Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Why are translators called linguists?
Thread poster: xxxtechnospeak
xxxtechnospeak  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:03
English to French
Dec 31, 2008

Hello!

On many websites, calls for tenders, etc., I continually come across the term "linguist" referring to what is actually a "translator".

Linguistics and translation are 2 different things. While studying linguistics I very rarely had to focus on translation questions.

Happy new year to all!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 19:03
German to English
+ ...
why? Jan 1, 2009

because we are more than just rote mechanics; we are experts in language, thus linguists. (though technically you are right ... PR, of course, is aimed at evoking emotion; not reason)

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Ali Bayraktar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
IMHO Jan 1, 2009

Happy new year,

IMHO such kind of separation needs to be used in Literature, Art.

As you know there are a lot of translators whose primary subject is not language or translation. (For example:Bilingual IT Specialists, Engineers, Scientists, Technicians, Lawyers etc)

In literature and any other subjects related to art of writing a linguist is a must.


Shortly what I understand from difference between them:

A linguist - Is a producer
A translator - Is a distributor


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxtechnospeak  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:03
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
misunderstandings about linguistics Jan 1, 2009

It seems to me that translators are primarily concerned with translation, maybe even _only_ concerned with translation. At least they should...

As to linguistics, I think there are some misunderstandings about what it is or what it is not.

Here is a definition I've found: The study of the nature, structure, and variation of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxwonita
China
Local time: 20:03
Just for advertisement Jan 1, 2009

A linguist is an expert who studies language in a scientific approach. Therefore, when I refer to me as a linguist, I am expressing that I am good and thorough at languages, which makes good advertisement for my business.

Though strictly speaking, I doubt if I am one.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 02:03
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
An umbrella term? Jan 1, 2009

Probably because 'linguist' is supposed to act as an umbrella term, encompassing the various roles freelancers perform. In addition to translation per se, this would be editing, proofreading, linguistic QA, evaluation, etc, etc.

I don't object to this kind of usage. What I do get annoyed about is when I, personally, am called a linguist. I may be many things, but a linguist -- a researcher of languages -- I am not!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 19:03
German to English
Applied linguistics Jan 1, 2009

Subject-matter knowledge doesn't alway suffice when translating. A lot of what we do has to do with analysis of language. It helps to have a good understanding of the deeper structures of the source language when working with poorly-written texts. Knowledge of etymology certainly helps when coming across neologisms created by authors. Being able to identify when the present tense in the source language should be the future tense in the target language depends on linguistic knowledge, not subject-matter expertise.

I don't see a problem in referring to language professionals (translators and interpreters alike) as "linguists." Or even "cunning linguists."


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:03
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Totally agree with Kevin Jan 1, 2009

Kevin Fulton wrote:

Subject-matter knowledge doesn't alway suffice when translating. A lot of what we do has to do with analysis of language. It helps to have a good understanding of the deeper structures of the source language when working with poorly-written texts. Knowledge of etymology certainly helps when coming across neologisms created by authors. Being able to identify when the present tense in the source language should be the future tense in the target language depends on linguistic knowledge, not subject-matter expertise.

I don't see a problem in referring to language professionals (translators and interpreters alike) as "linguists." Or even "cunning linguists."



Exactly my thoughts as well.

Monika


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 17:03
German to English
Translators as linguists Jan 1, 2009

I think it makes sense to distinguish between people who translate and people who translate intelligently. A proper translator is more than just bilingual. To use Chris Durban's words, he or she is usually a "language-sensitive native speaker."

From "Getting it Right" - an ATA client education booklet available in print and online.

Professional translators work into their native language

If you want your catalog translated into German and Russian, the work will be done by a native German speaker and a native Russian speaker. Native English-speakers translate from foreign languages INTO English.

As a translation buyer, you may not be aware of this, but a translator who flouts this basic rule is likely to be ignorant of other important quality issues as well.

OK, there are exceptions. But not many. If your supplier claims to be one of them, ask to see something he or she has done. If it is factually accurate and reads well, and if the translator guarantees equivalent quality for your text – why not? Sometimes a translator with particular subject-matter expertise may agree to work into what is for him or her a foreign language. In this case, the translation must be carefully edited – and not just glanced through – by a language-sensitive native speaker before it goes to press.

Translators and bilinguals – look closer

Professional translators are first and foremost writers, capable of producing texts that read well in the target language. They are generally fluent in their source language(s) as well. Most important of all, they are effective bridges between the languages they work in; they can render the message of the original text, with appropriate style and terminology, in their native language.
Bilingualism is something else. Bilinguals speak two languages fluently, but are not necessarily good at moving information between the two, especially in writing. And experience shows that many people described as bilingual over-estimate their communication skills altogether.

Chris Durban, author of the Onion Skin
http://accurapid.com/journal/03onion.htm


Direct link Reply with quote
 

autor  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 00:03
Member
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Oh to be a linguist! Jan 1, 2009

It is possible for an individual o translate one language pair, perhaps leaning heavily on personal experience in a specialised field, without ever having heard, or having spoken, one word of the source language. Is this person a linguist?

To me, a linguist has a broader range of talents - eg can speak the language as well as translate it, and can often apply his or her skills to more than one source language. Sometimes I come across such people in the best agencies - and then I know I'm not one!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sushan Harshe
India
Local time: 04:33
English to Hindi
+ ...
Translator and Linguist; both are a different business! Jan 1, 2009

There is a vast difference between linguist and translator. Normally subject expert translators can not discuss with grammatical terms may be because they know the subject, they are best in terms of strong terminology of there native language but knows nothing about making of the language. Where though linguists can provide you a perfect sentence structure but may fail to translate the heart of the source to his native language; because he is not the subject expert. A linguist may not prove as a good reviewer simply as like a translator may not give a perfect LQA. These all are different and vast skills and your profession expects these ALL in ONE.

[Edited at 2009-01-01 17:59 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:03
German to English
+ ...
Why are translators called linguists? Jan 1, 2009

In the US, a "linguist" is usually someone who has studied linguistics.

In the UK, "linguist" usually refers to someone who has studied or become proficient in one or more foreign languages. The UK's Chartered Institute of Linguists, for instance, is open to professional translators, interpreters, language teachers, and members of other professions in which proficiency in a foreign language is required. Many of those in the UK who have studied linguistics also claim exclusive use of the term "linguist", however.

Most people in the UK would, I think, consider translator to be a sub-category of linguist, i.e. a translator is by definition a linguist. I have also seen "linguist" used to distinguish translators who have a background in academic language study (of whatever kind) from those who do not (typically graduates from other disciplines), although I don't know how widespread this usage is.

Marc


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:03
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
This could be the gist Jan 1, 2009

Marc P wrote:

...professional translators, interpreters, language teachers, and members of other professions in which proficiency in a foreign language is required. Many of those in the UK who have studied linguistics also claim exclusive use of the term "linguist", however.

Most people in the UK would, I think, consider translator to be a sub-category of linguist, i.e. a translator is by definition a linguist. I have also seen "linguist" used to distinguish translators who have a background in academic language study (of whatever kind) from those who do not (typically graduates from other disciplines), although I don't know how widespread this usage is.


Translation courses are relatively new, while linguistics courses have been around longer. The earliest academic translations of the modern era (i.e., from the Enlightenment onward) were usually of a scientific nature entrusted to people who had studied language in this sense. (Remember Latin was still very much around and often constituted a stumbling-block to dissemination).


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robin Salmon  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 09:03
German to English
+ ...
Linguist is a general term Jan 2, 2009

As we all know, usage of a term becomes established according to how people use it, whether it is ever considered as being used correctly or not.

I don't know about the States, but any head teacher/principal in a school in UK or Australia is likely to be heard saying, "We have enough scientists for next year but we are short of linguists".

I believe most people consider anyone working with languages, obviously including translators and interpreters, to be "linguists".


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:03
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
And how about dubbing actors called "voice talents"? Jan 2, 2009

I think these things are just so that the job sounds nicer and more interesting I reckon.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


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

Moderator(s) of this forum
Maria Castro[Call to this topic]

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

Why are translators called linguists?

Advanced search


Translation news





SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »



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