both' or a 'depends' option... but on the whole I think people do translate well in my pairs, so I will vote for 'not too bad'.

Interesting topic...


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 03:03
French to English
+ ...
I can't even understand the motivation Feb 28, 2006

I won't be voting because I can't generalize about the quality of others' work. I am a proofreader and I judge each term, each sentence, each paragraph separately.

Why would you want to make it so black and white?
Very few translators are all bad or all good. Most of us are in the "shades of grey" because we are human.


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Heidi C  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
It depends... Feb 28, 2006

I wrote "n/a" because it really depends.

But in general, when reading a translation, my reaction is one of Joanna's proposals:


Joanna Borowska wrote:

What do you USUALLY think when you read others' translations (in your pairs/fields)?

1. "I would have done it better."
2. "Impressive. I couldn't have done it better."
3. Hard to say (#1 about as often as #2).



of course, depending on the translation.

(I do have to confess, I avoid reading translations and am very critical when I can guess what the original said...)

Heidi


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Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:03
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
I agree with Kirill Feb 28, 2006

Kirill Semenov wrote:

The main point is not to lose our ability to admire anything which is done really well and to see a bad work as it is.



Exactly!
Actually, I find it easier to proofread other translations rather than proofreading mine. Probably because by the time I have finished with the text I am too familiar with the words I have chosen.

Acknowledging another translator's good woork gives me a spark to improve and polish my own. On the other hand, realising that I would have done better is also a nice feeling.

DZ

[Edited at 2006-02-28 18:21]


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