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Off topic: Tips for Translators and Interpreters
Thread poster: Maria Luisa Duarte

Maria Luisa Duarte  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:09
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Dec 13, 2003

Dear colleagues,

Some tips on this cold Saturday evening, all the best for the week-end.
MLD


A language
The interpreter’s dominant language, into which he or she is competent to interpret professionally. Usually, but not always, this is the interpreter’s native language.

B language

Language other than the interpreter's dominant language, in which he or she has native language competence and into which he or she is competent to interpret professionally. An interpreter may have one or more B languages.

Active languages

(1) The language or languages into which an interpreter is competent to interpret professionally.

(2) The term is also used in meetings & conventions to mean the target languages into which interpreting is provided. For example, in a convention where all presentations are to be given in English and interpretation is provided into Spanish, French, and Russian, these three would be the active languages, while English would be the passive language.

Dominant language

This term has two distinct meanings:

(1) the language of primary competence, the language that a person knows best, which may or may not be the person’s native language. For example, in the case of immigrants educated primarily (or exclusively) in the US, although their native language may be other than English, their primary language competence is in English, not in their native language.

(2) the language spoken by the dominant class, the recognized standard of correct grammar and usage. Some examples would be "the King's English," "New York Times English", the Spanish prescribed by the Real Academia, etc. The more usual term for this is standard language.

Mother tongue

A good example of a literal translation. In English we say native language.

Native language

The first language learned by a person, which may or may not be the person’s dominant language or language of primary competence. Native speakers can have a grossly inadequate knowledge of their native language, particularly when they have been brought up and educated in a country where a language other than their native language is spoken.

Native language competence

Oral and written command of a language equivalent to that of a person born, educated, and living in the country where that language is spoken.

Native speaker

A person who speaks the first language he or she learned, which may or may not be the person’s dominant language or language of primary competence. Native speakers can have a grossly inadequate knowledge of their native language, depending on their education and the country where that education was obtained.
For example, a person born in Mexico who immigrated to the United States as a child and received all his education here, is a native speaker of Spanish but will have a very limited knowledge of that language; his dominant language will be English.

Passive languages

The languages from which an interpreter is competent to interpret professionally. The term is also used in meetings & conventions to mean the languages from which interpreting is provided.
For example, in a meeting where all presentations are given in English and interpretation is provided into Spanish, French, and Russian, English is the passive language and Spanish, French, and Russian the active languages.

Equivalent language

The language of the equivalent time period and class or profession in the other language. For example, if the source text is an article published in a US medical journal, and the target language is Spanish, the equivalent language would be the language used in medical journal articles published in Spanish-speaking countries at around the same timeframe as the original.

Language pair

(1) The two languages a translator or interpreter translates from and into. (2) The source language and target language of a translation or interpretation. (3) The two languages an interpreter works into (active language) and from (passive language) during a given interpretation. See also language combination.

Language school

A business set up for the purpose of teaching foreign languages. Many language schools profit from the popular misconception that being fluent in or a native speaker of a language qualifies a person to translate. Language schools usually offer the lowest quality translations.

Dialect

What constitutes a dialect and what to do about it is one of the most misunderstood concepts in translation, perhaps second only to the "native speaker" syndrome (the pernicious idea, promoted by some language schools, that being a native speaker qualifies a person to translate).
Every major language has regional and class variations, but more importantly, every language also has clear standards and guidelines for correct and incorrect grammar and usage.
Although there may be times when it is appropriate to write in a regional or class dialect (targeted advertising comes to mind), business communications (and this includes technical writings, contracts, legislation, financial statements, etc.) must always be written in standard language.

Idiomatic translation

A translation that conveys the meaning of the original, or source text, by using equivalent language and the forms and structures of the target language, in order to produce a translation that reads like an original.

Per-word rate
Industry standard for assessing cost of a translation. The per-word rate can be quoted based on the source word count (original text) or the target word count (translated text). Since there can be enormous differences in source and target word counts, depending on the languages involved, when comparing estimates for a translation be sure that the per-word rates you are comparing specify either source or target text.

Freelance interpreter

Self-employed interpreter, who works for a variety of clients on a per-meeting basis. Often specializes in one or more particular fields, such as legal, financial, medical, or technical.

Freelance translator

Self-employed translator, who works for a variety of clients on a per-project basis. Often specializes in one or more particular fields, such as legal, financial, medical, or technical.

Interpreter neutrality

The concept that establishes that the interpreter’s job is to convey the meaning of the speaker’s discourse and under no circumstances may he or she allow personal opinion to tinge the interpretation.

Translation agency

As the term is used, it may mean anything from a one-person operation to a large company, but it usually refers to a business that provides translation services by subcontracting work to freelancers.

Translation broker

A person who is not a translator or interpreter, but acts as middleman between clients and freelance translators, interpreters, and interpretation equipment companies.

Translation company

A business that provides translation services, both through in-house and freelance translators. They may have particular areas of specialization, such as technical, medical, or legal, and offer value-added services such as typesetting, publishing, and project management.

Word count

A standard measure of the size of an original or a translated text. In the US, translation projects are normally priced on the number of words of the target text, but sometimes they can be priced on the original. Since word count can vary enormously between languages, it is crucial to specify whether the per-word rate being quoted refers to the source or target language.

Word-for-word translation

Translation that closely follows every word in a source text. A word-for-word translation usually reads like nonsense, but at times it can be quite amusing. A good example is machine translations.






























[Edited at 2003-12-13 20:35]


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Valeria Verona  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 20:09
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Re: Dec 14, 2003

Interesting stuff!
Thank you ML
Valeria


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