Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Non-native speakers and quality control
Thread poster: Libero_Lang_Lab

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Jul 29, 2002

At the suggestion of Proz moderator, Marta, I\'d like to (re-?)open the subject of whether members of the community should be able to promote themselves as translators OUT OF their native tongue for any given pairing.

I have recently joined Proz and over the last month have been hugely impressed by many aspects of the site. In terms of engendering a sense of community, providing a self-help and mutual help resource, and an interface between translators and clients, the site is clearly a wonderful thing... But now my gripe

My language pairing is Russian-English. I am a (British) English native speaker, hence I offer translation services OUT OF Russian and INTO English. I have been doing this on and off for 10 years, have a diploma from the IOL etc. etc. I don\'t claim to be the best at what I do, but I am comfortable that I can back up the professional claims that I make for myself.

If you do a search on proz.com for translators who offer the same pairing, you will come up hundreds and hundreds of individual entries. I would guess that 80% of these are Russian native speakers. Most of these people may be very good translators, and I do not question their ability to translate from English to Russian for one second. But are they really qualified to translate into English? With a few bilingual exceptions, of course not. Yet because they can offer rates that are much lower than qualified translators in, say, the UK and USA etc. they will often be an attractive alternative to those who, in these times of narrowing margins are looking to cut costs . My sense is that, by allowing non-native speakers for any language pairing to promote themselves as professional translators - unless of course they are bilingual or can demonstrate native-level proficiency - proz.com is going against the ethics of the profession and doing a huge disservice both to those translators who are qualified for that language pairing and ultimately to those, who through a mixture of pennypinching and lack of understanding of the translation business, farm out work on the cheap. Some may see this is as the sour grapes whinging of someone unable to face up to the realities of globalisation or to the fact that they have chosen for themselves a language pairing in which the competition is extremely stiff. But I\'d really like to think that I can see beyond my own wallet.

I think that this is a serious issue that challenges the fundamental ethics of proz.com and one that needs to be addressed.





Direct link Reply with quote
 

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Just curious.... Aug 3, 2002

... to know whether the lack of responses to what I felt was a properly considered and reasonable topic of discussion is down to the fact that I am just recycling a debate that has already been well covered (in which case, my apologies - any chance sb could point me towards previous relevant threads?), or if it is somehow considered taboo? It was not designed to be contentious or inflammatory, simply to initiate discussion on a subject which I consider to be of real importance!
[addsig]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 03:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
it's come up before Aug 3, 2002

If you search for \"non-native\" in the search box at the top, you\'ll see previous forum postings where the issue was at least touched on.



A \"native speaker certification\" was also proposed at one time, offered by Proz (see http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&eid_c=15969&post=1656#1656.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
About ProZ Aug 4, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-08-03 18:52, danski wrote:

It was not designed to be contentious or inflammatory, simply to initiate discussion on a subject which I consider to be of real importance!





And it is.



But you are assuming that most participants will be interested. How professional and ethical can someone be when they are starving? Not much.



Despite its name, ProZ is for anyone and everyone (not only true language professionals), so real pros get lost in the avalanche of desperate, usually non-paying but otherwise content users of the site.



Sad (for us), but true.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Yasser El Helw  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:16
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
With all due respect, being native doesn´t say much Oct 25, 2002

Do you mean to say that the average American or British citizen speaks and writes English better than Pakistan´s Benazir Butto or Sudan´s Sadek Al Mahdi? Whether we like it or not English has become the language of the world elite. Education and class, to my disappointment, has become synonymous to mastery of English. I have seen so called natives of English who are absolutely pathetic.

My personal view is that to be in total control of the language of the original text is much more important than to be a \"native speaker\" of the target language. Dear colleagues the first step and the most basic is to UNDERSTAND the original.

Best regards,

Yasser


Direct link Reply with quote
 
OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
English to German
+ ...
One of many discussions of that topic Oct 26, 2002

http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&topic=5622&forum=15&60



Direct link Reply with quote
 

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Response to Yasser Oct 28, 2002

Yasser

Perhaps it is the definition of \'native\' which needs qualification - or rather, perhaps to avoid ambiguity (and potential accusations of discrimination) I should replace it with the term: \'native-standard English speakers\'. That\'s better I think. I would be happy to see Benazir or anyone else with her level of English commenting on Proz, regardless of the colour of their passport! And I agree that just being a native speaker doesn\'t serve as a guarantor of quality - far from it. But there are still too many people - on the English-English board especially - offering advice on correct usage when they patently haven\'t got a clue how to construct a simple sentence in English. Basically, I stand by my original point, but agree with some of your observations.



Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:16
Russian to English
+ ...
my take on it... Oct 28, 2002

Dan is right, of course, as is Yasser. To Dyran I would just say that people don\'t usually do their best work when they\'re starving. Something to keep in mind when hiring a translator.



But I wonder what people really mean when they list languages in their profiles. For example, I put Ru-Eng and Eng-Ru in my profile although I would never take a job translating into Russian (and would be suspicious of anyone who offered me one). But I do interpret into Russian frequently, so it seemed valid enough.



Basically, I think everyone (translators and agencies and clients) gets what he/she/it deserves (asks for) in a sense.



take care (and a grain of salt!)

E


Direct link Reply with quote
 

diana bb  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 04:16
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Non-native Speakers Translating Into Non-Native Languages Nov 4, 2002

I\'m one of these criminals, Dan.

I\'m doing it because I like it immensely, and because I feel comfortable and quite confident about it, too. I work with a professional British editor and I think the results of our joint activities are quite bearable, so to say.

Regarding native - non-native, I think that just because the non-natives are what they are, they do not take many things for granted. This, I find, is very often the case with native translators. You think you know something 100%, and then it turns out you could have looked up a word or two after all. Don\'t you agree? Can you swear that you ALWAYS check your answers (speaking of ProZ)?

You might find it a weak point. But things like this do happen, and you know it very well. I do, too.



Best regards,



Diana



Direct link Reply with quote
 
manducci  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:16
Italian to English
agree Nov 4, 2002

I agree with Dan entirely. Of course it\'s a problem that is not limited to working via the net but something all bona fide native translators are up against. Non-natives come at half the price and the results invariably speak for themselves - you get what you pay for after all. I take the points of the non-native respondents above regarding the abilities(or lack of) native speakers, but the fact remains: a non native translator - regardless of his/her abilities will never be able to produce the same quality of translation as a native translator. I live and work in Italy but wouldnt dream of taking on a job in Italian myself . I work with a small team of translators(Italian native and Spanish native) and therefore feel justified in listing these language pairs on my proz page. I disagree with Yasser that the most important thing is to understand the source language. Leaving aside the question of proficiency in the language, without the cultural references of the truly native speaker, a non-native can\'t hope to compete on accuracy and register.I am a freelance teacher of English and also teach students training to be translators who have excellent language skills but will never be able to achieve the standard of a native speaker. The native v non-native question is particularly pertinent to English as it is such a dynamic language and therefore usage is constantly changing. What other language has to produce new dictionaries every 2 years in order to keep up with current usage? To translate in any particular language you have to \'own\' that language. Answering questions on proz in your non-native language is one thing, promoting yourself as a translator of that language is quite another. Sure, there are conscientious professionals out there who use editors to check their work, but my guess is they are not the majority - getting someone to edit your work costs, and if you\'re already quoting below the average rate you simply can\'t afford that luxury.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

diana bb  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 04:16
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Not quite so - to Manducci Nov 4, 2002

Imagine a non-native translator who has been translating in a particular field for ten years, who is very well acquainted with the jargon, the latest developments etc. Do you want to say that he or she is unable of producing well-articulated translations in that area? And that an educated native will do a better job of it? I don\'t agree.

Actually, a lot depends on what one is translating. Fiction - yes, I agree with you. But even if you take fiction - are you sure you\'ll grasp every nuance of the language that you have learned, no matter for how many years you\'ve been studying it. Not sure. I don\'t remember in which thread I read it, but an opinion was once voiced that first of all a work of fiction should be given to a speaker of the language in which a work is written, and only then to a native translator. There was also an excellent example from Bulgakov to illustrate the point. What about the so-called \'small\' languages, like my native Lithuanian, for example? Do you think you can find many natives who are able to produce a satisfactory Lithuanian-English translation?

Also, you should not forget that those who are devoted to what they are doing take genuine interest in new dictionaries, usage guides, and what not. For many of them reading fiction is no longer a pleasure, for they are looking at the language, and making use of what they find.

The issue is not that simple and does not deserve jumping to hasty conclusions and generalisations.



Regards,



Diana







Direct link Reply with quote
 
Yasser El Helw  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:16
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
A comment from a starving translator who comes at half price!! Nov 8, 2002

First of all I would like to thank the tautologist for partially agreeing with me. As for you Manducci, you speak of \"cultural references of the truly native speaker\", if culture were a problem how could an English native translate from or into American English? Understanding the \"cultural references is most important for the source language, don´t you think? My dear Manducci the same culture dominates all over the world (which is a pity, if you want my opinion). About the dynamic nature of the English language, in my opinion most of these new words that have to be added every two years are terms that evolve from rapidly advancing sciences like IT or new genetics. These new terms are assimilated into other languages without being translated (which is a big problem). It is this kind of highly specialized translation that Diana bb is speaking about and not cheap novels.

Yasser


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 03:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
case in point Nov 13, 2002

I think the following, taken from the Spanish > English Kudoz section (Pro) is quite telling. This is what the asker wrote in the space for the question and context:



\"No participó ni es parte ninguna otra sucursal de dicho Banco



This is part of a credit granted where things where awry



Bank X did not took part, neither any of its branch became a party ??



I needed better phrased\"



Hmm. \"Did not took?\" \"neither any of its branch became?\" Just think about it... this is what this asker has attempted as a translation!



I think this really serves to illustrate Dan\'s original post in this thread. While I have no doubt that there are a few people who, for whatever reason, are capable of translating into a language other than their native one, they are the exception rather than the rule. The rule, I\'m afraid, is more often similar to what we see here (though not usually quite so flagrant, I\'ll admit).



My two cents (and for the record, even after 15+ years in Spain, I stick to translating into English.)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Andrea Bullrich  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:16
Member
English to Spanish
On starving and being professional Nov 13, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-08-04 13:59, Dyran wrote:



How professional and ethical can someone be when they are starving?





Hi all,



I\'m Argentinian, I\'ve always lived in Argentina, and as much as I hate to admit it, I\'ve seen enough people go through hard times to realize that it\'s true, you can\'t expect everyone to be professional when they are starving. I don\'t know about ethical, though. I\'m not sure where you to draw the line between unprofessional and unethical either, but I\'ve seen enough examples like the one Cindy posted above to know that this is a problem in the Sp>Eng subcommunity, and we need to discuss this.

I\'m saying this now because, I repeat, I\'m in Argentina, and I have all the problems of other translators living here, but I sometimes get the feeling that talking about these things is not PC, or reflects a lack of solidarity (\"look, this is somebody in a sinking ship, give him/her a break...\"), but is being Argentinian/Russian/whatever an excuse for not knowing your limitations?



Andrea

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-11-13 16:06 ]

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Yasser El Helw  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:16
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Answer To Cindy Nov 14, 2002

What do you think matters most, \"15+ years in Spain\" or \"native\"? I´ll give two examples:



FIRST CASE: A native speaker of English who studied Spanish for two years in London and spent a summer in Malaga decides to start a translation career. Do you think that he will be able to translate Spanish>English better than ANY Spaniard?



SECOND CASE: (A real kudoz example, just like yours)

Question: Depresible (Spanish)

Context: Abdomen: blando, depresible, no doloroso a la palpacion superfial y profunda.

Native English speaker answers: Supine

This answer was chosen as most helpful by the Asker (another native English speaker).



CONCLUSION:

- Being native of (or mastering) the target language helps.

- Being native of (or mastering) the source language helps.

- Being familiar with the subject is VERY important.



I hope nobody gets offended but being a native speaker of the target language is no guarantee.



Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Non-native speakers and quality control

Advanced search






CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
Quiick
Want to earn more in your spare time? Monetize your knowledge!

Do you speak one or more foreign languages? Fluency in target language + willingness & ability to help people in everyday situations could earn you $45 / hour. Download “Quiick Angel” app & become a guardian angel today

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs