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Poll: What would most help you increase your translation quality?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Apr 18, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What would most help you increase your translation quality?".

This poll was originally submitted by Elodie Bonnafous. View the poll results »



 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:54
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Target language prowess Apr 18, 2010

Assuming you already have a sound knowledge of, and good instinct for, your source language (I think this is a fair assumption to make; advanced second-language acquisition should be our starting point), especially in non-technical fields the final product is only as good as your writing skills in the target language. These can be developed indefinitely.

 

Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Higher quality of the source texts Apr 18, 2010

For me personally, translating mainly technical texts, a higher quality of the source texts would help me increasing my translation quality.

Using a consistent terminology and knowing the very basics in MS Word are two important prerequisites that too many clients simply ignore. If different authors have contributed with different chapters, the translator is often the first person who really reads through the complete document from the first to the last page.


 

Interlangue (X)
Angola
Local time: 13:54
English to French
+ ...
Definitely agree Apr 18, 2010

Erik Hansson wrote:

For me personally, translating mainly technical texts, a higher quality of the source texts would help me increasing my translation quality.

Using a consistent terminology and knowing the very basics in MS Word are two important prerequisites that too many clients simply ignore. If different authors have contributed with different chapters, the translator is often the first person who really reads through the complete document from the first to the last page.



It would be nice if authors stopped mixing up languages or writing in a language they do not completely master...

[Modifié le 2010-04-18 12:42 GMT]


 

Cecilia Civetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:54
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Other - Better written source texts Apr 18, 2010

Erik Hansson wrote:

For me personally, translating mainly technical texts, a higher quality of the source texts would help me increasing my translation quality.

Using a consistent terminology and knowing the very basics in MS Word are two important prerequisites that too many clients simply ignore. If different authors have contributed with different chapters, the translator is often the first person who really reads through the complete document from the first to the last page.



Exactly! I was about to give the same answer.

[Edited at 2010-04-18 12:45 GMT]


 

Sam21
Qatar
Local time: 15:54
Arabic to English
+ ...
More Time ... Apr 18, 2010

As no 'combination' choice was given I believe this answer would save me the proofreading time and the better grasp of the ST, though still the proofreader happens to be a top-priority at times for some types of texts, especially technical, if I get Erik right. Better dictionaries don't exist, and perhaps are yet to come!

In technical fields, it would be really hard to work under a tight deadline pressure. Source text is enough!

Now wait a minute. For a good translation to be delivered you should master source language (the target is presumably within limits and under control), work under tight deadline with no request for more, with largely insufficient dictionaries (with the oustanding rebirth of brand new technical terms), sometimes with no time to proofread (even if willing to pay for it on your own), and develop your own research method to help deal with and heal any (if not all) of these bugs!

Too many tracks for self-development! How lucky we are!icon_smile.gif


 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:54
Member (2009)
French to English
So close... Apr 18, 2010

The available answers listed "better knowledge" and "CAT Tool," but not "better knowledge of my CAT tool." The problem with user friendly CAT tools is that they can lull you into not learning the more advanced features and it is only by using the full capabilities of the software that you can really increase speed and consistency.

 

Yvonne Becker  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
I voted "better knowledge of the field" Apr 18, 2010

...because it would help me to make decisions as to how to translate text even if the source text was not well written. However, there are other factors that might help: better deadlines, having a proofreader, etc.

Cecilia Civetta wrote:

Erik Hansson wrote:

For me personally, translating mainly technical texts, a higher quality of the source texts would help me increasing my translation quality.

Using a consistent terminology and knowing the very basics in MS Word are two important prerequisites that too many clients simply ignore. If different authors have contributed with different chapters, the translator is often the first person who really reads through the complete document from the first to the last page.



Exactly! I was about to give the same answer.

[Edited at 2010-04-18 12:45 GMT]


I also agree with this, especially since I have had to translate texts coming from Iran, China, Japan, Germany, France, which were written in such an awful English that I had to guess what the authors were trying to say. If they want to release their texts in English, they should hire a good translator. It would make my job a lot easier when I have to translate this material into Spanish. This also applies to the writing style of some authors who have no command in their own language, and invent expressions or use others they do not even know what they mean (this is more common in Spanish documents).

[Edited at 2010-04-18 17:39 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-04-18 17:40 GMT]


 

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:54
Member (2002)
Hungarian to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Other: more experience Apr 18, 2010

It has been my observation over the years that the more experience I gain in any particular field, the better the quality of the translation. This includes not only the actual translation experience but also the associated research/glossary building/reading/writing experience.

 

Joanna Hald  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 13:54
Danish to Polish
+ ...
Dictionaries, please! Apr 18, 2010

I translate between Danish and Polish. The lack of dictionaries is great. Sometimes searching through DK-EN-PL and PL-EN-DK and the Internet consumes so much time. I'm fluent in both languages - but not in all fields! I envy translators of "big" languages with many, sometimes very specialized dictionaries.

 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:54
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
better writers Apr 18, 2010

would make my job easier. A great many people don't seem to think writing skills are necessary in the business world and obviously don't read much. This is obvious to me even if it's not in my native language. It's left to us poor shnooks to translate poorly written documents, full of slang and horrendous grammar. And worse, are the ones who imagine themselves as 'creative' which recently happened to me....they got offended because I 'didn't get' the meaning. I studied english literature in university, and I don't expect everyone to do the same, but I wish that people read more.

 

Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 13:54
English to German
+ ...
Other Apr 18, 2010

I voted "other", becaus the main problem is the poor quality of the original texts. And therefore am with Marlene.

[Bearbeitet am 2010-04-18 19:24 GMT]


 

JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 08:54
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other: A Collaborator. Apr 18, 2010

Specifically, an and collaborator. Some of the best translations I've ever submitted have been collaborations.


Jane


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:54
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Deeper understanding Apr 18, 2010

I put 'better knowledge of the source language', because I have the feeling that if I were natively bilingual what I see as awkwardness in the source text would be clear to me. It's against human nature to utter or write something that you don't expect other people to understand (Grice's "principle of cooperation"). So I don't blame the author when I don't "get" it. I try to get to the bottom of what they're saying, and of course that takes time.

So I also agree with Jane that a collaborator would fill the gap.

P.S. Sometimes texts are "dictated but not read." Then you waste time and end up posting a questions on KudoZ. I recall a recent one: "Faiser" turned out to be 'Pfizer'. Not reading what you've dictated should be a punishable crime.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:54
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's why I voted for a proofreader Apr 18, 2010

JaneTranslates wrote:
Specifically, an excellent and compatible collaborator. Some of the best translations I've ever submitted have been collaborations.
Jane


If I'm translating, my collaborator is a proofreader. However my usual proofreader - an agency introduced us to each other, and made us a team - now and then is the translator, and I'm the proofreader. We swap roles at a flip of a coin.

The key here is mutual respect, and no competition. We want to deliver the best teamwork we can. When we change each other's text, it doesn't mean we consider it wrong, but simply that one of us thinks we can do better than that. Quite often, she gives 2-3 suggestions to what might otherwise be my 'final' text. And many times her 3 suggestions trigger a fourth in me, which will be a great way to say it, not just a good one. Of course we do catch each other's occasional typos and grammar slips. However we don't keep score, as we rank each other as equally competent.

The point is in having a fresh set of eyes going over what we'd think is our final output.

Amazingly, we live 5 time zones and some 10,000 km away from each other. We only met once, after more than two years we had been working together.

Getting to the inevitalbe rant about rates, if the client seldom is willing to pay barely either one's (market average) translation rates, would they be willing to spend more for the other's proofreading? This level of service is affordable only to clients who value translation for what it's worth.


 
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