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Poll: Do you notice when more than one person has contributed to writing the same source text?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:30
SITE STAFF
Jan 30, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you notice when more than one person has contributed to writing the same source text?".

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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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Cecilia Civetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:30
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Jan 30, 2008

My answer was Yes. But... if I didn't notice, how could I know I didn't notice? I would think it was written by only one person, when it wasn't.

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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Disorganized clients Jan 30, 2008

In general, different authors for one and the same source text doesn't have to be something negative, provided that the client is well organized and keeps up the communication between the contributors.

In source texts from some of our clients, however, we can always notice that there hasn't been this communication. In some cases only the style is different (e.g. different style in titles etc,), in worst case we find differing terms for the same component, module etc. For longer documents, i.e. manual with several hundreds of pages, we are sometimes convinced that the translator is the first person ever to read through the complete document from first to last page.

After such troubles arise, we often inform our clients (after all, it's for their benefit) and in some cases the client understands the problem and really invests some more time and effort for their next order.

Erik


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amky
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 16:30
English to Arabic
+ ...
sometimes Jan 30, 2008

My answer was sometimes because nearly most of the time it is unnoticable especially if you are reading a general subject.

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Sandro C  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:30
English to Georgian
+ ...
Most of the times noticeable Jan 30, 2008

If a text is edited very thoroughly the differences might not be very noticeable, but usually I can see the difference by the choice of vocabulary, sentence structure, etc ...

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:30
Italian to English
+ ...
Sometimes Jan 30, 2008

Cecilia Civetta wrote:

My answer was Yes. But... if I didn't notice, how could I know I didn't notice? I would think it was written by only one person, when it wasn't.


... and that's the reason why!


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xxxJon O  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:30
Dutch to English
+ ...
Do you notice when there are a lack of interesting/meaningful poll questions? Jan 30, 2008

This is the most pointless question I think I've ever come across.

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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:00
German to English
Translation related poll questions Jan 31, 2008

Hi Jon,

Jon O wrote:

This is the most pointless question I think I've ever come across.


It's a translation related question.

When I first joined ProZ.com, there used to be a lot of more off-topic and very interesting poll questions that got a lot of response, but people started complaining that the questions were not translation related. I guess it's difficult to please everyone!


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Lisa Roberts  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
Only once Jan 31, 2008

On the whole, not really. However, one particular source text had been cobbled together in such a way that it was impossible not to notice. For some reason or other, parts of it had been written in Spanish, and other parts had been translated into Spanish from Arabic. Oh, what a joy that translation was

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:30
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Some writers are much easier to translate than others! Jan 31, 2008

It is easy with some of my corporate clients - the writers sign their texts
When a job consists of several contributions by different writers, I deliberately try to vary the style of the translation to match.

Last week I almost had what a recent poll called 'translator's block' over a job.

Superficially, it was easy enough to understand, peppered with words like 'service' and 'expertise', but really difficult to render in decent English. The source was strictly correct, and on the surface looked typical for the business area concerned. Admittedly not my favourite area, but one I work with regularly and can usually handle. Here I had to analyse the sentences carefully to find out exactly what they were getting at, and unravel knotty syntax that called for a high level of reading ability even in Danish.

Mercifully it was only 1000 words long, and I did manage to meet the deadline. For better or worse, the same writer had written the lot

On other occasions I have translated larger texts for clients in that sector, and can quite easily see where one writer thinks clearly, uses the language and punctuation confidently, and puts a point across. Then a colleague takes over, or has revised a few passages here and there, and the style is quite different...

If I get a 'patchwork' like that, then I try to even out the differences to produce a consistent text at the ‘best’ level, to suit the target group.

What I really find difficult is where some writers try to 'help' by using a lot of expressions imported from English! Then I really have to check and double check to make sure these expressions have not undergone a subtle change of meaning on the way. And let's admit it, I have no idea what some of the buzz-words you will find in a game of B*llsh*t Bingo really mean... Some writers have their favourite global jargon, while others can write clearly in the source language. And some should be asked to keep to accounting, engineering, whatever they're good at, but keep away from writing anything others are expected to read and understand!



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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 07:30
German to English
Yes Jan 31, 2008

I proofread a project recently which was worked on by a team of 4 translators. I didn't know their names, so I thought of them as "the American", "the Really Good One", "the One with the Dodgy Sentence Structure" and "the One Who Doesn't Spell-Check"...

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Sandra Petch
Local time: 14:30
French to English
+ ...
This gave me a good laugh! Jan 31, 2008

Hilary Davies wrote:

I proofread a project recently which was worked on by a team of 4 translators. I didn't know their names, so I thought of them as "the American", "the Really Good One", "the One with the Dodgy Sentence Structure" and "the One Who Doesn't Spell-Check"...



Thanks


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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:30
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Oh G-d YES!!! Feb 6, 2008

Oy, this made me laugh!!

Hilary Davies wrote:

I proofread a project recently which was worked on by a team of 4 translators. I didn't know their names, so I thought of them as "the American", "the Really Good One", "the One with the Dodgy Sentence Structure" and "the One Who Doesn't Spell-Check"...


But it's really only funny if you're not involved...

I edited a similar project recently.
Two original source text writers, both German academics, one trying to prove that he can write more complex sentence structure than anyone else. For those who translate German: nested extended adjectival modifiers. Lots of them.

Two translators, the one who generally got it right, and the one who didn't spell check, mislaid the subject, and incorectly expanded abbreviations. Since I still got the spelling errors, perhaps they both didn't spell check...

The abysmal translator was the intial one, then it was corrected by the better translator, sentence by sentence, so it read like a text with split personality. (This sentence is fine, this clause is nice, whoa Nelly! what happened here?)

Add the two academic authors and it was simply painful.

I have never been happier to get rid of a project.


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