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Off topic: Why you don’t get a word file!
Thread poster: wonita (X)

wonita (X)
China
Local time: 18:08
Feb 7, 2012

This morning I got a PDF file to translate from a Law office. I asked them to send me a word file, they got very alerted then.

“Why do you need a word file to translate? Do you plan to put the text in a translation machine? We don’t want to have a machine translation, please type the text yourself! ”

I don’t know to laugh or to cry!


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 04:08
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Legal documents Feb 7, 2012

Many legal documents I got are in PDF format since graphic, signature have been inserted.
Now many online PDF --> Word converters are free to use and accuracy is good, available for many source language.
They also make good files out of troublesome source e.g. Mac PDF --> PC Word conversion.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


 

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:08
English to German
+ ...
At least they care Feb 7, 2012

Here we have a customer who knows about machine translation and the problems associated with it -- that's something to be appreciated, Bin! If you ask me, you should laugh, not cry.

You requested the Word file to put it through a CAT tool? I think CAT tools are a bit overrated. And in the legal field, getting a true understanding of the issues behind the text is even more important than elsewhere; if it's not a contract or some other type of standard document, a CAT tool won't be of much use anyway, IMHO. I've been doing legal translations for many years and I've seen close to no repetitions, but maybe that's due to my customers.

Of course, the above is only true as long as you get a decent "no CAT no MT" pay for the job.

(The only thing, not handing over the Word file, on the grounds as stated, means they don't really trust you, or don't know about your way of doing things.)






[Edited at 2012-02-07 11:44 GMT]


 

avsie (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:08
English to French
+ ...
Clients from hell Feb 7, 2012

Their reply is worthy of an entry on Clients from Hell!

 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:08
Romanian to English
+ ...
Formatting Feb 7, 2012

Well, a Word file could save you the formatting efforts.

 

esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:08
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Educate Feb 7, 2012

I don’t know to laugh or to cry!


Neither. Try to educate them if you want to use a CAT tool emphasizing, say, terminology consistency that is better maintained with a CAT.


 

Karin Maack  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:08
English to German
CAT-tool is simply convenient Feb 7, 2012

I always use a CAT-tool if possible even though I seldom translate texts with repetitions. The reason is that while using a CAT-tool, I need not be afraid of overlooking a sentence. Working this way is simply more convenient and it saves time.

 

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 16:08
Spanish to English
Totally disagree with Opolt Feb 7, 2012

I find my glossaries in the CAT tool very useful for translating legal documents. I do not, of course, turn my brain off and always check that the term is the right one for the context.

 

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:08
English to German
+ ...
Maybe I'm just old-fashioned Feb 7, 2012

Maybe I just don't get it. Sincerely, no offense intended to anyone reading this, but I consider myself a translator whose main tool is the brain (not only what it "contains", but more importantly its capacity to learn, and even more importantly its capacity to learn how to learn). Anything else is auxiliary, be it dictionaries, glossaries, Google, CAT or mouse. When I started out, computers weren't even available. And I think my basic working methods haven't changed much since then.

My point is: they show you a text -- it doesn't matter whether it's carved in stone, written on a parchment with goat blood, shown on a screen or printed out, handwritten, typewritten, or sprayed onto a wall as a graffito. They want you to translate it. As long as it's readable, you just do it, and hand it back. That is all.

In my country at least, there's is still a long way to go before all court or notarial documents (to mention two examples) will be available in machine-readable format everywhere. So think I better be prepared to deal with that. So far, about 90% of all legal documents I have translated were available only as hardcopies. (Besides, I'm also an interpreter, a glossary won't help you there, and I consider my translation work as a learning experience useful for interpreting.) On top, I have just completed a 140 page project (non-legal) where all corrections had to be made by hand, with a pen. I'm used to that.

I know about CAT's and their usefulness. And I know that often people provide a PDF out of ignorance, rather than for reasons of practicality. But I don't think it's an outrage, or even a problem, if there's not an editable format like Word available.

I mean, I just translate.


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:08
Romanian to English
+ ...
No outrage Feb 7, 2012

opolt wrote:

I know about CAT's and their usefulness. And I know that often people provide a PDF out of ignorance, rather than for reasons of practicality. But I don't think it's an outrage, or even a problem, if there's not an editable format like Word available.

I mean, I just translate.


She was not outraged because no Word was available, she was just surprised at the client's reaction.

While I do like Trados, I only use it when there are enough repetitions to save time by using it. It has nothing to do with my brain - if I'm not paid full-price for the repetitions, I should compensate for this by reducing the time necessary for translation (and that's what a CAT tool does). If I am paid full-price, even better. I rarely use the concordance function in CAT tools and I like to think I remember all the terms I know in my fields, but I wouldn't imply that using a CAT tool means not relying on my brain. Sometimes there are repetitive sentences scattered in the text, and it is time-consuming to manually look them up whenever it seems to me I've seen them before - this is where a CAT tool helps.

Not all texts are about "just translation" - some of them have complicated editing, and it helps to have the original. Otherwise, surcharge for special editing applies.

On the other hand, it is not CAT tools that make good translators and indeed, good translators do not necessarily use them. But there are situations when they do help - it depends on the types of text translated. In some fields they are indispensable - e.g. you can't "just translate" manuals and cause extra burden to graphic designers when it could be done simply by using a CAT tool.


 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:08
English to Spanish
OP never mentioned CAT tool use Feb 8, 2012

Annamaria Amik wrote:
Formatting

Well, a Word file could save you the formatting efforts.


Yes, the OP never mentioned her desire (or the opposite) to use a CAT tool. She just wanted a Word file, maybe to just overwrite the original text with her translation or, as Annamaria says, to take advantage of the already present formatting.

Perfectly valid and understandable reasons!icon_smile.gif


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 05:08
Chinese to English
No savings in terms of formatting Feb 8, 2012

The formatting of Chinese texts and English texts is too different. I use Trados on and off, but you always have to reformat the output.

Word files can be useful for a number of reasons, as Miguel says. But my first reaction was the same as Opolt's - at least they care.


 

Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:08
French to English
+ ...
Formatting definitely Feb 8, 2012

My current job involves a pdf file, but the client wanted the resulting translation formatted exactly like the pdf, i.e. headers, footers, complicated TOCs, etc. Now that's where just having a pdf file becomes an issue: I am a translator, not a trained typist. In fact, just the opposite, I'm very much self-taught, and I still regard complex formatting as someone else's job. I'm happy to work within the constraints of an existing Word file but I do think it's exceeding the job description to expect a translator to do what is in effect dtp as well. I do charge a surcharge for converting pdfs and I feel I've earned it with this job. If they just want a straight translation, no particular formatting constraints, then that's not a problem either, as I dictate.

I am using a CAT tool on the end result in this case and it is useful, mainly for term consistency, especially as it's full of highly technical nuclear abbreviations which I just cannot keep in my head, with the best will in the world - often there's just one letter different between one acronym and the next, so Wordfast is invaluable and speeds the process up considerably.


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:08
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
This is an Off topic subject Feb 8, 2012

opolt wrote:
But I don't think it's an outrage, or even a problem, if there's not an editable format like Word available.



No, Bin didn't think so either, that's why she posted it as off topic. I think the idea is to have a bit of a laugh.icon_smile.gif


 

christela (X)
This isn't laughable at all. Feb 8, 2012

Client just wanted a good translation.

In some respects, clients and translators are living in parallel worlds. Nothing to laugh about, we ourselves make it too complicated.


 
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