Off topic: Top ten misconceptions about translation
Thread poster: kleiner Kater

kleiner Kater
Local time: 01:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 20, 2011


10. Anybody with two years of high school language (or a foreign-tongued

grandmother) can translate.

9. A good translator doesn't need a dictionary.

8. There's no difference between translation and interpretation.

7. Translators don't mind working nights and weekends at no extra charge.

6. Translators don't need to understand what they're translating.

5. A good translator doesn't need proofing or editing.

4. Becoming a translator is an easy way to get rich quick.

3. Translation is just typing in a foreign language.

2. A translator costs $49.95 at Radio Shack and runs on two 'C' batteries.

... And the #1 misconception about translation and translators:

1. That marketing copy that took a team of 20 people two months to put

together can be translated overnight by one Person and still retain the same

impact as the original.


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
David Apr 21, 2011

Good TOP TEN LIST for David Letterman, except he won't take it because it's meanlingless for his constituency. But it's a good attempt anyway.


Ashley Wans  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
#11 Apr 21, 2011

11. Any bilingual person already has the skills to become a translator; it has nothing to do with your writing abilities.

I have a bilingual friend with no understanding of what translation or interpreting is about. She wants to take the ATA certification exam so she can show potential future employers she is bilingual (these are not translation-related employers, rather companies that do business internationally). I linked her to the ATA page that states that less than 20% of translators who attempt the test pass the first time. Hopefully this will discourage her from wasting her money without investing in further training first.

A lot of people I know don't seem to understand that your writing skills are an integral part of your skill set as a translator. If you cannot write well in the target language, this will be a serious impediment to your success as a translator.  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:45
English to Arabic
+ ...
Wonderful Apr 21, 2011

Wonderful kleiner Kater. Very nice input indeed.


JH Trads  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:45
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
well, Apr 21, 2011

6 and 9 could merge, and then spinoff:

"a good translator doesn't need a monolingual dictionary"icon_smile.gif


Ivan Rocha, CT
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Misconception # 0 Apr 21, 2011

...that is, if zero was a number, should be:

"computers do most of the translator's work".


ISAAC PRADEL LEAL  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:45
Member (2011)
French to Spanish
+ ...
Globalization means for translation seekers... Apr 21, 2011

That of course anyone in India or China, or "Elbonians" to the matter... God bless Scott Adams... without any reference, published work or whatever... has the appropiate know-how to translate from & into any language known to mankind, including latin & ancian greek, with outstanding quality, for less than 2 cents per word, delivering close to 20.000 words a day... Because before they existed, so-called, self-proclaimed "professionals" in the rest of the world were ripping off their customers... 'cause they are bastards who want to get rich quick... more stuff like this in my blog : ...

[Edited at 2011-04-22 07:29 GMT]


Jande  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:45
Danish to English
+ ...
Could this be the source of the confusion? Apr 29, 2011

If only a word in one language could be directly substituted for a word in another language with exactly the same meaning...


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:45
Chinese to English
Those crafty computers... Apr 29, 2011

Ivan said:

"computers do most of the translator's work".

I was doing some quick English>Chinese for an interpreting client the other day. The input system for Chinese that I (and most people) use involves typing the pronunciation of a character, then selecting the right character from a pop-up list (it's quicker than you'd think because the software is smart and guesses which character you want). The client was a non-native English speaker, and when he saw that I was typing Roman letters, said, "Oh, the computer's translating automatically for you!"

This is a guy who works in a highly multilingual environment. Surely he would know that computers can't do that? Surely?! But apparently not...


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