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"Professional human translators" or crowdsourcing gone bad?
Thread poster: Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 17, 2016

I recently bumped into a website owned by a major translation agency. In it, they claim to use only "professional human translators," but in their pages in Spanish you find quite atrocious translations and a whole variety of typos. Some examples:

- "Si eres un traductor, por favor regístrate como lingüista de XXX ahora."
- "Trabajando con una de las redes lingüisticas más grandes del mundo, XXX ofrece traducciones humanas y profesional en más de 100 idiomas."
- "XXXX es potenciado por XXXX.com."
- "Sin embargo, estas traducciones no se pueden utilizar para contenidos dirigidos a los cliente."
- "En un mundo en constante proceso de globalización donde la precisión de la traducción es de suma importancia, usar únicamente estas plataformas no sólo hará que ofrecezcas un mal servicio al cliente[missing comma] sino que[missing comma] inevitablemente[missing comma] también te llevará a la pérdida de tu negocio [excessive space]."

Clearly their "professional human translators" are not that "professional". To me, this is sheer deceit on some part: either the "human translators" are unprofessional, or the agency running this service are unprofessional accepting clearly inappropriate people into their linguist community. In any case, the damage to the good name of our profession is apparent.

Is the situation equally disastrous in your language?

[Edited at 2016-03-17 09:26 GMT]


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:53
Member (2014)
English to German
professional human translator Mar 17, 2016

This term alone usually puts me off applying to an agency, it sounds unprofessional and wrong.

 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 05:53
German to Serbian
+ ...
In professional world... Mar 17, 2016

... we don't really feel the urge to stress we are humans or human translators for that matter.

So while competing with machines and automated translators, our competitive edge (sometimes lol) is that we are humans and we process things using organic brain? Bravo.


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:53
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
On contrary Mar 17, 2016

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

This term alone usually puts me off applying to an agency, it sounds unprofessional and wrong.


I, on contrary, would give more value to such an agency as it is clear from the beginning they don't give machine crap to their clients and thus, they don't demand it from their suppliers.
Tomás, what is wrong in this:
"Si eres un traductor, por favor.." How should it be?
I understand written Spanish perfectly but am a beginner in its grammar, so was wondering how this should be put in a correct way.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 05:53
German to Serbian
+ ...
Not really. Mar 17, 2016

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

This term alone usually puts me off applying to an agency, it sounds unprofessional and wrong.


I, on contrary, would give more value to such an agency as it is clear from the beginning they don't give machine crap to their clients and thus, they don't demand it from their suppliers.
Tomás, what is wrong in this:
"Si eres un traductor, por favor.." How should it be?
I understand written Spanish perfectly but am a beginner in its grammar, so was wondering how this should be put in a correct way.


Those who deal only with humans don't think (or write) about machines. To me, it revokes an image of bottom-level agency.


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:53
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Your right Mar 17, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

I, on contrary, would give more value to such an agency as it is clear from the beginning they don't give machine crap to their clients and thus, they don't demand it from their suppliers.
Tomás, what is wrong in this:
"Si eres un traductor, por favor.." How should it be?
I understand written Spanish perfectly but am a beginner in its grammar, so was wondering how this should be put in a correct way.


Those who deal only with humans don't think (or write) about machines. To me, it revokes an image of bottom-level agency.


It's your right to have your opinion, which not necessarily has to be the ultimate truth.
In Tomás post, I didn't see that the agency in question would think, or write, about machines.
Even if it would have, modern times are such that companies need to adapt to current trends and techniques. If they use only human translators today, tomorrow it might be not "only".
Unless they want to adopt a boutique status, but this is a major agency.
Interesting which, curious to see if there are versions in "my" languages there.


 

Álvaro Espantaleón  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:53
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
traductor Mar 17, 2016

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

This term alone usually puts me off applying to an agency, it sounds unprofessional and wrong.


I, on contrary, would give more value to such an agency as it is clear from the beginning they don't give machine crap to their clients and thus, they don't demand it from their suppliers.
Tomás, what is wrong in this:
"Si eres un traductor, por favor.." How should it be?
I understand written Spanish perfectly but am a beginner in its grammar, so was wondering how this should be put in a correct way.


Don't need "un". However, that's not an atrocious mistake as Tomás puts it.

Also, the solo and sólo issue is not solved yet. Many writers are resisting to solo.

I would say that that translation is not good, but as a whole. You can clearly feel that it is a translation: starting a sentence with a gerund is not correct, for example. Probably performed by someone who was paid too little and thus decided to do it as fast as possible. No proofreading either.


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:53
Member (2014)
English to German
Yes, that springs to mind Mar 17, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

This term alone usually puts me off applying to an agency, it sounds unprofessional and wrong.




Those who deal only with humans don't think (or write) about machines. To me, it revokes an image of bottom-level agency. [/quote]

Any professional translators do not need to call themselves "human" as that is a given.

[Edited at 2016-03-17 11:11 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It IS atrocious Mar 17, 2016

Alvaro Espantaleon wrote:
Inga Petkelyte wrote:
Tomás, what is wrong in this:
"Si eres un traductor, por favor.." How should it be?
I understand written Spanish perfectly but am a beginner in its grammar, so was wondering how this should be put in a correct way.

Don't need "un". However, that's not an atrocious mistake as Tomás puts it.

Also, the solo and sólo issue is not solved yet. Many writers are resisting to solo.

To say "Soy un traductor." would be what an English-speaking learner of Spanish would do, and is most unbecoming of a professional translator. Names of professions in the position of an attribute to a noun never have the indeterminate article. Native speakers of Spanish learn this as children, and no native speaker would make that mistake unless heavily contaminated by English.

As for "solo"/"sólo", of course there are people who resist to that change, the same way as "guion" or diacritics in "esta"/"este"... The key thing here is to remember what the Academies of the Spanish language in all Spanish-speaking countries agreed many years ago, which is "solo" without the accent. All professional translators know and follow the new spelling, even if we do not necessarily agree with the changes, as we all believe in, and benefit from, the existence of a unified language.

[Edited at 2016-03-17 14:21 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Explanation Mar 17, 2016

Inga Petkelyte wrote:
Tomás, what is wrong in this:
"Si eres un traductor, por favor.." How should it be?

Good question. Gramatically "traductor" is an abbreviated nominal group, or "grupo nominal escueto" in Spanish. Basically, if the reality designated by the word is contrued as an indeterminate/unnumbered type or class, the determiner is suppressed. Some more examples are:
- "No tiene monedas." (as opposed to "*No tiene unos/algunos monedas")
- "Son artistas." ("*Son unos/algunos artistas"; "Son unos artistas" would be correct, but the meaning would be completely different: you would convey that some people who are not professional artists show the qualities of artists in some respect.)
- "Se pasa el día leyendo novelas" ("*Se pasa el día leyendo unas/algunas novelas")

You can read in detail about this in article 15.6 "La ausencia del artículo: los grupos nominales sin determinante" in the Nueva gramática de la lengua española, Manual by the Association of Spanish Language Academies (ISBN 9788467032819), a very good resource any Spanish professional translator should always have at hand.


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:53
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
"Un traductor" in a "professional" translation is pretty bad Mar 17, 2016

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Inga Petkelyte wrote:
Tomás, what is wrong in this:
"Si eres un traductor, por favor.." How should it be?

Good question. Gramatically "traductor" is an abbreviated nominal group, or "grupo nominal escueto" in Spanish. Basically, if the reality designated by the word is contrued as an indeterminate/unnumbered type or class, the determiner is suppressed. Some more examples are:
- "No tiene monedas." (as opposed to "*No tiene unos/algunos monedas")
- "Son artistas." ("*Son unos/algunos artistas"; "Son unos artistas" would be correct, but the meaning would be completely different: you would convey that some people who are not professional artists show the qualities of artists in some respect.)
- "Se pasa el día leyendo novelas" ("*Se pasa el día leyendo unas/algunas novelas")

You can read in detail about this in article 15.6 "La ausencia del artículo: los grupos nominales sin determinante" in the Nueva gramática de la lengua española, Manual by the Association of Spanish Language Academies (ISBN 9788467032819), a very good resource any Spanish professional translator should always have at hand.


Using "un traductor" in a supposedly professional translation is pretty bad. It would be the rough equivalent of something like, "she gave him some advices" in an into-English translation. The kind of thing that makes one wince.

If nothing else, it would be expected for such a glaring error to have been noticed and corrected in the proofreading process.

As for "sólo" vs. "solo", or "guión" vs. "guion," it seems that there are a lot of educated native Spanish speakers that still use the older and now officially disapproved forms. So I would not necessarily categorize such usage as "atrocious."

Still, the kinds of errors Tomás cites here places such material outside of the realm of what can reasonably be considered a "professional" translation.

[Edited at 2016-03-17 15:09 GMT]


 

Álvaro Espantaleón  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:53
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
@Robert Mar 17, 2016

Robert Forstag wrote:

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Inga Petkelyte wrote:
Tomás, what is wrong in this:
"Si eres un traductor, por favor.." How should it be?

Good question. Gramatically "traductor" is an abbreviated nominal group, or "grupo nominal escueto" in Spanish. Basically, if the reality designated by the word is contrued as an indeterminate/unnumbered type or class, the determiner is suppressed. Some more examples are:
- "No tiene monedas." (as opposed to "*No tiene unos/algunos monedas")
- "Son artistas." ("*Son unos/algunos artistas"; "Son unos artistas" would be correct, but the meaning would be completely different: you would convey that some people who are not professional artists show the qualities of artists in some respect.)
- "Se pasa el día leyendo novelas" ("*Se pasa el día leyendo unas/algunas novelas")

You can read in detail about this in article 15.6 "La ausencia del artículo: los grupos nominales sin determinante" in the Nueva gramática de la lengua española, Manual by the Association of Spanish Language Academies (ISBN 9788467032819), a very good resource any Spanish professional translator should always have at hand.


Using "un traductor" in a supposedly professional translation is pretty bad. It would be the rough equivalent of something like, "she gave him some advices" in an into-English translation. The kind of thing that makes one wince.

If nothing else, it would be expected for such a glaring error to have been noticed and corrected in the proofreading process.

As for "sólo" vs. "solo", or "guión" vs. "guion," it seems that there are a lot of educated native Spanish speakers that still use the older and now officially disapproved forms. So I would not necessarily categorize such usage as "atrocious."

Still, the kinds of errors Tomás cites here places such material outside of the realm of what can reasonably be considered a "professional" translation.

[Edited at 2016-03-17 15:09 GMT]


Regarding solo: "a partir de ahora se podrá prescindir de la tilde en estas formas...". It is just a recommendation.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Misquoted... Mar 17, 2016

Alvaro Espantaleon wrote:
Regarding solo: "a partir de ahora se podrá prescindir de la tilde en estas formas...". It is just a recommendation.

Sorry, Álvaro, but in this case you are copying one sentence out of context. This is an excerpt of the 2010 Ortografía de la lengua española (page 269, Art. 3.4.3.3):
La palabra solo, tanto cuando es adverbio como cuando es adjetivo, así como los demostrativos este, ese y aquel, con sus femeninos o plurales, funcionen como pronombres o como determinantes, son voces que no deben llevar tilde según las reglas generales de acentuación, bien por ser bisílabas llanas terminadas en vocal o en -s, bien, en el caso de aquel, por ser aguda y acabar en consonante distinta de n o s.

Your quote appears in a paragraph that explains why the use of the accent in "solo" is never valid, not even in case of potential ambiguity between solo as adverb and solo as adjective:
Sin embargo, puesto que ese empleo tradicional de la tilde diacrítica no opone en estos casos formas tónicas a otras átonas formalmente idénticas (requisito prosódico que justifica el empleo de la tilde diacrítica), ya que tanto el adjetivo solo como los determinantes demostrativos son palabras tónicas, lo mismo que el adverbio solo y los pronombres demostrativos, a partir de ahora se podrá prescindir de la tilde en estas formas incluso en casos de doble interpretación.

Not only the example in question ("no sólo hará que ofrecezcas" [sic]) is not an example of diacritic forced by a potential ambiguity in the meaning, but even if there was such risk of ambiguity the accent would not be valid.

In conclusion, the use of "sólo" in the example is atrocious, especially 6 years after the changes in spelling rules.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Impossible Mar 17, 2016

Alvaro Espantaleon wrote:
Probably performed by someone who was paid too little and thus decided to do it as fast as possible. No proofreading either.

I think that a professional translator would find it extremely difficult to produce such bad quality at any speed. Let's face it: even their web pages are translated by the wrong people.


 

Álvaro Espantaleón  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:53
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
? Mar 17, 2016

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Alvaro Espantaleon wrote:
Regarding solo: "a partir de ahora se podrá prescindir de la tilde en estas formas...". It is just a recommendation.

Sorry, Álvaro, but in this case you are copying one sentence out of context. This is an excerpt of the 2010 Ortografía de la lengua española (page 269, Art. 3.4.3.3):
La palabra solo, tanto cuando es adverbio como cuando es adjetivo, así como los demostrativos este, ese y aquel, con sus femeninos o plurales, funcionen como pronombres o como determinantes, son voces que no deben llevar tilde según las reglas generales de acentuación, bien por ser bisílabas llanas terminadas en vocal o en -s, bien, en el caso de aquel, por ser aguda y acabar en consonante distinta de n o s.

Your quote appears in a paragraph that explains why the use of the accent in "solo" is never valid, not even in case of potential ambiguity between solo as adverb and solo as adjective:
Sin embargo, puesto que ese empleo tradicional de la tilde diacrítica no opone en estos casos formas tónicas a otras átonas formalmente idénticas (requisito prosódico que justifica el empleo de la tilde diacrítica), ya que tanto el adjetivo solo como los determinantes demostrativos son palabras tónicas, lo mismo que el adverbio solo y los pronombres demostrativos, a partir de ahora se podrá prescindir de la tilde en estas formas incluso en casos de doble interpretación.

Not only the example in question ("no sólo hará que ofrecezcas" [sic]) is not an example of diacritic forced by a potential ambiguity in the meaning, but even if there was such risk of ambiguity the accent would not be valid.

In conclusion, the use of "sólo" in the example is atrocious, especially 6 years after the changes in spelling rules.


Sorry, but you are wrong about solo/sólo. Read page 269: http://aplica.rae.es/orweb/cgi-bin/buscar.cgi

More: http://www.abc.es/cultura/20141130/abci-solo-tilde-201411291825.html

And more: http://www.tallerdeletras.com/la-rae-sola-contra-el-acento-del-adverbio-solo/ (recomendación)

Nos lo enseñaron de pequeños: “sólo“, cuando se refiere a “solamente” (es decir, cuando hace la función de un adverbio) lleva acento. Por eso un ‘café solo‘ nunca llevó acento, como no lo llevó un “se quedó solo“. En cambio, siempre había que acentuar “Sólo te pido una cosa”, o “sólo sé que no sé nada”.

Pero cuando, hace algo más de 4 años, la RAE empezó a recomendar no acentuar ni uno ni otro, toda una generación se rebeló contra las normas. Salvador Gutiérrez, miembro de la RAE, reconocía a principios de 2013 que el seguimiento de estos consejos no había tenido todo el éxito que cabía esperar. Pero recordó también que sólo (con acento de ‘solamente’) eran eso: consejos.

Si hoy consultamos el diccionario de la RAE, veremos que en la entrada del adverbio ‘solo’ se lee también ‘sólo‘, en ambos casos con un único significado: “únicamente, solamente”. Así que el acento queda al libre albedrío de cada cual. Mientras tanto, algunos -los que nunca se enteraron de la nueva norma- pensarán que el ‘solo‘ sin acento es una falta de ortografía. Y no lo será… a no ser que la RAE acabe por perder su batalla en solitario.


There is absolutely no ambiguity in "se podrá prescindir". What you are adding now is that this isn't a case of anfibología, but I'm not so sure about that. You can ask Fundeu!

[Edited at 2016-03-17 18:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-03-17 18:18 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-03-17 18:19 GMT]


 
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