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Poll: When you translate, do you first write a draft?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:43
SITE STAFF
Dec 19, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When you translate, do you first write a draft?".

This poll was originally submitted by Cristina Heraud-van Tol

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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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:43
French to English
+ ...
Curious Dec 19, 2006

I'm curious. Do the people who answered "no" not reread their translations??? Or perhaps I misunderstand what is meant by first draft...
To me first draft is my initial translation. I then reread it twice: once on its own to be sure it reads like an original, and then again compared to the source text to be sure that nothing is left out and there are no mistakes.
I can't imagine there not being time for these simple, yet essential, steps.


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Sanmar
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:43
English to Dutch
+ ...
Question not entirely clear Dec 19, 2006

I think the question is not entirely clear. I treat the 'first draft' as if it will be the final 'product' but more often than not I will need/want to make changes after I have proofread the job and, again, when I check it a second time. In practice this means that the first version is nearly always my draft version even though I do not approach it as such!

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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:43
French to English
+ ...
Processes change... Dec 19, 2006

When I hand-wrote my essays at university (and when doing handwritten translation exams), the concept of 'draft' made some sense, as I would do a rough version and then do a final copy with changes.

Now that I do all my work on the computer, it makes less sense to talk of 'drafts' - I'll do an initial version, which may be more or less polished depending on my familiarity with the subject. Then I'll go through and make changes. The first version doesn't get kept.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:43
Italian to English
+ ...
I voted "no"... Dec 19, 2006

but after reading Mara's comments, I'm not sure I understood the question!

Of course I re-read my translations, once against the original (twice if very complicated) and once again without. I assumed it meant a hand-written first draft, to rough out the translation before getting down to it... but maybe I'm wrong!


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:43
English to Polish
No.... Dec 19, 2006

Marie-Helene Hayles wrote:

but after reading Mara's comments, I'm not sure I understood the question!

Of course I re-read my translations, once against the original (twice if very complicated) and once again without. I assumed it meant a hand-written first draft, to rough out the translation before getting down to it... but maybe I'm wrong!


Same here.

I definitelly don't call the first translation a draft... That would mean ALL of us have drafts... and if someone doesn't re-read and proof it - then it stays a draft (?)

No. I don't do any drafts. No initial preparations, projects, notes, whatever. I translate, then re-read it at least twice.


Anni


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:43
Member
English to Turkish
Same here Dec 19, 2006

I understood it exactly the same way as Marie-Helene did, and voted no. Clarification needed here, it seems - as too often happens with our polls

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Maria Baquero  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
Always Dec 19, 2006

I voted always because that is what I call my initial translation (a draft). Then I check it twice to make sure that everything has been included, there are no spelling or punctuation mistakes. The second time I prefer to read it on its own but aloud; if it sounds well to me, it is ready for delivery!

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:43
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is this a draft poll? ;-) Dec 19, 2006

Just joking of course... Honestly, I don't think any technical translator has either the time, the wish or even the need to make a draft of the translation. I check my work carefully and after that a reviewer reads it all again.

But no "draft" meaning "an interim version of the translation which, after settling for a day or so and after resting a bit, is polished to make the final translation". If I translated literature or legal texts, I would probably do a draft in that sense.


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Always... Dec 19, 2006

Wow. I'm glad that people didn't understand the question the same way I did! I couldn't imagine how people could survive if they don't revise.

Personally, I think "draft" is an appropriate term. I draft the translation, then I check it against the original. After making any needed changes, I try to let it sit for a few days, and then I revise the target language (sometimes multiple times).


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:43
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I voted no... Dec 19, 2006

What I normally do is to print out the source text with margins or space between the lines, and read it through with a pencil in my hand.

I write any good expressions I think of in the margins, and look up the terminology and write that either in the margins or on a list. I try to solve all problems at this stage. Probably the nearest I get to a draft.

If it is a Trados job, I just skim the parts I know are more or less in the TM or concordance.

Then I translate on the computer, as far as possible in one flowing session ...

I check for spelling, typos etc. and print out the result. If possible I take a break, or do domething else, and I almost always make a cup of coffee!

Then I proof read my translation against the source printout. I always find things on paper that I did not see on the screen, but by this stage it is often only a comma or a small sentence I want to rephrase. There may, on the other hand, be a lot to revise, or sentences left out, so I have to be thorough. I never rely on another proof reader - very often there is no other proof reader before the end client gets my work!

Finally I read it through fast. If it is not easy to read, I have to try and improve it (but do not always succeed with solicitors' letters and certain other types of text!).

By then it's DEADLINE or bedtime...

But the client gets the best I can do!

Most of my jobs are small - less than a thousand words. I skim more in the larger ones, or divide them into sections, but in principle I work the same way.

[Edited at 2006-12-19 18:30]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Q is definitely unclear:-) Dec 19, 2006

I do several drafts.

1. I translate fairly literally, skipping things I'm not sure about and marking them in colours (depending on teh problem). This is like a 'reading' for me.
2. I revise the entire text, source against target, and resolve the problem parts.
3. I revise the target text, sentence after sentence, to ensure that the sentences fit together logically.
4. I print, read on paper and note corrections
5. I edit on screen.

So that amounts to 5 versions at least, as if the job is difficult, there may be another stage.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
Do it right the first time Dec 19, 2006

That's what they say in industry, and what they say in industry also works for us.

It does not mean you do not have to review again, but what it does mean is that when you review it the changes will be very few.

The review is still necessary because:

1.- We are still not perfect, though we must try to approach perfection more closely every day.

2.- When we review we are reading with a different perspective than when translating, so it is a part of the process that contributes something additional.

3.- Unless we can totally eliminate root causes of error (distractions, etc.) which is improbable, errors can still creep in.

But the whole point is do it right the first time, then there is no more agony.


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lanave  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:43
French to Italian
+ ...
Always Dec 20, 2006

I do the same, but 2 and 3 are in a different position:

1. draft translation;
2. compare to the source and target text to be sure that nothing is left out and there are no mistakes;
3. read the text again to be sure it reads fine.

I don't deliver my translation without following these three steps.


Mara Bertelsen wrote:

I'm curious. Do the people who answered "no" not reread their translations??? Or perhaps I misunderstand what is meant by first draft...
To me first draft is my initial translation. I then reread it twice: once on its own to be sure it reads like an original, and then again compared to the source text to be sure that nothing is left out and there are no mistakes.
I can't imagine there not being time for these simple, yet essential, steps.


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chopra_2002  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:13
Member (2008)
English to Hindi
+ ...
No, but... Dec 20, 2006

I check minutely and revise, if required, before delivering it to the client.

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