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The sales process for translators – Interview with Paul Urwin (podcast)

Source: Marketing Tips for Translators
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

We talk a lot about marketing at Marketing Tips for Translators, but not very much about what happens after the marketing, when you actually have to start selling your services. Some people consider this part of marketing, some people consider it a separate strategy. Today I have the pleasure of discussing the sales process with Paul Urwin, a translator and translation company owner. More.

See: Marketing Tips for Translators

Direct link to podcast: http://marketingtipsfortranslators.com/?powerpress_pinw=1390-podcast

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Anthony C. Yu, translator and scholar of religion and literature, 1938-2015

Source: UChicago News
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Anthony C. Yu, a scholar of religion and literature best known for his landmark translation of the Chinese epic The Journey to the West, died May 12 after a brief illness. He was 76.

Yu, the Carl Darling Buck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and the Divinity School, introduced a comparative approach to the study of religion and literature that drew on both Eastern and Western traditions. Over his distinguished career, he made contributions on figures as wide-ranging as Aeschylus, Dante, Milton and William Faulkner. His work engages Chinese religions as well as classic texts of Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. More.

See: UChicago News

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How to use Google to determine which candidate translation to use

Source: About Translation
Story flagged by:

Few tools are as ubiquitous in the translation world as Google: we use it all the time to search for the meaning of obscure terms. But Google searches can do much more than that: they can help us determine which of several candidate translations is the best, or the most used (the two things may not coincide) in our target language.

For example a legal translation I’m doing at the moment mentions “buyer’s remorse”. According to Wikipedia, “Buyer’s remorse” is “the sense of regret after having made a purchase. It is frequently associated with the purchase of an expensive item” – something, I’m sure, most of us have experienced at some time or another.

The meaning is clear, but… how should we translate this into Italian?
A few candidate terms come to mind: “rimorso”, “pentimento”, and “ripensamento” “del compratore” or “dell’acquirente”.

By performing an advanced search in Google, we can restrict our searches to only sites in Italian and/or sites from Italy.

The results I found are:

Candidate translation
# of hits
rimorso del compratore
rimorso dell’acquirente
pentimento del compratore
pentimento dell’acquirente
ripensamento del compratore
ripensamento dell’acquirente
2170
1400
2
122
347
4270

Now things are clearer: “pentimento” (which was the translation that first came to my mind) is clearly out: too few hits in Italian pages. The two “rimorso” entries are plausible candidates, but, in my opinion, rimorso is not the most appropriate word here: it’s almost a false friend in this context – still, they may be what’s used in Italy, so they remain as term candidates. Of the final pair of candidates, “ripensamento del compratore” is clearly used much less than “ripensamento dell’acquirente”, so this latter now becomes my leading candidate. More.

See: About Translation

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Platform developed for Translators without Borders now available to ProZ.com corporate members

Source: Translator T.O.
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

After delivering over 25 million words, the translation center used by TWB is now being offered for use by ProZ.com corporate members in their own work

TWB translation center
“ProZ.com built and maintains the ‘translation center’ platform for the humanitarian organization Translators without Borders.”

Created as a Humanitarian Tool, then Improved Organically

In the days following the Haiti earthquake of 2010, we at ProZ.com, together with many others in the industry, tried to help in any way we could. The Paris-based organization Translators without Borders had been overwhelmed by an unprecedented number of volunteers (many of them ProZ.com members). TwB requested that we create something to help them process applications. In response we built a screening tool, and it proved useful enough that TwB decided to standardize on it.

That screening center helped right away, but it began to be clear that the manual approach to project management that the organization had been using (i.e. email) was going to limit its ability to scale. We were asked (and inspired!) to do more to streamline operations. One-by-one, in response to requests from Translators without Borders, we added features that enabled them to automate all aspects of their processes: translator sourcing, client communications, and so on were improved. More.

See: ProZ.com’s official blog, the Translator T.O.

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Nunavut Tunngavik wants more federal funding for Inuktitut

Source: CBC News
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Nunavut language commissioner says funding has stayed the same for 10 years

A Nunavut land claims organization is not satisfied with the recent language program funding received from the federal government.

The territory received $1.1 million for Inuktitut and $1.6 million for French. The funding supports areas like health, early childhood programs and communications.

“We have to be concerned,” said James Eetoolook, vice-president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. “Why is the Inuktitut language taken with very limited funding? Smaller than any other language?”

He said it’s not fair because more Inuit live in Nunavut than French speakers and Inuktitut is in danger because more kids are speaking English.

“We all know that English and French are the official languages of Canada” he said. “Don’t forget the Inuktitut language is one of the official languages recognized in our area.”

Nunavut Languages Commissioner Sandra Inutiq shares Eetoolook’s concerns. She said federal funding for Inuktitut language programs has been the same for 10 years.

She said there needs to be more equitable funding for Inuit language programs because language loss is accelerating.

See: CBC News

Related Translation News post:

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Lost for words to dreaming in French – one week of language immersion in Lyon

Source: The Guardian
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Despite many attempts, I had never quite got to grips with French. But by the end of a week-long immersion I learned more than in 15 years of false starts

I realised immediately it wouldn’t have hurt to prepare an opening gambit. As my host opened the door and showered me in French, instead of introducing myself I shuffled shyly in with a smile that my rising panic threatened to turn into a grimace.

This was a sobering moment: I’d arrived in Lyon to do a week-long French immersion course for beginners and my first taste of immersion left me floundering. I cobbled together something that bore little resemblance to what would traditionally be recognised as a sentence: more like a kind of Franglais charades (“Ahhhh, oui!” plus “mon avion”, accompanied by pointing at my watch and gesturing backwards to indicate my plane was late). And the most sobering thing was that, despite barely being able to string a sentence together, I wasn’t a beginner in the language at all.

I first started learning French 15 years ago at secondary school, although I now remember more about the effort I channelled into not falling asleep in our after-lunch classes than I do about the actual lessons. Nevertheless, I came out the other side of standard grade French equipped with a firm grasp of the full spectrum of nouns relating to stationary, and some sentences to describe hobbies – mostly ones that I didn’t have. Then, content with reaching this staggering level of conversational ability, I dropped languages altogether. More.

See: The Guardian

See also: The case for language learning | The Guardian

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Women in Translation update

Source: love german books
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Things are ticking over in the world of thinking about how and why women writers are underrepresented in translation, and how to change the situation. We had a panel on the subject at the London Book Fair in April. The video isn’t online yet but I’ll add it to this post when it is.

Then there was a panel in New York called “Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: Women’s Voices”. I’ve linked to the video, and Susan Bernofsky also wrote about the event at Translationista. There’s some useful statistical material compiled for the event on the basis of the Three Percent data on translations published in the US, available online at Women in Translation.  In addition, Margaret Carson also provided these figures:

Of the titles in English translation last year:

19% are by women authors translated by women (WA – WT)
13% are by women authors translated by men (WA – MT)
25% are by men authors translated by women (MA – WT)
43% are by men authors translated by men (MA – MT)

Of the titles in translation by women authors:

60% were translated by women, 40% by men

Of the titles in translation by men authors:

63% were translated by men, 37% by women

Very soon afterwards, Meytal Radzinski at Biblibio posted her own statistics on the US and some thoughts on what on earth is going on – plus some useful advice on what individuals can do about it. Interesting observations: in the US, the balance is better in poetry, and women don’t actually dominate as translators. More.

See: love german books

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Breaking Bulgarian: Why translation can be heartbreak

Source: Publishing Perspectives
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

[...] Breaking the Bulgarian structure out of the sentences and turning it into an equally strong and evocative phrase in English is a lot like doing 50 pushups. It’s painful and exalting. And one day, you get better. But sometimes you cry and swear, becoming haunted by Nabokov’s seminal, merciless essay, “The Art of Translation”:

“The next step to Hell is taken by the translator who intentionally skips words or passages that he does not bother to understand or that might seem obscure or obscene to vaguely imagined readers; he accepts the blank look that his dictionary gives him without any qualms; or subjects scholarship to primness: he is as ready to know less than the author as he is to think he knows better.”

We must not only strive to retain the meaning, we must oblige the melody, Nabokov says. In Bulgarian, there’s a band of single syllable expressions that, when strung together, can accelerate into massively potent, utterly untranslatable exclamatory phrases. “A, kak li puk ne!” has a slightly malicious, confrontational undertone which is a thousand years in the making and no “Yeah, right!” can possibly do it justice.

The Russians give their aristocrats French phrases, which translators are quite happy to italicize. The reader is simply expected to speak passable French. But in Bulgarian, many less words are in French than they are in Turkish, nodding not to some aristocratic vein, but bowing their heads instead to five hundred years of spiritual oppression and slavery by the Ottoman Empire. Poturchen, for instance, literally means “enturked” or to have have been forced to give up Christianity in the name of Mohammed. Figuratively, it means to be lost, never to be found again. How do you translate that? More.

See: Publishing Perspectives

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Translation pricing: Should we charge hourly rates?

Source: Language Blog Translation Times
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

For today’s quick post, we wanted to touch on something that we’ve been thinking about a lot: the way translators charge for their services. Traditionally, translation services in the U.S. have always been billed by the source word, meaning the translator will know exactly how much she or he will charge the client before the process starts. And the client has an exact figure, which is helpful for them. In Germany and Austria, translation is usually billed by the source line (a line being 55 characters).

Changing existing pricing structures can be difficult, and most translation agencies have established processes based on per-word rates, so we speculate that there won’t be too much change there in the short term. So that’s why we will focus on direct clients here. We work only with direct clients, and not surprisingly, most have no idea how many words are on the documents/websites they need to have translated because as opposed to translators, they’ve never thought on a per-word basis. On most documents, it’s easy to count the words, but things get trickier with PDFs and with web-based content. For the past few years, we have started quoting many projects by the hour, because we feel that an hourly rate is something most clients understand quite well, as they are used to paying that for other professional services, such as lawyers, CPAs, therapists, etc.

We also like this approach because it elevates our profession in a way and puts it more on par with other professional services and moves away from this “piecemeal” approach that sometimes comes with per-word pricing. And ultimately, it’s all about making clients happy, and in our (not necessarily representative) experience we feel that clients have been pleased with the hourly approach. We also like this pricing structure because it makes sense to most clients. For instance: say a client brings you a five-page last will and testament. If you submit a quote for five hours’ work (for instance) at your hourly rate of, say $100/hour, that’s transparent and easy to quantify and understand. More.

See: Language Blog Translation Times

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Time planning for translators – the ultimate answer to coping with workload

Source: TermCoord
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Ruined nights, tones of e-mails sent to clients with apologies, family life in pieces, no time for yourself, empty fridge, stress overload. How many times did that happen to you? (It must have happened at least once to everybody, so be honest here!)

We’re all busy, trying to meet deadlines and still provide quality translations. How many times last week did you tell someone that you’re too busy/awfully busy/terribly busy? Do you see how negative that became? And we are all envious when we meet someone who is also busy, but can still stuff more things to do every day. Do they sleep less? Do they eat fast food? Do they give up their free time? No. There are translators out there who know how important it is to plan their time.

Time planning leads to proactivity

By planning your time reasonably and carefully, you can take a more proactive approach. Instead of just letting your tasks feast on your time (making you oh-so-busy throughout the week), you can write down everything you have to do and how much time it should take you. You’re no longer just reacting to whatever comes your way, but you’re consciously planning your work. When I first started planning my time, I was amazed that I could do some things in 2 hours (instead of 5) just because that was my schedule. And I can do much more now, with everything planned in my calendar! More.

See: TermCoord

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László Krasznahorkai wins the Man Booker International prize 2015

Source: Three Percent
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Yesterday afternoon, as we were recording Three Percent podcast #99, it was announced that László Krasznahorkai had won the 2015 Man Book International Prize, becoming the only the sixth winner of the biennial award, and the first winner since Ismail Kadare in 2005 who doesn’t write in English.

From the judges:

In László Krasznahorkai’s The Melancholy of Resistance, a sinister circus has put a massive taxidermic specimen, a whole whale, Leviathan itself, on display in a country town. Violence soon erupts, and the book as a whole could be described as a vision, satirical and prophetic, of the dark historical province that goes by the name of Western Civilisation. Here, however, as throughout Krasznahorkai’s work, what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical.

[...]

For winning the award, Krasznahorkai will receive £60,000, and he “has chosen to split the £15,000 translator’s prize between two translators, George Szirtes (who translated Satantango and The Melancholy of Resistance) and Ottilie Mulzet (who translated Seiobo There Below).”

Read the full post in Three Percent here: http://www.rochester.edu/College/translation/threepercent/index.php?id=14562

See also:

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A gathering to connect indigenous language digital activists in Colombia

Source: Global Voices
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Colombia is linguistically diverse with more than 60 indigenous languages spoken by approximately 1 million people across the country. These living languages contain rich cultural traditions and knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Many indigenous communities face unique challenges as they seek to ensure that the next generation maintains their native languages. However, the rise of technology and the Internet has provided a special opportunity for communities to create new digital content in their native language, while connecting with others that share their same objective of language revitalization.

Internet users in Colombia actively utilizing the web and digital media tools to promote and revitalize their native languages online will have the opportunity to gather in Bogotá for a Gathering of Indigenous Language Digital Activism on June 18-19, 2015. This event, which is co-organized by Global Voices through its Rising Voices initiative, the Caro and Cuervo Institute, alongside research group Muysccubun with the support of Hivos, will bring together 15-18 participants from across Colombia to share experiences, learn and teach new digital skills, and take part in conversations about the challenges and strategies for indigenous language revitalization through the use of the Internet. More.

See: Global Voices

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Professionalism in the age of social media

Source: Carol's Adventures in Translation
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

[...] Professionalism is a word we hear a lot as translators. As an unregulated industry, we naturally need to set, maintain and enforce our own standards, so that we’re taken seriously by our clients and the wider world. Professionalism is not a new idea by any means, but there is a relatively new dimension to it that we have talked very little about: the effect that social media is having. Yet, as a new phenomenon that is damaging our industry’s reputation, we do need to talk about it.

Professionalism is a subjective word. Typically, though, many would associate this concept with politeness, empathy and fundamentally not insulting other industry members. These attributes should be inherent of any person who runs their own business, not just translators. Just imagine if we as freelance translators had to be interviewed for the job like any other – no-one would hire us if we lacked these qualities, and quite rightly so.

While freelancers naturally find it harder to draw the line between our personal and professional lives, our presence on social media exacerbates this. We have professional profiles on social media, but we often become close to our colleagues and accept them as friends on Facebook. This amity is incredibly admirable and I wouldn’t change this principle for the world. But social media are making it easier for us to be unprofessional. More.

See: Carol’s Adventures in Translation

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European Union to become monolingual

Source: Kontax
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The decision in May 2015 by the European Court of Justice, ruling against Spain’s complaint about the discriminatory nature of the unified patent process, is indicative of the slow but sure trend of the EU to become monolingual.

The decision in May 2015 by the European Court of Justice (1), ruling against Spain’s complaint about the discriminatory nature of the unified patent process, is indicative of the slow but sure trend of the EU to become monolingual.

Spain rightly claimed that the new patent protection system is discriminatory, since patents must be filed in English, French or German in order to be applicable – excluding EU citizens who do not speak any of those languages. Their claim was rejected on 6 May.

The process is not new. The European Patent Convention (EPC) was signed in Munich on 5 October 1973 and entered into force on 7 October 1977. Even then, the official languages were English, French and German.

The reason for the recent change in the patent process, supported by Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK (but none of the other EU member states) is the cost and time required to translate patents. More.

See: Kontax

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Global English: Promises and pitfalls

Source: Translators Family Blog
Story flagged by: TranslateFamily

It sometimes feels like our world is getting smaller by the day. The ongoing rush of globalisation is bringing nations and cultures together like never before – making translation a more essential business than ever. It’s no wonder, in this climate, that some businesses are looking for a one-size-fits-all method of communicating with the world… but is Global English really the solution they’re looking for?

It’s known by many names – International English, World English, English as a Lingua Franca, and many more besides. The premise is simple – it’s supposedly a variant of the language that belongs to everyone, not just the British or the Americans who give their names to the two most popular dialects. It’s the end point for a fairly logical train of thought: standardisation helps businesses increase efficiency, particularly in a global context, so can’t we standardise the language we use on as broad a scale as possible? But as tempting as the idea sounds, it has serious flaws – as our article explains. In truth, there is no such thing as “Global English” – or at least no standardised version of it.

We’ve been here before, of course: projects like Esperanto and Interlingua have shown that while the idea of a standard international language might be a wonderful utopian dream, it’s very difficult to make it work in practice. In our blog, we discuss the potential pitfalls facing translators and businesses who work with this latest contender for universal-language status, and explain why people should be wary of adopting it right now. It’s not all negative, though: we also show the real benefits that come with addressing an audience in a language they’re most familiar with, proving once again that translation works best when you take the time to do it properly.

What do you think? Are we on course to all speak the same language ten years from now, or fifty, or a hundred? Would you take on a translation job into Global English? Read our article and let us know what you think in the comments.

This is the summary of an article published in the translation blog of Translators Family, under the title Global English: promises and pitfalls, by Oleg Semerikov and Translators Family.

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10 fascinating interpreters who changed history

Source: Listverse
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The gift of gab has been invaluable throughout history, with interpreters playing a key role in war and peace throughout the ages. Often they simply fade into the background, but not always. Here are 10 interpreters that had great influence on the world.

10. Thomas Pereira & Jean-Francois Gerbillon
9. Alexander Burnes
8. Estevanico
7. Tisquantum
6. Karl Gutzlaff
5. Sarah Winnemucca
4. Boubou Penda
3. Gaspar Antonio Chi
2. Felipe
1. Constantine Phaulkon

Read the full article in Listverse here: http://listverse.com/2015/05/11/10-fascinating-interpreters-who-changed-history/

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Unreasonable expectations for machine translation are based on blind faith in the infallibility of technology

Source: Patenttranslator's Blog
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

[...] Machine pseudo-translation is not going to change my line of work that much. It is useful for many things, for example for identifying patents that do not need to be translated by a human. But its capabilities seem to have reached yet another a plateau. The statistical method developed by Google is much better than the decades-old, rule-based attempts to use software to simulate human thinking. But why is Google’s approach so much better? Because it is based on human thinking. A sentence that is so cleverly translated by software sounds perfect only because it was originally translated by a clever human.

An algorithm will sometime find a perfect or almost perfect match for another sentence in another language. But often, perhaps due to a difference in one word, or a misplaced comma, it will say the opposite of what was in fact meant in that other language. How do you overcome this dilemma? More.

See: Patenttranslator’s Blog

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‘Le selfie’ enters dictionary as France learns to embrace the unbearable

Source: The Guardian
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

‘Bitcoin’, ‘captcha’ and even ‘community manager’ now officially part of French language despite complaints of English invasion

Two of the bibles of the French language, the Petit Larousse encyclopaedic dictionary and Le Petit Robert, have developed a few new culinary and artistic tastes.

On Monday, the editors announced the latest editions would contain 300 new words and expressions including “focaccia”, “biryani”, “goji” and “vegan”.

Showing it is moving with the times, and in defiance of the Académie Française’s diktat’s on anglicisms, the 2016 Larousse will include what Libération described as the “unbearable” word “selfie” – plus its Québécois equivalent “égoportrait” – as well as “big data” and “open data”, “community manager” and “bitcoin”. It will also include the term “captcha” for those annoying series of numbers and letters websites demand to prove the user is human.

Notable cultural additions will be the celebrated veteran French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, actor Michael Caine, the British street artist Banksy as well as the Rosetta space probe and Pixar studios. More.

See: The Guardian

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What makes language interpreting different from translation?

Source: OxfordWords Blog
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The seemingly straightforward question ‘So, what do you do for a living?’ sends professional interpreters into an existential quandary; we struggle how to best answer this polite enquiry. Should we describe ourselves as translators or interpreters? The reason this question poses such a conundrum is that it is never easy to explain to others what professional conference interpreting truly involves. As it turns out, the most typical response to our carefully thought-through and well-delivered explanation is, ‘Ah, so you are a translator!’ This oft-heard response reveals that the line separating the disciplines of translation and interpreting remains blurred for many people, but if we explore each in a little more detail it will soon become clear that the professionals from each discipline engage quite different skills.

Defining translation and conference interpreting

By defining both translation and conference interpreting as disciplines that allow multilingual communication, whether oral or written, we acknowledge that the common denominator is language. However, there are some important differences in the ways in which language is used. The written word requires quite different techniques from the spoken word, so that professionals from each discipline work in contexts that appear as different to each other as night and day. This is one of the reasons why it is rare to find individuals working across both disciplines. When putting pen to paper, the professional translator must express the source text’s ideas in the foreign language with precision, remaining faithful to the content, style, and form of the original. The translator is focused on dissecting a written text and scrutinizing it to identify its meanings, intricacies, shapes, and colours. It is an activity that requires time, reflection, and constant rewriting to ensure nothing is ‘lost in translation’. More.

See: OxfordWords Blog

See also: Guest blogger Lourdes De Rioja’s blog, A Word In Your Ear

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Last-minute solutions in official translations

Source: Translator T.O.
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

[...] The translation of official and court documents, such as decrees, judgments, certificates, authorisations, Powers of Attorney, Powers of Authority, last wills, Retention-of-Title clauses, etc. belong to a separate field within the translation industry. As such documents are either crucial pieces of evidence in a legal process or the product of some procedures, official and court documents depend on accuracy and precision. Therefore, they adhere to a separate set of rules when it comes to solving specific issues, such as signatures, stamps, illegible text, errors, typos, etc. Although these rather small issues might seem insignificant to some translators, when not handled correctly, an illegible signature or stamp might be the cause of serious consequences related not only to the accuracy and authenticity of an official document, but also to an entire procedure where the document might be a piece of crucial evidence or otherwise important information.

Many translators with little experience in the area of translation related to official and legal documents, resort to different solutions when faced with things they do not know what to do with. Unfortunately, such solutions are mainly incorrect. The list provided here should be regarded only as an attempt to identify the most common problems a translator is faced with, offer some solutions how to resolve them and thus provide a comprehensive review of suggestions related to some of the afore-mentioned issues, such as illegible text, handwritten insertions, errors, typos, stamps, signatures, etc. The list is actually a compilation of instructions derived from various translation instructions and style guides included in so-called Purchase Orders (PO) that agencies supply translators with when assigning translation jobs to them. Hopefully, the translation business will find a way to standardise problematic areas in translations, thus transform these last-minute solutions into standard techniques to be used by all professionals in the business. More.

See: ProZ.com’s official blog, the Translator T.O.

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