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Poll: Would you read a "Translation for Dummies" book if it existed?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
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Jan 14, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you read a "Translation for Dummies" book if it existed?".

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Emin Arı  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 13:12
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
Sure! I would read it. Jan 14, 2010

Although the name of book may be a bit irritating, these kind of "for dummies" series give basics of the subject matter in a simple and easy way. Sometimes even a pro should review basics of its proffesion. You may say that "I do not certainly need it", read it even for fun, why not?

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 12:12
English to French
+ ...
Yes Jan 14, 2010

... at least for the fun, but only if I have plenty of time and nothing better to do!

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes and No Jan 14, 2010

Only if I wanted to produce dumb translations

More seriously, perhaps I would if I were an absolute beginner and wanted to get some idea of whether I wanted to do further studies or get some beginner type tips as to how to go about entering the profession. Years ago, when I was starting out, I did read the "Grammar for Dummies" book. It had some useful tidbits.

It might also be useful if it had a chapter on CAT tools or basic accounting.

[Edited at 2010-01-14 11:31 GMT]


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:12
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Other Jan 14, 2010

I answered other because I mean "maybe". I fully agree with Interlangue: I would read it for the fun, but only if I had plenty of time.

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Elena Carbonell  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:12
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why not? Jan 14, 2010

In fact I will buy like 20 copies and give them away as presents to a few friends and acquaintances who still think that what I do is either:
- write a novel
- write the unreadable text of a probably machine translated technical manual
- interpreting at conferences with very famous politicians
- stay at home and say that I am working just because I am ashamed to say I am a housewife
- host coffe and tea parties whenever they are near my house with the mere excuse: I thought I could drop for cofee...Grrrrrrrrrrr.



[Edited at 2010-01-14 09:38 GMT]


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Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:12
English to Dutch
+ ...
Yes, very useful Jan 14, 2010

Most of our clients are "dummies". The book would probably help me to step out of my own viewpoint and into theirs. Part of my job is selling translations and explaining to clients what translation actually entails. The dummies series are usually well written and well researched. If I would take but one good line out of the book to add to my sales pitch repertoire, or an insight that something I consider self-explanatory or self-evident is actually something I shouldn't take for granted, it would be worth the investment in time and money.

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:12
Member (2008)
English to Italian
nice idea! Jan 14, 2010

Elena Carbonell wrote:

In fact I will buy like 20 copies and give them away as presents to a few friends and acquaintances who still think that what I do is either:
- write a novel
- write the unreadable text of a probably machine translated technical manual
- interpreting at conferences with very famous politicians
- stay at home and say that I am working just because I am ashamed to say I am a housewife
- host coffe and tea parties whenever they are near my house with the mere excuse: I thought I could drop for cofee...Grrrrrrrrrrr.



[Edited at 2010-01-14 09:38 GMT]


nice...
same here:

but also to people who call you at 10 am and start talking "because you're always free"


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:12
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
ATA booklet: Translation – getting it right Jan 14, 2010

It is a bit off topic, but the American Translators Association published a little booklet called Translation – getting it right: A guide for buying translations. You can freely download it – or send the link to those to whom you would recommend a Dummies book so that they get a better grip on our job.

A Dummies book along the same lines would be a great read.

Attila

**
Updated to correct link

[Edited at 2010-01-14 14:27 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:12
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I might actually WRITE it Jan 14, 2010

No, I don't have an overly inflated ego, and I don't think I'm the best translator around.

Keep in mind tht we are talking about "dummies", so it's lo-level stuff.

My longest-standing client is a Brazilian, married to an American who is also his business partner. The couple has been living in Brazil for some 4 decades already, but she still speaks Portuguese with a heavy accent. They switch languages all the time, so one could say they live in a permanently bilingual environment.

Actually this client was my mentor into translating video for dubbing, so he pointed out so many dumb mistakes I made over time, that deliberately avoiding each one of these has become second nature to me. The "Translation for Dummies" book would be a matter of listing them in an organized manner. Nevertheless, I think such a book would be language-pair-sensitive.

The most typical snippet from such a book for EN-PT would stem from verbs not flexing in English while doing so in Portuguese, thus rendering countless pronouns redundant.

For instance, a normal (fabricated here) text in English might say:
You should complete form X while you wait for your transaction to be processed. If you do so, you won't waste time, as you will have it ready when you are required to surrender it.


As expected, Google Translate gave me this gibberish:
Você deve preencher formulário X, enquanto você espera para a sua operação a ser processado. Se você fizer isso, você não vai perder tempo, como você vai tê-lo pronto quando você é obrigado a renunciar.


A "dummy" would translate it as:
Você deve preencher o formulário X enquanto você aguarda o processamento da sua transação. Se você fizer assim, você não perderá tempo, já que você o terá pronto quando você tiver que entregá-lo.

Examples of this translation style may be found on countless commercial web sites.

A "smarter" proofreader would do this:
Você deve preencher o formulário X enquanto (você) aguarda o processamento da sua transação. Se (você) fizer assim, (você) não perderá tempo, já que (você) o terá pronto quando (você) tiver que entregá-lo.


... turning the translation into this:
Você deve preencher o formulário X enquanto aguarda o processamento da sua transação. Se fizer assim, não perderá tempo, já que o terá pronto quando tiver que entregá-lo.

... much lighter and better flowing in PT-BR.

Silly as it may seem, I often have to fix this specific kind of thing while proofreading material from good translators. Yet it is just one out of many possible such items.

Nevertheless, my book would be incomplete, as it would comprise only those mistakes I made in my early days, and yet only those on which I got feedback and guidance. Any other translator in my pair will have made different mistakes, and therefore might have received other feedback.


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
live and learn Jan 14, 2010

Sure, a fool learns by his own mistakes while a wise learns by the fool's)

Quite often I remember some trivial long forgotten things which could improve my life. Even helping a pupil I remember some nuances, so I think it's not a shame to learn or remember something.

On the other hand, *most* dummy-oriented books are so waffling that I'd rather read a dozen of workbooks)


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Rita Utt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:12
Member
English to German
+ ...
No, I'd rather write one Jan 14, 2010

together with José .....

)))


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Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:12
Partial member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
I think I would always have something better to do Jan 14, 2010

Interlangue wrote:

... at least for the fun, but only if I have plenty of time and nothing better to do!


... like studying aspects of the profession where I know I have scope for enhancing my skills and knowledge. We need to aspire to professional excellence not just to being a bit better than dummies.

[Edited at 2010-01-14 10:47 GMT]


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Manuela Junghans  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:12
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Brilliant Elena :-) Jan 14, 2010

...that list of yours could go on for a while longer...

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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 05:12
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No Jan 14, 2010

Actually, my answer would be "Not anymore". I mean if I was just leaving university with all the knowledge in my head but not any experience at all, OK then I would read it to see how the thing works. But now I guess I'm too experienced - and know most of the tricks of the profession - that it would be a too simple, boring and predictable book.

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