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Poll: Is knowledge of English essential for a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:27
SITE STAFF
Nov 5, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is knowledge of English essential for a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by Angio Garbarino

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:27
Member
French to English
+ ...
No, but Nov 5, 2009

it probably helps a lot.

(And to answer this poll, it is essential!)

Best,
Jocelyne


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Andrea Flaßbeck  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:27
English to German
+ ...
Other Nov 5, 2009

Well, for EN to X (and vice versa, of course) translators, I guess it is, but other than that ...

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Lise Smidth  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 08:27
German to Danish
+ ...
Yes - to take part in ProZ.com Nov 5, 2009

Even for someone like me who is not working with English at all, English is essential because it enables you to communicate with other translators from all over the world here on ProZ.com

- and also a lot of software and other ressources on the internet are only available in English.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:27
English to Japanese
+ ...
Yes Nov 5, 2009

because it's the lingua franca of the world. Even medical doctors study names of disease, illness and therapy overtaking German a few decades ago.

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Heike Kurtz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:27
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
NO Nov 5, 2009

You can certainly get along without it (in fact, I know quite a few fellow translators who do) and it is not essential for the actual translation work if you do not translate from or into English.

However, not knowing any English does limit your possibilities quite a lot, as the colleagues wrote earlier. Example: I chose to use "German" as default setting for proz.com. Still, much content is only available in English - which is not a problem for me, but... The same applies to many software products. The interface may be available in German. But the manual usually is not etc.

It might be interesting to offer this poll in several other languages, because people who don't know English can obviously not participate in it and therefore the "yes" answers will most probably prevail.

[Bearbeitet am 2009-11-05 09:12 GMT]


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:27
Member (2008)
English to Italian
other Nov 5, 2009

Obviously we are speaking about those translators who don't work with English.
Well in my opinion, a minimum knowledge is essential.

Example:

A Spanish company is looking for Russian-German translators... well the translator doesn't speak Spanish, how would s/he communicate? maybe in German or Russian... but it is more likely that s/he finds someone who speaks English


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 08:27
English to French
+ ...
Which? Nov 5, 2009

Which English are we talking about? Asian? African? American? British? Australian?
It all depends on what you need it for... I would not call any "essential".


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Rebekka Groß  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:27
English to German
No Nov 5, 2009

though to participate in ProZ.com it would be useful.

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John Walsh  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:27
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Personally.... Nov 5, 2009


Which English are we talking about? Asian? African? American? British? Australian?


I like to call it "International English"

I wouldn't say it is "essential" for ALL translators, but extremely useful......without a doubt.

[Edited at 2009-11-05 10:17 GMT]


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:27
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Yes Nov 5, 2009

Of course it is not really essential since you can always get along without it, but it does limit your activity a lot. The points made about ProZ, other translators and software are good points, but the most important for me is that you wouldn't be able to find customers outside of your linguistic area, which is really a pity and can be a great limitation for some countries.

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xxxkenny2006woo

Local time: 14:27
English to Chinese
yes and no Nov 5, 2009

It is essential if your pair or pairs involve English. As for those whose working materials are non-English, I do not consider illteracy of the language has anything to do with the quality of the reproduction. But sure, knowing the tongue is quite useful to expand translators' business, as some earlier posters said.

[Edited at 2009-11-05 11:19 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-11-05 11:20 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Nov 5, 2009

Even if neither of your source/target laguages are English, I believe that since English is still the de facto lingua franca of business and world affairs in general, a basic knowledge of English is, although perhaps not indispensable to all intents and purposes, a desirable asset.

On another tack, from the posts on this and other sites, there are obviously many people with few if any qualms about translating into English despite having only a rudimentary knowledge of it, but don't let me get started on that particular bugbear!


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Venkatesh Sundaram  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:57
Member
German to English
Sometimes.... Nov 5, 2009

Gianluca Marras wrote:

Obviously we are speaking about those translators who don't work with English.
Well in my opinion, a minimum knowledge is essential.

Example:

A Spanish company is looking for Russian-German translators... well the translator doesn't speak Spanish, how would s/he communicate? maybe in German or Russian... but it is more likely that s/he finds someone who speaks English


That is true - a rudimentary knowledge can be halpful in many cases even if one does not translate from or into English


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:27
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other as well Nov 5, 2009

Depends on your market.

In expanding that market, it helps.


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