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Poll: Is there a translator's "sixth sense"?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:06
SITE STAFF
May 31, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is there a translator's "sixth sense"?".

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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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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:06
English to Polish
+ ...
You mean? May 31, 2007

When I see an English translation that says "forced labour" and I am supposed to divine that it was supposed to say "workforce"?

Pawel Skalinski


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Perhaps: a mind that has learnt not to trust anyone? May 31, 2007

To me it looks like the question is about grasping things in a text or conversation other people don't see. In that sense, a requirement of our work is to understand what is really meant, not what is said, and trying to say the same in the target language without being disloyal to the words used by the originator.

Is that a sixth sense or simply a mind trained not to trust anyone and to dig the extra inch in the meaning?


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Kristina Radziulyte  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 15:06
Member (2006)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Perhaps May 31, 2007

If only translator is woman:) Kidding. Six sense refers to psychological factors, not to a particular profession.

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Paulo Celestino Guimaraes  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:06
Member (2001)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes,, absolutely May 31, 2007

"sixth sense" or if you wish "touched by the hand of God", you name it..

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Maria Diaconu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 15:06
English to Romanian
Agree with Pawel May 31, 2007

PAS wrote:

When I see an English translation that says "forced labour" and I am supposed to divine that it was supposed to say "workforce"?

Pawel Skalinski


Yes, this is our "sixth sense". Fully agree


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes May 31, 2007

Whatever you call it, you must have it.

It also helps to be somewhat eccentric (that is, what others might describe as a bit touched in the head).

That´s why the others often have a hard time figuring out what we do.


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Sp-EnTranslator
United States
Local time: 08:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
yes, but... May 31, 2007

I'd rather call it common sense rather than sixth sense.

or talent, intelligence, a sense for words and meaning.



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Valery Kaminski  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 16:06
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
I also agree with Pavel May 31, 2007

This is our telepathy. Examples are numerous.

You read in Russian smth like "She was wiping the dishes with a towel which was much longer than necessary" and start wondering. Then you have a look at the original text -
"She was wiping the dishes with a towel much longer than was absolutely necessary".


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David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
Figuring out the meaning of bad copy takes something... May 31, 2007

Try these, all from from a recent job:

appropriate conversation adaptor >> conversion adaptor
valve water passage down steam may be plugged >> downstream
potterwork >> patternwork

My translator's sixth sense didn't help with potterwork, though I did figure the other two out (and many others in this job).


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:06
Member (2004)
English to French
I don't know about a sixt sense May 31, 2007

but I can certainly say I have a "déformation professionnelle" (professional bias) and can't resist correcting mistakes in French wherever I am and pointing (and enjoy doing that) them out to the person who made them, or store owners, etc.
The last time it happened, it was at a hardware store. There was flat white base paint for the ceiling with the mention: mât à plafond (instead of mat). With an accent it means mast, like on a ship.


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 10:06
SITE STAFF
Yes! May 31, 2007

My sixth sense is better that some of the first five

Cheers,
Enrique


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 07:06
English to Russian
+ ...
No May 31, 2007

Because the sixth sense has no material base and what is implied here as translator's sixth sense is but general education, knowledge and experience hidden until called for, sometimes unwittingly but it was already there, stashed till better times. We do not just feel that something is wrong with the language representation. I think a few of our brain cells go from sleeping to active mode when triggered by an appropriate external stimulant.

Everything else relates more to a generic meaning of sixth sense and savvy rather than to some translation-specific miracles. Never saw a newbie with much of a translator's sixth sense.

IMHO. If I understood the question correctly, that is.


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xxxPeter Mills
Local time: 13:06
English
No May 31, 2007

There is common sense mixed with experience. To call it a "6th Sense" is to give ourselves airs and graces we do not deserve. We are no more blessed with special powers than the average toilet cleaner. It's just that we have to deal with more crap than they do.

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María Eugenia Wachtendorff  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 10:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's called "training"! May 31, 2007

I fully agree with Irene and Peter. Everybody develops what seems to be a "sixth sense", from librarians to surgeons to doorkeepers

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