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Unreadable text: What is 'translated'?
Thread poster: Clifton Silvers
Clifton Silvers
Local time: 17:57
Thai to English
+ ...
Jan 3, 2007

I have a very old birth certificate which contains text that has faded and is totally illegible. How does one translate this? Are there strict guidelines as to how this is done?

Respect.


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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 13:57
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Square Brackets Jan 3, 2007

Translators comments are generally in square brackets. If you can somehow guess, place your translation in square brackets with a comment like "uncertain". If the quality is so bad that you cannot take an educated guess, write "[illegible]". That way, you are protecting yourself.

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Nadia-Anastasia Fahmi  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 13:57
English to Greek
+ ...
Or else, Jan 3, 2007

You could ask the client whether they can send a better copy or, even better, if their copy is not illegible, whether they could OCR it and send it to you.

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Carole Paquis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:57
Member (2007)
English to French
Agree with other comments Jan 3, 2007

Hello,

I agree with the two preceeding comments.
You first ask the client if they have/can have a better version that one could read.
If not, you make a translator's note.
I have been known to do that for official documents like birth certs and the Consulate was happy with it.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:57
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
If the text is not in your native language... Jan 3, 2007

(as is often the case with me - I get scrawled Russian handwriting to decipher sometimes)... it is worth while co-operating with someone who is, to look at the bits you can't decipher and see if more can be got out of it. This service will have to be paid for, of course, unless you come to a mutual agreement to co-operate in the same way with the other person concerned.

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Clifton Silvers
Local time: 17:57
Thai to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Translator's notes in [brackets]? Jan 3, 2007

Nadia Fahmi wrote:

You could ask the client whether they can send a better copy or, even better, if their copy is not illegible, whether they could OCR it and send it to you.


My thanks to everyone.

Is it safe to assume that translator's notes of any description belong in [brackets]?

Nadia, would it be possible to highlight what the term OCR means for a newbie?


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:57
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
OCR = Optical Character Recognition Jan 3, 2007

Hi Clifton,

I'm not Nadia but this is one of the definitions of OCR available on the web:

http://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/electronicrecords/erglossary.html#o
"Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
OCR is the recognition of printed or written text characters by a computer. This involves analysis of the scanned-in image, and then translation of the character image into character codes, such as ASCII. OCR is being applied by libraries, businesses, and government agencies to create text-searchable files for digital collections. OCR is also used to help process checks and credit card slips and sort the mail."

Steffen


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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 13:57
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Concur with Jack Jan 3, 2007

I also occasionally get handwritten Russian material. It is obligatory to give a Russian native speaker who has a much better intuition what is written. I check his English, which tends to be academic. So, it works out over a period of time.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:57
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
What about a footnote? Jan 14, 2007

Clifton Silvers wrote:

Nadia Fahmi wrote:

You could ask the client whether they can send a better copy or, even better, if their copy is not illegible, whether they could OCR it and send it to you.


My thanks to everyone.

Is it safe to assume that translator's notes of any description belong in [brackets]?

Nadia, would it be possible to highlight what the term OCR means for a newbie?


If the illegible word is on its own (a name or figure, for example) I'd put "illegible name" or "illegible figure" in square brackets.
If more detail is needed, or a guess at what the phrase might be, I'd put a footnote entitled "Translator's note". "Microsoft Word" is brilliant at footnotes, which can be formatted just like regular text.


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