traslation of badly written texts
Thread poster: Elizabeth Kelly
Has anyone experience with translating texts, written by non-native speakers. The text is hard enough to understand. Should I make it perfect in the translated version? Appreciate any advice.
| | Anne Koth
Local time: 16:19
German to English
| what's the alternative? || Mar 30, 2006 |
emkelly wrote: Should I make it perfect in the translated version?
I can't think of any other way to do it
I'd suggest double-checking any ambiguous or particularly strange phrases with the author, asking them to explain it in more detail.
Also, make it clear when you accept the job that you are not responsible for any mistakes (of meaning) in the target text caused by errors in the source text.
| Perfect, maybe or maybe not || Mar 30, 2006 |
Should I make it perfect in the translated version?
Well, I believe that it depends on the purpose of the text. Sometimes the mistakes may contain some information about the writer, such as if the writer is angry or not.
I suggest smoothing out the mistakes that you are sure, or have confirmed, are not part of any important sub-text.
| Depends on the text || Mar 30, 2006 |
I once translated some articles about China written in euhh... English? by a Chinese scholar. There was no way to contact the author (texts were some 15 years old).
Because it was going to be published as a part of an encyclopaedia in Spanish, it didn't make any sense to make a Spanish version as bad as the English was, so I had to research a bit harder to make sure my interpretation of the text really made sense.
However, there are other cases where being more literal is mandatory, say, in court cases or when translating a character's speech in a movie, and such.
As a rule of the thumb, if the way things are said is really important, I stick to the source text. If not (when it comes to instructions, manuals, explanations, etc.) I try to make the translated text easy to understand.
Granted, if you can contact the author, that's an advantage, but make sure you make specific questions, eg:
- On page 5, paragraph 3, when it reads "John and Mike were in the park. Then he fell", what does "he" refer to, John or Mike?
I've found out that being very specific in your questions helps a lot. If you can make the author choose between option a and option b, it'd be easier than if s/he has to explain the whole concept in other words.
Hope this helps.
PS: Oh, and I've experienced that with native speakers too
[Edited at 2006-03-30 11:49]
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| | GoodWords
Local time: 09:19
Spanish to English