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Poll: As your expertise in a given field grows, do your translations become shorter?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:33
SITE STAFF
Apr 25, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "As your expertise in a given field grows, do your translations become shorter?".

This poll was originally submitted by Oliver Lawrence. View the poll results »



 

Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:33
Italian to English
+ ...
In other words... Apr 25, 2010

...do you find yourself translating the meaning more succinctly, using fewer words, or do you find, for example, that the greater precision allowed by your growing knowledge takes more words to find its true expression?

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
YES! Apr 25, 2010

Indeed. I very often see (most frequently in Kudoz) how people tend to use a long expression to cover up for a term they did now know about. An expert translation is definitely a more concise translation.

Another thing I see every time I review Spanish translations sent by my customers for evaluation is that a very high number of translators out there use rather verbose ways of writing what they THINK the text is saying, not what the text says in reality. This creates a certain degree of ambiguity which is not acceptable in the kind of work I do.

[Edited at 2010-04-25 08:28 GMT]


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 17:33
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes, significantly Apr 25, 2010

As I have acquired much more experience in translating legal documents from Turkish into English, I have noticed a significant reduction in the word count expansion.

For example, Turkish has two expressions which are commonly encountered in legal documents: "rehin alan kişi" and "rehin veren kişi", which a 'rookie' would probaly translate literally as "the person receiving the pledge" and "the person offering the pledge"; whereas English has ready-made single words for these concepts: "pledgee" and "pledgor".


 

Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:33
English to Russian
+ ...
shorter and longer Apr 25, 2010

They become shorter in some places but longer in other places; all in all - the total length is approximately the same.

 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:33
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends Apr 25, 2010

While technical and other texts have become shorter, I still have to find a way to shorten legalese. And from the looks of the bilingual texts that I read as models (ECJ judgments, for one), that field is not promising in these terms.

 

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:33
English
+ ...
I can't help but think .... Apr 25, 2010

that the length of the final translation is a matter of your writing skills and ability. As Tim points out, there are more succinct ways to say things. And as Tomás writes, "An expert translation is definitely a more concise translation." I think that is probably because it is better written, without unnecessary verbosity. Here I must mention Rule 17 from Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style": "Omit needless words."

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends Apr 25, 2010

While in general what you guys are saying tends to be true in terms of knowing the terminology, there is no hard-and-fast rule. There is more to a text than just terminology. For one thing, an author's style can make a difference.

More important, sometimes the same concept needs to be phrased in shorter or longer ways depending on its position in the discourse (e.g., first vs. subsequent mention, shift in emphasis, reference to an antecedent, etc.). According to communication theory, 30% of communication is redundant on purpose. The redundancy is there to deliver the "point" that the person is making. We do it naturally. A text that is so compact that one has to stop and puzzle over it is not doing the reader a service.


 

Oleg Osipov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:33
English to Russian
+ ...
Also depends on the language Apr 25, 2010

It also depends on whether the language is analytic or synthetic, i.e. when translating from English into Russian, for instance, the translation "naturally" grows from 10 to 15%. As stated by the colleagues above, it also depends on the type and style of the original text.

 

Mark Nathan  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:33
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...
As a rule, shorter Apr 25, 2010

French tends to be longer than English, and I think I have become more aware of this with experience; sometimes I do a proof reading purely with a view to eliminating wordiness.


In fact, sometimes I think I get drawn into a needless ruthlessness!

[Edited at 2010-04-25 14:08 GMT]


 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:33
Member (2008)
English to Italian
yes Apr 26, 2010

definitely

 


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