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Poll: Who do you think generally reads your translations?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 05:33
Jul 24, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Who do you think generally reads your translations?".

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Chiara Zanone  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
Member (2011)
English to Italian
+ ...
Website translations Jul 24, 2009

I always do marketing translations of websites (cosmetics, clothes, food, machinery...) so I answered general public because they are addressed to the purchasers.


Local time: 14:33
English to Swedish
Why? Jul 24, 2009

Rather odd poll question isn't it?
It depends on what you translate and I translate many different things. I have translated posters and leaflets for the EU that I know the general public has read because I have seen them posted in public places, same with subtitles for popular tv shows. But I also translate medical equipment manuals and those are read by only a few professionals in a certain field.. if at all.


Abdelmonem Samir  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
Member (2006)
English to Arabic
+ ...
"a combination of the above" Jul 24, 2009

"A combination of the above" is missing as an option. If I translate an article to be published in a magazine or a guide or manual for a certain device, then it is "the General Public". If I'm translating a scientific or specialized text, then it is "experts within a certain field".

But I like it more when I translate for the general public.


Local time: 14:33
Member (2009)
English to French
+ ...
Agree Jul 24, 2009

I agree with Samir, we should be allowed to pick several answers.


Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Same here Jul 24, 2009

As the others, I have ( I hope!) various types of readers. Depends on the translation (website, instruction manual etc., etc.) That's the fun part about this job: one never knows what the next translation will be about!


Interlangue (X)
Local time: 14:33
English to French
+ ...
Another "same here" Jul 24, 2009

When I translate for the EU, it may be for the general public or specialists in a specific field. When translating for the UN, it may be for the general public or other specialists in other fields. When I translate for private companies, it is generally intended for their personnel and/or customers, in the case of certified translations, I assume the administration keeps them on record (but do they read these documents?), etc... As others say, one specific option is missing.

[Modifié le 2009-07-24 11:30 GMT]


Catherine Winzer  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
German to English
+ ...
General public on the internet Jul 24, 2009

I voted general public as a lot of what I translate is published in some way on the internet.


Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
Italian to English
Other Jul 24, 2009

It depends what I'm translating.


Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
English to German
+ ...
An odd question Jul 24, 2009

I am with Lillkakan


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just Me Jul 24, 2009

I answered "the person requesting" as an overall choice. Similar to what others have said, some of the material I translate may have a wide audience, but my greatest volume of work consists of legal documents, reports and other texts that are generally seen by very few people. Some of these documents are so long, tedious and repetitive to the extreme that I seriously doubt that anyone actually "reads" them; they may skim a lot and then just study a few important parts in detail. Other material may be used by different people for reference, but no one would actually "read" it completely.

It is usually not the actual requestor but someone else unknown to me who may have the chore of studying my translated material. Thus I never get any feedback on my work, and all my years of experience, knowledge and brilliant solutions would never see the light of day were it not for

Yes, it is lonely being a translator. The real answer in many cases is "just me". I am the only one who has throughly read and understood every word. I am the only one who knows whether my work is any good or not.

The upside is that I get paid well for it. But it sure would be nice to get paid just as well for translating a wonderful work of art that would be read by millions.

All of the above Jul 24, 2009

Interesting question, but too unfocused.
If there's "all of the above" option, then would be a bit more precise.


Ken Fagan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
French to English
Bernie Madoff Jul 24, 2009

given how boring the original texts are, I would like to think that Bernie Madoff is forced by his guards to read my translations.


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:33
English to French
+ ...
Professionals Jul 24, 2009

Although not all of my translations have professionals for a target audience, most of my translations are read by them. I think it only makes sense to answer "a combination of the above" if the target audiences of your translations are really varied, and none of them has a significantly larger footprint in your activities than another.


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:33
English to French
+ ...
Disagree Jul 24, 2009

humbird wrote:

If there's "all of the above" option, then would be a bit more precise.

On the contrary, I think the result would be much less precise, as most people would answer "all of the above", which would not give us any meaningful information.

I find that people who have translated a movie poster once but otherwise usually translate medical instrument manuals click on "all of the above" too easily. I doubt that there is a specialization that caters equally to the general public and to professionals. And I also doubt that so many of us are generalists.

Like I said, sometimes, what I translate is read by the general public. But generally, my translations are read by professionals. That was the question, wasn't it? I keep being surprised how many people don't seem to actually read the poll question--and then complain about it.

No offense, humbird!icon_smile.gif

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