I was wondering whether or not a thorough knowledge of a jargon and -ese (legalese, journalise, medicalese, ...) make a good translator. After all, language is sound, which is structured and given a meaning: only then those "-ese" enter into consideration. Understanding them might help in transposing a text from one language into another, but is it a sign of how well you master a language?
[Edited at 2009-08-28 11:47 GMT]
[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-08-28 15:02 GMT]
I would say it's more of a sign of how well you've mastered the jargon or -ese (henceforth referred to as "jargonese" ) in question.
A translator working in a field that makes or might make heavy-duty use of jargonese not only needs to be able to understand the jargonese, but also reproduce it in translation. That would probably come with experience and knowledge of the subject at hand, not with general proficiency in a given language. That is why it's probably a good idea to know your legalese when tackling legal translations.
I would even say that the main symptom of linguistic mastery is being able to understand a text DESPITE any jargonese contained within. Don't get me wrong, though - the fact that I am able to learn something interesting whilst perusing the medical jorunals my mom's got stacked away by the dozen doesn't mean I'm qualified to perform medical translations. It simply means that thanks to my general knowledge of the language (in this instance, Polish) I am able to understand whatever the text is about, up to a point at least, even though I'm neither skilled nor schooled in medicine. But would I ever dare to TRANSLATE one of 'em articles? The answer's a defiant "No!"
On another note, "mastery" of language could also be signified by the fact that one can tell jargonese from normal, sane language used by simple-minded mortals.
[Edited at 2009-09-04 00:34 GMT]