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Poll: You find a source text "difficult" when:
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:33
SITE STAFF
Jun 21, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "You find a source text "difficult" when:".

This poll was originally submitted by MariusV

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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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
All of the above, and then some Jun 21, 2007

There's another category that's as difficult as a text with very poor linguistic quality: text of very high linguistic quality.

Literary texts in which the author has done wonderfully elegant and complicated things with language are especially tricky. You have to figure out what makes it "tick" and then create something in the target language that functions similarly and means essentially the same.

[Edited at 2007-06-21 13:51]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:33
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
All of the above, and Steven's addition too Jun 21, 2007

Texts can be difficult for all those reasons. I think "Which do you find most irritating?" would have been a better question. So taking each category in turn

Highly technical: Can certainly be difficult but may also be stimulating and rewarding, enabling you to learn more about the technical field in question, whether it's one you normally work in or not.

Poor linguistic quality: This probably means something written by a non-native speaker of the language, particularly someone who has an inflated opinion of his own knowledge of it. Irritating and not rewarding, unless you feel you have succeeded in making a silk purse target text from a sow's ear source text.

Isn't cohesive or coherent: Just irritating. However you translate it, you are left wondering whether you are conveying what the writer meant to say or not.

Very high linguistic quality: Certainly difficult, but can be interesting and rewarding as you try to bring your own literary level up to that of the original.

[Edited at 2007-06-21 15:28]


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Anne Patteet  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:33
English to French
+ ...
"Other", Jun 21, 2007

as in "all of the above". I agree with Steven and Jack: we can either be stimulated or irritated by a difficult text.

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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 08:33
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Poor linguistic quality Jun 21, 2007

A source text is difficult when it has a poor linguistic quality. It happens very often when people use English and they do not speak it. Awful outcome and waste of time.

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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
poor quality, lack of coherence Jun 21, 2007

I find technically difficult (or, as Steve noted, very literary) texts to be stimulating and fun, even if they are "hard work," too.

But what drives me nuts--and it seems to be my daily fare--is writing that is just plain sloppy.

Right now, I'm dealing with a document written in haste. The Spanish speaker has used many words not in the DRAE, and other words are misspelled. It is littered with sentence fragments.

On top of those problems, the writing isn't coherent. I really don't have a clue what the author is trying to say. The client encouraged me to ask for clarification and more specific information, but it's taking me a long time to write these queries.

As Jack said, that's what IRRITATES me the most!


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 15:33
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Technically difficult is always easy for someone.... Jun 21, 2007

...but trying to sort out incoherent writing is so trying!

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ancylostomiasis
Local time: 22:33
Chinese to English
+ ...
I hate those text when... Jun 21, 2007

too many abbreviations were used.

[修改时间: 2007-06-21 17:39]


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Elena Carbonell  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:33
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
All of the above Jun 21, 2007

I find it very irritating when I get a text in Word with the forced line break. Wordfast considers this breaks as a segment so I have to copy the text, paste it in InDesigh and do a Find-Replace (which is more advanced that the one in Word) to replace this line breaks for single spaces. Copy the result and paste it back to word.
I also find it very irritating when I get two languages in the same document.
And what about translating what they really mean in place of translating what the texts says?
I never had the experience Steve is talking about... Sad.


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Paola Giardina  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 11:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Definetely when it's poorly written Jun 21, 2007

Sorry, but I hate texts when they're poorly written and I also have to correct them and "suggest" the clients some corrections in their own language.
It takes me an extra time, never paid, of course...but as I can't leave it that way....
It finally helps my work as translator, without which it becomes practically impossible.
Transforming pdf into word, and images as well, adds an extra trouble, specially when I do not have much time to edit the text and the client wants it "almost equal" to the original...my God!


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:33
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
poor linguistic quality Jun 21, 2007

and ILLEGIBLE. That's really hard for me.

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Fernando D. Walker  Identity Verified

Local time: 11:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Coherence and... Jun 21, 2007

Sometimes, it happens that a text was originally translated from the original language into English and then you have to translate it into Spanish, for example. And there comes the problem... Today, I was translating a text that was not coherent and cohesive so I have problem understanding some parts of the source texts. It is not a problem when you can ask the client for that part that you did not understand, but when time is not on your side... sometimes you can get really nervous... Well, we ALWAYS need to give our best.
Best,
Fernando


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 08:33
Spanish to English
poorly written Jun 21, 2007

I enjoy highly technical texts, no problem, but there is nothing like a poorly written technical text, where you are looking for vocabulary that just doesn' t exist.

A fellow translator told me that one of her client's said that they didn't see the point in writing well as it was just going to be translated. An interesting point of view.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:33
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
poorly written Jun 22, 2007

I sometimes feel sorry for colleagues who have to translate poorly written, non-native English into something they can feel satisfied with... They ask me what I make of passages of pure gibberish, and I have to admit I'm stumped too as often as not. User manuals with no pictures can be a nightmare!

Looking at my in tray this week, I'm tempted to feel sorry for myself! Two 'proofs' and a complaint (about someone else's attempt to translate). I would simply refuse to have anything to do with them, except that they are from good clients and I have been given the green light to start again completely with one of them! The others are very short.

Mercifully, the same clients usually send source texts in good Danish or Swedish, which may be challenging, but rewarding. They provide TMs and explanations of terminology and technical points... That is the kind of difficulty that gets me up in the morning and keeps me on my toes!



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Hermann  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
English to German
+ ...
This week I turned down a job Jun 22, 2007

which was written in appalling English (clearly a translation from another language by a non-native). It felt really good afterwards. I think as professionals we should take such a stance now and again.

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