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Translating books from hard copy or file?
Thread poster: Noe Tessmann
Noe Tessmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
English to German
+ ...
Jul 7, 2003

Dear colleagues,

could tell me someone of you experienced translators the common practice for translating books (literature, science, philosophy). Do editors provide you with a file, so that you can use CAT-tools or you just buy the book in the shop and start translating? Are CAT-tools taboo for literary translators?

Is it worth to scan books, run an OCR application and create PDF's or Word-documents?

I would appreciate your opinion on this issue

Cheers

Noe


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Egmont
Spain
Local time: 17:34
Afrikaans to Spanish
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BOOKS... Jul 7, 2003

Noe Tessmann wrote:

Dear colleagues,

could tell me someone of you experienced translators the common practice for translating books (literature, science, philosophy). Do editors provide you with a file, so that you can use CAT-tools or you just buy the book in the shop and start translating? Are CAT-tools taboo for literary translators?

Is it worth to scan books, run an OCR application and create PDF's or Word-documents?

I would appreciate your opinion on this issue

Cheers

Noe
I have translated more than 200 books directly from the hard copy but you are right now...it is better to use the new media...if possible.


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Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 17:34
English to Hungarian
+ ...
You'll be provided with a hard copy Jul 7, 2003

Until now, I translated only novels and there, I could not make much use of the original files or of a scanned version, so I never bothered about it. Still, the ideal environment for a translator is a paperless office, I think, and so, if it is a book on science or technology, you might give an attempt to getting the book in an electronic format (preferably some editable version, not just pdf).

The advantage of working from the hard copy is that no formatting is required from the translator, the maximum requirement to me until now was to indicate the places of the pictures to be inserted.

Have fun: I just love translating books because they typically are written well (as opposed to say, business presentations or even some legal stuff).


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
German to English
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?! Jul 7, 2003

"buy the book in the shop and start translating" - this is a joke, right?

Some people actually prefer working from hard copy as they argue that not having to look at the screen all the time is better for the eyes.

Personally, I find it much easier to work on the screen. I would rather keep the author's formatting, however bad, than have to produce my own, however basic. So I charge a surcharge for hard copy. Whether you think CAT tools are worth using is up to you, but consider the possibility of being offered the next edition, and how much easier it would be with a TM.

Marc


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Marcela García  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:34
English to Spanish
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Hard copy Jul 7, 2003

In my experience, the book publishing house that asks for the translation of a book, has a hard copy (usually a sample that another publisher sends). What you can do is 1) translate from the hardcopy, 2) scan the book and then use a pdf reader to convert it into a word processor file. This second option can take a lot of time, though.

Good luck!

Marcela


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Noe Tessmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
English to German
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TOPIC STARTER
Files from the editor? Jul 8, 2003

thank you for all your input, but nobody seems to have got a file from the editor or the autor. The time when authors gave handwritten sketches to the editor is over. The author writes his book on the screen and hands over a file to the editor where the typesetting is done. So why have the translators to scan books, do OCR and spell checking to get a digitalized version?

Cheers

Noe


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:34
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
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It can be tedious both ways Jul 9, 2003

My experience is limited. The first book translation came from the author himself, who had got it into print recently and saw a chance to get it printed throughout Europe. So he sent me his textfile as email and the Book as PDF, because he works on a Mac and never could accomplish, that his Wordfiles were readable on a PC or vice versa. The work was very interesting, and as he started to convert my translation into Pagemaker-file we had a lot of communication, because in German the text was 10% longer, and adjustments had to be made to get the photos fit in as in the original.
My second book project came through a person, who had no experienced about the translation business. First it was agreed apon, that the job would be in Word-files, but actually I got a CD with both Pagemaker and PDF and was supposed to translate directly in Pagemaker, of all things!
Of course it would have made it cheaper for the customer, but my work would have doubled at least.
Together with the layouter we convinced the person in question, that modern translation uses TMs and other tools, which are directly connected to Word, so I got permission to translate the text in Word.
There were lots of drawings with legends and tables, and when I started to convert the pdf into Word I noticed, that lots of paragraphs were dislocated, the captions came after the text or the tables instead of at the top etc. And of course the paragraph-marks at every line had to be removed manually befor it could be trusted to Wordfast.
I haven't seen yet the finnished book, probably the layouter had a lot of fun with putting my text back into pagemaker!

One reason, why editors do not like to hand out material in electronic form is the fear of piratism, I guess.


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Palko Agi  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
English to Hungarian
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sometimes it is better to be away from the computer Jul 9, 2003

I have translated 31 novels - all from hard copy. Anyway, with literature you don\'t really want to use CAT tools, there are no repetitions. I only use electronic glossaries arranged by the authors - it helps. Once I tried to scan the text and work on the screen but I realised that I enjoy spending part of my work-time away from the computer. E. g. I read the text first, make notes etc. in an armchair or in my garden
If technical, scientific text - definitely ask for a file.


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Noe Tessmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
English to German
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TOPIC STARTER
Scanning the work of other translators? Jul 11, 2003

Bence Ági wrote:

E. g. I read the text first, make notes etc. in an armchair or in my garden
If technical, scientific text - definitely ask for a file.


Hello Bence

I see your point, it's really to stay away from the screen as long as possible,
actually I think about translating Philosophy and I started to scan the originals of already translated books from the same author to have a browsable document. So I can look-up key terms that have already been translated, and I don't have to reinvent the wheel every time. Most of the time it's not helpful to translate e.g. Heideggers Dasein in every book in a new way. Anyway you have to know what people have done before you.

Nowadays you can have Western Literature on one browsable CD. You can find any word and see where and how often it has been used. What would happen if every with a CAT-tool translated book would be added to an enormous database. Anyway most of the time, we don't have copyright on the work we deliver. This would the be the dictionary of tomorrow. You will find any word in any context in good and bad translations. That's what we are doing when we look for multilingual websites and change the language code in the URL.
Any phrase linked to its correspondances. The language code to the world?
The Library of Babel?

Cheers

Noe


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