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Off topic: Disagreement with translation professor
Thread poster: artspan

artspan
United States
Local time: 06:11
Spanish to English
Feb 24

[Removed by site staff.]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2020-03-02 00:37 GMT]


 

patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, it's not just you. Feb 24

I, too, am a bit pushed for time right now but I'm sure you will have others chiming in their agreement. Your professor seems to have an adequate command of grammatical English but little of its usage. Your translations sound fine to me. Looking forward to reading other comments on your post.

artspan
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artspan
United States
Local time: 06:11
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
[Removed by site staff.] Feb 24

[Removed by site staff.]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2020-03-02 00:37 GMT]


Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
@Artspan Feb 24

artspan wrote:
I'm a university student majoring in Spanish and concentrating in translation.


For how long have you been studying translation? Is this the first time this lecturer critiqued your translations? Have you had translation critiques from other lecturers, and how was your experience with those?

When I was a student and I encountered this type of critique, I tried to learn what I can learn, and discard the rest. The trick is to be self-critical and always try to learn from the lecturer. He is sometimes wrong, but he is mostly right (and you are wrong). Kiss up and brownnose (don't overdo it, though).

FWIW, I disagree with most of what your lecturer says (and I don't even speak Spanish).


artspan
IanDhu
Hedwig Spitzer
 

artspan
United States
Local time: 06:11
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
[Removed by site staff.] Feb 24

[Removed by site staff.]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2020-03-02 00:38 GMT]


Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

artspan
United States
Local time: 06:11
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Probably wise... Feb 24

I'm almost finished, actually. Most of my degree is done, yet there have only been three courses in practical translation, I'm doing the last two now.

I've had the experience of receiving critiques that I didn't necessarily agree with, but if it's a matter of subjective opinion, I just defer to them. If they are factually wrong, I feel the need to say something. I try to be polite but I feel like I should probably justify my choices if I absolutely know they're overlooking somethi
... See more
I'm almost finished, actually. Most of my degree is done, yet there have only been three courses in practical translation, I'm doing the last two now.

I've had the experience of receiving critiques that I didn't necessarily agree with, but if it's a matter of subjective opinion, I just defer to them. If they are factually wrong, I feel the need to say something. I try to be polite but I feel like I should probably justify my choices if I absolutely know they're overlooking something. I guess I'm an annoying student that way.

Yes, I think that's wise advice, I need to try to learn what I can from them and disregard the rest. They do have more experience and knowledge. It really rankles me though when I stumble across a major deficiency of theirs. It's awkward and stressful to maneuver around it. I have to be careful not to hurt their pride but I'm a very straightforward kind of person who doesn't like to dissemble.
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MollyRose  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:11
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Difficult situation if for a grade Feb 24

I agree that most of her comments sound strange. The only translation you mentioned that I would change is:

Walking the Camino is truly like travelling through time. It's like you put on your backpack and you get into the time machine. This would sound better, without leaving a question in anyone's mind as to whether or not it is correct grammatically: It´s like putting on your backpack and getting into the time machine.


Is this for a grade? And if so, ho
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I agree that most of her comments sound strange. The only translation you mentioned that I would change is:

Walking the Camino is truly like travelling through time. It's like you put on your backpack and you get into the time machine. This would sound better, without leaving a question in anyone's mind as to whether or not it is correct grammatically: It´s like putting on your backpack and getting into the time machine.


Is this for a grade? And if so, how important is it that you get good grades in this class?
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artspan
 

artspan
United States
Local time: 06:11
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
For a grade Feb 25

MollyRose wrote:


Is this for a grade? And if so, how important is it that you get good grades in this class?


Yes, it is...I'm doing really well in the class and I'll probably incorporate enough of her suggestions that I won't be docked an enormous amount of points. I'll just feel frustrated having to create a translation that is basically hers, not mine. And I would have greatly preferred my own. It feels wrong having to make it actually worse than I would just do on my own. I'm a 4.0 student but it's more the principle of the thing that bugs me rather than the grade. Luckily it's not for a client or for public consumption. It's just a school assignment.


 

artspan
United States
Local time: 06:11
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
She has critiqued me on another project. Feb 25

Samuel Murray wrote:



Is this the first time this lecturer critiqued your translations?



I forgot to answer this part. Yes, this lecturer critiqued me on a previous translation (a complicated set of instructions on how to use origami to make a great white shark). But that translation was from English into Spanish, so I didn't quite catch on. I was more apt to take her word for it because she's the native Spanish speaker not me. On that project I did think it was strange that she wanted me to make the translation quite different from the original. In other words she wanted me to add a lot of additional information and explanation that wasn't included in the original. For example, she thought if the instruction said "fold" and the picture showed a dotted line, that the reader would not know that they should fold on the dotted line unless I specifically added "on the dotted line" every single time. A lot of little things like that. In the end she was really happy with what I did because I took all of her suggestions.


 

Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 13:11
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Consider it as a good opportunity to practice something that will inevitably happen Feb 25

I don’t speak Spanish and English isn’t a working pair of mine, so I won’t venture an opinion on the actual translations (yours and your professor’s). But when I read your post I think of what happened to you as a perfect opportunity to practice something that will inevitably happen to you during your work as a translator: that a client, who does not master the language in question, requires you to make changes to a good translation you delivered. I don’t believe there is a single tran... See more
I don’t speak Spanish and English isn’t a working pair of mine, so I won’t venture an opinion on the actual translations (yours and your professor’s). But when I read your post I think of what happened to you as a perfect opportunity to practice something that will inevitably happen to you during your work as a translator: that a client, who does not master the language in question, requires you to make changes to a good translation you delivered. I don’t believe there is a single translator who has not been exposed to this. In such a case it’s important that you can politely and respectfully stand on your ground and defend / explain your choices. So, see it as a great opportunity to practice something you will have to master as a working translator anyway.Collapse


Philippe Etienne
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Yolande Hivart
Austria
Local time: 13:11
Member (2016)
German to French
Looking backwards i am glad I found such a professor too... Feb 25

...but maybe 20 years too late for my case.

I think this professor is teaching you a way of thinking you will never be taught in the translation market unless you have done translation studies.
And for me, who had been 20 years self learning this had been a lesson that I hate having missed on my career.

I would probably never say this to this professor and now with 20 years of experience ditch his comments and his chance of a grade but as a starter I would say hol
... See more
...but maybe 20 years too late for my case.

I think this professor is teaching you a way of thinking you will never be taught in the translation market unless you have done translation studies.
And for me, who had been 20 years self learning this had been a lesson that I hate having missed on my career.

I would probably never say this to this professor and now with 20 years of experience ditch his comments and his chance of a grade but as a starter I would say hold to this until you get your degree. Maybe once you get onto the market you will see that mostly the market expects somethings else than from the chair of a lecturer but it will surely helps you when some clients expect you to think like that, more than a self made translator that had only been taught to write a linear and conforming translation.

I wish you luck.
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artspan
 

Gitte Hovedskov
Denmark
Local time: 13:11
English to Danish
+ ...
Localisation issues Feb 25

Firstly, yes, it must be frustrating to have a teacher who has difficulties with the target language. I wonder whether she is actually teaching you TRANSLATION techniques or ENGLISH as a language? These must be two different issues. If she is not teaching you English per se, I think it is acceptable that she makes a few mistakes herself when trying to help you transfer Spanish thought and culture into English.

If her job is to help you render Spanish texts into localised English, I
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Firstly, yes, it must be frustrating to have a teacher who has difficulties with the target language. I wonder whether she is actually teaching you TRANSLATION techniques or ENGLISH as a language? These must be two different issues. If she is not teaching you English per se, I think it is acceptable that she makes a few mistakes herself when trying to help you transfer Spanish thought and culture into English.

If her job is to help you render Spanish texts into localised English, I think she is a goldmine for you. How many teachers take the time to comment on practically every sentence in a translation with such detail? Remember that SHE is a native Spanish speaker, not you. So, when she comments on so many of your sentences, it must be because she feels that your translations do not quite hit the sentiment of the Spanish sentences.

I have not walked el Camino, but I understand that it is not just a long and difficult hike in a stunning landscape, it is a magical, mystical, spiritual adventure. From the examples that you show with your teacher's comments, I think that maybe she feels that you are not capturing that sense of wonder in your translations. In other words, you may have produced a perfectly sound translation for a tourist promotion, but you have lost the poetic sense of the Spanish language.

I am not a Spanish native, nor an English native (although I do have language and translation degrees in both languages), but if I were you, instead of being shocked at the amount/extent of your teacher's corrections, I would try to glean everything I possibly could from her in terms of how to convert not just words, but sentiment from one language/culture to another.

Secondly, instead of sulking here, why don't you book a meeting with her and ask her to explain in more general terms what she thinks your translations are lacking?
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Kay Denney
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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:11
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
If you can, do, if you can´t, teach... Feb 25

As others have said, take it as training in how to cope with clients later on.

Here is your babbling brook - every English schoolchild in my day knew this poem, but that was way back in the last century…
The Brook
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I come from haunts of coot and hern (a hern is a heron)
I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip
... See more
As others have said, take it as training in how to cope with clients later on.

Here is your babbling brook - every English schoolchild in my day knew this poem, but that was way back in the last century…
The Brook
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I come from haunts of coot and hern (a hern is a heron)
I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorps, a little town, (a thorp is a village or hamlet; the word comes from German and is still
And half a hundred bridges. seen in place names.)

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.


There are at least a dozen verses - google it!

A client once complained about a colleague of mine who had called a crystal chandelier immaculate. The client thought this was close to blasphemy, and only the Virgin Mary could be immaculate…
even though we found several examples of other things, we had to find another word to describe the chandelier. The client went for 'brilliant', which was a safe choice, but somehow did not quite have the same sparkle!

You will find that happens again and again…
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artspan
Philip Lees
 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 13:11
English to Russian
+ ...
Take three translators, get four opinions Feb 25

I am more or less with Samuel on this: any critique is to be taken with a grain of salt, accepting useful things and discarding the useless ones. After all, translation is a creative process and as such is inherently personal. Every translator would do it differently.

Regarding the specific examples you provided, I think the most important positive lesson contained in your professor's critique is that being too literal is usually bad. Indeed, inexperienced translators tend to stay t
... See more
I am more or less with Samuel on this: any critique is to be taken with a grain of salt, accepting useful things and discarding the useless ones. After all, translation is a creative process and as such is inherently personal. Every translator would do it differently.

Regarding the specific examples you provided, I think the most important positive lesson contained in your professor's critique is that being too literal is usually bad. Indeed, inexperienced translators tend to stay too close to the source much more often than depart too far from it. On the other hand, the proposed "journey of cultural diversity" looks like a tacky cliché to me - but again, this is only my personal opinion.
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P.L.F.Persio
Kay Denney
artspan
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:11
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
You are the translator, not the author Feb 25

All this may be a part of your study, but in the real world a translator is not the author.

So, when the author writes 'Aquí hablan las piedras', he means 'Here (the) stones speak', not 'Here rocks ring' or 'here rocks ringing', or he would have done so.

I don't advocate literal translations. I am a supporter of translating more freely, but please stick to the content and don't come up with your own fabrications, or become a writer.

During my study we had
... See more
All this may be a part of your study, but in the real world a translator is not the author.

So, when the author writes 'Aquí hablan las piedras', he means 'Here (the) stones speak', not 'Here rocks ring' or 'here rocks ringing', or he would have done so.

I don't advocate literal translations. I am a supporter of translating more freely, but please stick to the content and don't come up with your own fabrications, or become a writer.

During my study we had a hypothetical question. You translate a text and the author writes 1+1=3. It is clear he made a mistake. What do you do? Correct it, or leave it as it is? (for discussion sake these were the two answers to choose from). Interesting question if you think about it.

By the way, "you can't use 'babble' because it is associated with boiling' What does your professor think about 'ringing'? My first association is a telephone.

[Edited at 2020-02-25 11:47 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-02-25 11:50 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-02-25 11:51 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-02-25 11:52 GMT]
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artspan
Christine Andersen
 
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