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Thread poster: Sarah Brenchley

Sarah Brenchley  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 23, 2001

I just wondered what other people thought of using this as a reference on the answer proposed page.

It seems some people are using it regardless of whether they are translating for example Spanish-English or English-Spanish. Either they ARE a native speaker of one language or they are BILINGUAL.

I\'ve even seen it put down as an accredited credential on people\'s personal page.


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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 10:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 26, 2001

Hi Colleague,

You have struck a right chord on this issue of being native or (aboriginal?). You see, in Canada French and English are native languages; similar is the case in Switzerland and many other countries. Some people like me have 2 mother tongues ( which we speak at home and did our higher education in) but they are not the native languages of the country I live in and still I am proficient and do good translations in these two languages. It solely depends on the particular gift of languages that a person has. Of course, you are speaking of those who simply cleverly flount their \'nativity\'- is it the right word ? ( the pun is mine)


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Sarah Brenchley  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Jun 26, 2001

Hi Telef,

I was really referring to two things when I posted the message.

Firstly, in my opinion the reference box at the bottom should be for references (to pages, glossaries, etc. with the term in question). Henry seems to have corrected this and now these begin with http://

Secondly, in my opinion just the fact of being a \"native speaker\" doesn\'t necessarily equip you for being a translator and putting it down regardless of whether you are translating into or from your native language seems ridiculous. After all, we\'re all native speakers of one language at the very least.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 00:57
SITE FOUNDER
Jun 26, 2001

I think it depends on the question. When translating \"how are you\", I think it is quite appropriate to say \"I know because I am a native speaker.\"



On the other hand, it must be more compelling--more reassuring--to an asker to see a medical translation backed by reference to an entry in an online encyclopedia, than to hear \"5 years in France.\"



In any case, answers with proper references get higher grades. Whether or not it is worth the extra effort depends on what is being translated.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
French to English
Jun 26, 2001

Apart from the very basic colloquial expressions and terms, I think EVERY answer should be backed up by a (web) reference source. How can an asker possibily assess whether the suggestion is appropriate for his context otherwise? Dictionaries are fine, personal experience is great but (reliable) consultable sources are surely indispensable. Is that not just where the whole beauty of the web lies - it\'s all out there waiting to be discovered?! Assessing the appropriateness and reliability of a source are part and parcel of what is needed to help the asker decide if the suggested answer is useful and/or whether or not it can be relied upon. That\'s also where the skill lies. Translation is an art but also requires analytical skills. In order to analyse, you need to have decent material to consider and compare. How can you be sure without it?

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Boonpak
Local time: 11:57
English to Thai
+ ...
Jun 29, 2001

Wow ! Henry. Your picture looks like Japanese Samurai



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xxxeurotransl
German to English
+ ...
Jun 29, 2001

I disagree with nikscot - why would an answerer waste time retrieving a webpage if he or she knows the answer (for example, from previous translation projects, etc.)?



Internet searches are fine (e.g., Google), but don\'t take them as a \"bible\".



If a professional translator has the right answer based on previous experience or his or her reference library at home, then he or she should not be required to look for some website. And the web contains too many unreliable sources. We should still trust a professional\'s experience and the \"printed word\" more than what can be found on a website (anyone can put anything on a webpage these days; putting it in a dictionary is a bit more difficult!!!!!!)


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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 10:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 30, 2001

You are very right. But in some rare cases, you can\'t get it on the Web. I have encountered such cases, but the questionner has accepted by answer,as he was fully satisfied and it fitted his context.

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
French to English
Jun 30, 2001

Yes Telef. Whilst not going as far as creating precedent the way judges are able to do in legal systems based on common law, there are occasions where the field in which one specialises is at the leading edge and where certain developments occur in one (the source langauge) country and where no equivalent term exists in the other (target language) country. Either you get round it by using a term from a \"twin\" field, by turning the phrase around or, with the client\'s agreement, in certain contexts, you can anglicise a term and/or plain create a new one. Neither purist not heretic, I do like to have a degreee of licence from time to time, espceially when it make the text sound right!

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xxxeurotransl
German to English
+ ...
Jun 30, 2001

I disagree - answers don\'t have to be backed up by Web references. I believe if a translator has the right answer, based on his or her professional experience or vast reference library, then that should suffice.



And most of the things you find on the Web do not provide the ultimate answers either; many of those \"multilingual\" sites you find are translations (some of them are even quite bad).



I do agree, however, with nikscot\'s more recent posting: when \"cutting-edge\" fields are concerned, dictionaries and other reference materials cannot keep up - that\'s when I turn to the web.



Some more advice: always upgrade your dictionaries - as soon as they hit the stores!!!



I have noticed, more recently, that many German translators still consult the old edition of Schäfer (one of the best business & economics dictionaries), even though there is a brand-new edition that covers a lot of the new and current terminology in this field (recent example from the KudoZ section: \"Datenkranz\").



The same goes for one of the \"bibles\" in legal translation (again concerning German): Dietl/Lorenz; again, too many are still using the old editions - but there is a new one!!!!!

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-06-30 20:23 ]


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
French to English
Jul 1, 2001

In reply to Werner Patels (Eurotransl/CTrans?).



In my last posting, I made in clear that the quality of references is all. The beauty of the web is that it enables an asker to check the source for himself. Two issues : checkability and reliability.



1 - CHECKING : The problem with an answerer quoting a dictionary source is that the asker has no way of double-checking. (Take it as read that he can of course do his own searches afterwards to see show the suggestion shapes up). Many questions provide insufficient context and chosing the right word from a dictionary in such circumstances is tricky for the answerer. If an URL is provided, the asker can check it out (context, reliability, validity in terms of date, as langauge evolves...). The responsibility is his after all.



2 - RELIABILITY : I was not suggesting that the sheer number of hits indicates anything at all. I qualified what I said as follows :



\"Dictionaries are fine, personal experience is great but (reliable) consultable sources are surely indispensable. Is that not just where the whole beauty of the web lies - it\'s all out there waiting to be discovered?! Assessing the appropriateness and reliability of a source are part and parcel of what is needed to help the asker decide if the suggested answer is useful and/or whether or not it can be relied upon. \"



It is up to the asker to assess which of the proposed answers best fits. The more useful context he has, the better. It is not uncommon when checking out a webref given to find that the suggested term comes from a \"translated\" site and that the quality of the rest of the language shows you that this source cannot and should not be relied upon. If you are viewing a national original government or university (source langauge) document for example - and you have the opportunity to view a like target language source (untranslated) - then perhaps you are in a better position to judge.



As we all know, many terms do not exist in dictionaries and without the web noen of this would be possible. In the 5 years I have been using the web in my wrok, were it to be amputated from my working toolbox, I would be rendered completely inoperational.





[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-07-03 13:39 ]


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
French to English
Jul 1, 2001

I agree wholeheartedly about updating dictionaries. You have to!



Likewise, catalogues (source language) and similar (target language) materials absolutely have to be kept up to date. You can of course pay for access to online dicos which are obtainable in hard copy format but which will not be updated without major regular re-purchase investment, whereas the online versions are updated as and when required.



This is where the web comes in. You cannot work as a translator without it!



Example : yachting. One particular piece of deck gear is given one name by supplier X and another one by supplier Y. The first problem is finding out which company supplied the particular piece of gear on a particular boat - look on the web. You then have to check the supplier\'s site to see what he calls it - look on the web. Knowledge of the field is important as the term in question is usually easy to find in a dictionary. The difference is that no-one uses the term in question, even in highly technical reports, and that you have to have some way of checking what term is used currently. Your credibility plummets otherwise. Without the web this would be impossible.


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xxxeurotransl
German to English
+ ...
Jul 2, 2001

Right on - nikscot.



It was not my intention to discard the idea of web searches altogether; rather, it was about being more careful about what you find on the web.



I still believe that if I find the term in question in one of my reliable and fully up-to-date dictionaries, then it should suffice by way of an answer.



Also, there is the experience factor. Sure, many askers neglect to give you the full context, but an experienced translator will still know, in most cases, what the asker is after.



For me, web searches serve the following purposes:





  • if one of my dictionaries has an entry for the term I am looking for, but if I have doubts about the actual use of that suggested translation, I will do a web search.



  • with new fields, or fast-growing fields, I will always consult the Internet, no doubt (and who really owns a yachting dictionary??? Would you spend a vast sum of money on it for, perhaps, just one translation job every 2-3 years? )



[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-07-02 15:52 ]


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
French to English
Jul 3, 2001

Yes, Werner, I agree.

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