How much of your translating work is actually transcreation? Interesting article to read
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Aug 23, 2010

I find myself doing quite a bit of it. Here's an interesting article on the subject:

http://www.badlanguage.net/translation-vs-transcreation

- and some of the follow-up comments are interesting too, such as this excellent definition from "Claude":

"Translating involves more than replacing a word with its equivalent in another language; sentences and ideas must be manipulated to flow with the same coherence as those in the source document so that the translation reads as though it originated in the target language, respecting any cultural references that may need to be adapted to correspond with those of the intended audience. Colloquialisms, slang, and other expressions do not translate literally. In all cases, the message must be kept with the same connotations: humour, instruction, threat, etc."

That's perfect !

[Edited at 2010-08-23 20:18 GMT]


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:11
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
All of it! Aug 23, 2010

My immediate reaction to your question was "All of it!". That's one of the things you learn when you take a formal education course in translation. Even without such a course, you'll probably realise, once you start doing translations for other people, that in most cases about the worst thing you can do is to replace source words with target words or even source phrases with target phrases. If, for example, you are translating a promotional prospectus or operating instructions for a machine, the reader does not want to read an answer to "What does the foreign-language document say?". He's probably not even interested in whether a German / French / Russian etc. original exists. He expects to read the message and technical information, presented the way a native user of his language (and familiar with the subject area and the product) would write it.

In my case it wasn't as easy as I thought to learn to do that. On one or two occasions recently I have seen comments from reviewers that made me realise the extent to which my work had been a translation more than the transcreation it should have been. This is an example of how constructive criticism should be sought as a valuable help - as a result of those criticisms I think I have been doing more transcreation and less "pure" translation, and that my work has improved.

Right now, the only occasion I can imagine when transcreation is not required is if the requirement for a translation job is equivalent to "Tell us exactly what the source document says, not a recreation in the target language." I've never yet had a request for that.

Oliver


[Edited at 2010-08-23 20:34 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Me too Aug 23, 2010

Oliver Walter wrote:

My immediate reaction to your question was "All of it!". T[Edited at 2010-08-23 20:34 GMT]


I agree with everything you say, Oliver. I've just this minute finished translating some text for a new website that was badly written in the original, but (in all modesty) reads wonderfully in my English translation !

So I agree with you that *all* translation is transcreation. I suspect that whoever invented that ugly word doesn't really know much about translation.


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree Aug 24, 2010

I basically agree with both of you, although we must also recognize that there are different ways of translating according to the type of material and the use it will be given. For instance, poetry or novels can be approached in different ways, advertising material often requires much adaptation, and legal documents or technical material must be much more literal.

So the techniques we use must be quite varied.


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 06:11
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Roles of CAT tools Aug 24, 2010

I understand that CAT tools will force us to stick to source texts e.g. paragraph, use of punctuation marks. I can speed up translation with CAT but may creative way of writing is going to decay.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:11
French to English
+ ...
Not really separate things, though... Aug 24, 2010

I'm not sure I see "translation" and "transcreation" as really separate entities, though. In any translation, one is constantly making decisions about the tradeoff between being "faithful" and "selling the underlying purpose of the text to the reader". But I see these as maybe ends of a spectrum that apply at any given moment during a translation, and different phrases/sentences of the same job may fluctuate between one and the other extreme. I'm not sure I agree with the implied idea that "translation" and "transcreation" are separate entities to the point that a client might thnk of "wanting a transcreation".

Like one of the commenters, I also take issue with the notion that translators should "only ever translate into their mother tongue". The client generally needs to be presented with a text that is indistinguishable from a well-written original text created by a native speaker. But I don't see why the process of getting the client that result *has* to exclusively involve translators working into their native language. The author appears to be confusing theoretical necessity with what is essentially a pragmatic matter. If you work into your native language, you may occasionally need to consult with a native speaker in the source language to resolve interpretation of nuances of the source language. If you work out of your native language, you will probably need to pay a native speaker of the target language to review your work. For many translators, getting an acceptable result tends to work out cheaper/quicker the first way round than the second. But it's essentially a pragmatic business decision.


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:11
Flemish to English
+ ...
xxx to English Aug 24, 2010

Boring : An article written by a native of English, supported by the same natives of English, most of whom never attended a course for translators, where transcreation, transposition are taught as translation strategies.

[Edited at 2010-08-24 11:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-08-24 11:01 GMT]


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:11
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
True Aug 24, 2010

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

I understand that CAT tools will force us to stick to source texts e.g. paragraph, use of punctuation marks. I can speed up translation with CAT but may creative way of writing is going to decay.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


What is called here transcreation was described in theory long time ago, e.g. Holz-Mänttäri's Translatorisches Handeln.

In the real world of business translations are either not read at all (they are produced because otherwise the product may not be sold) or they are heavily edited after translation. In most cases the translator either cannot be involved technically (CAT) or has not the knowledge to deliver what is needed. Finishing the responsibility of the end-client, who's business is to sell products efficiently.

Regards

Heinrich





[Bearbeitet am 2010-08-24 08:32 GMT]


 

Marisara
Mexico
Local time: 18:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
What if? Aug 24, 2010

Tom in London wrote:

Oliver Walter wrote:

My immediate reaction to your question was "All of it!". T[Edited at 2010-08-23 20:34 GMT]


I agree with everything you say, Oliver. I've just this minute finished translating some text for a new website that was badly written in the original, but (in all modesty) reads wonderfully in my English translation !

So I agree with you that *all* translation is transcreation. I suspect that whoever invented that ugly word doesn't really know much about translation.



What if the original author doesn't realize the work is badly written? This happened to me, I really felt the original needed lots of redrafting, editing and proofreading. My knowledge in the field allowed me to do some transcreation, not changing the focus or ideas of the work but writing them in a clearer way. At the end it seemed to me the author wasn't pleased by the liberties I took with the work. From that point on, I try to get a real sense of what the author or company is looking for and I try to deliver accordingly.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
A real problem Aug 25, 2010

Marisara wrote:

What if the original author doesn't realize the work is badly written?


Yes Marisara- that can be a real problem because if you do a translation that faithfully reproduces the bad writing of the original, they may come back at you and accuse you of doing a bad translation. The other option (of doing a translation that is in effect a complete, improved rewrite of the original - faithful but better expressed) is not only far more work but may lead the writer to think that in future, they can rely on the translator to *always* improve their work in translation.


 


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