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Poll: Do you usually read the whole source text before starting your translation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Oct 6, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you usually read the whole source text before starting your translation?".

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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:25
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
I don't read it but Oct 6, 2010

I certainly peruse entire document to make sure that there are no potential problems - illegible fragments, sections written in other languages, etc...
I normally do it before I accept a job.

S


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:25
English to Russian
+ ...
No, but ... Oct 6, 2010

Reading the whole text before starting translation would definitely be helpful but is often too time consuming. In most cases it is more effective to plunge into work right away and then return and correct some sentences as work progresses.

[Edited at 2010-10-06 08:22 GMT]


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 13:25
English to French
+ ...
No Oct 6, 2010

Have no time. But I do have a quick look and check for tables, legibility, and so on.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 6, 2010

No time.
What I DO do is scan the thing quickly to see if it's doable, and if there are any elements or queries that will slow down the process, since about 90% of clients in Spain designate EVERY job as "urgent", otherwise they suppose it will never get done... so we are always in a hurry.

I find that a quick once-over is usually enough to tell me if I am able to take the job on or not. In fact, I'm not even sure that the final revison/proofing should be considered "reading"...


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:25
Member (2008)
English to Italian
no Oct 6, 2010

The documents I translate are always divided into specific sections, so I know where potential problems can be found, and I only check those parts for terminology and quickly the entire document for other problems.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Just check for major problems Oct 6, 2010

Like the others so far. I just let the text unfold. People have said that one should read it through first, and I have tried, but it always feels like a waste of time. I find myself translating it in my head as I read it - so what's the point? Why not just do it?

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Frank van 't Veer  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:25
German to Dutch
+ ...
No time, no budget Oct 6, 2010

I sometimes go over a text very quickly, mostly in Word, to see if there are any problems with either the layout or special characters (German), that might cause problems. Otherwise, I simpy start translating from the start. Nowadays, there is simply no budget to start a translation with reading it first.

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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:25
English
+ ...
No, waste of time, however, Oct 6, 2010

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

Like the others so far. I just let the text unfold. People have said that one should read it through first, and I have tried, but it always feels like a waste of time. I find myself translating it in my head as I read it - so what's the point? Why not just do it?


BEFORE I accept a job, especially from a new client, I will translate for myself a small sample from someplace in the middle of the text. Maybe one page. Then I have a better idea of what's involved, the quality of the text, the vocabulary, and whether or not I will be able to do a good job. I learned to do this after reading a sample before accepting a job and finding that once I got down to actually translating it, the text was more complicated than I had thought upon merely reading it.

I always ask for a sample before accepting a job, again especially from new clients. If I am only being considered for a job, I return the translated sample to show the prospective client how I would translate their text. This always works. I've always gotten the job.

[Edited at 2010-10-06 10:36 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:25
English to German
+ ...
Yes Oct 6, 2010

It is crucial when translating advertising/marketing text. You need to figure out the overall tonality first and this type of text has the tendency of using recurring motives that need to be maintained consistently as a stylistic device, otherwise you might have to start all over again.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:25
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Depends on the text Oct 6, 2010

Literature and advertising copy need an initial reading as they can vary so much in tone and style. You have to get a feel for it before you start translating, like an actor preparing for a part.

In most other fields I think it's unnecessary.


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
I know you should, but I don't Oct 6, 2010

At least, not usually, unless it's very short (a page). I just don't have the time or the inclination. I would just lose concentration and think about something else, so there's very little point. However, I'm sure way back when I actually taught translation that I told my students never ever to start translating the text without reading it all through first. Hope none of them read this!

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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:25
Member
French to English
+ ...
Astounded! Oct 6, 2010

I'm astounded by the results of this poll!

If your rates are too low to allow for a read through before starting, then why not raise your rates (and simplify your life)?

In all honesty, I don't always do an A-Z read through of the entire document before accepting a job (although I do give it a very thorough once-over); however before actually translating I always read through the document. I can't imagine doing otherwise.

When I translate academic work, I always print out the document and read through it highlighting any potentially problematic areas that will require extensive research. With less obtuse translations, I may skip the print-out, but I certainly always read them through.

It's amazing how often the answer to a query lies further along in the text. I'm almost sure that an initial read through saves time in the long run and certainly helps one get an overall understanding before starting a translation - otherwise aren't you sort of just taking stabs in the dark?

I do understand that this question must be contingent on the type of translation we do, but in my specialty fields there's really no choice in the matter.

Best,
Jocelyne


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 13:25
English to French
+ ...
??? Oct 6, 2010

Jocelyne S wrote:

It's amazing how often the answer to a query lies further along in the text. I'm almost sure that an initial read through saves time in the long run and certainly helps one get an overall understanding before starting a translation - otherwise aren't you sort of just taking stabs in the dark?

I do understand that this question must be contingent on the type of translation we do, but in my specialty fields there's really no choice in the matter.



And do you remember them all when your "text" is about 300 pages long? In my case, that would mean I'd accept the job or start working on it after several days!


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 13:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Glad to see all those honest nos Oct 6, 2010

Of course we should, but we don't, do we. Time is money...

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Poll: Do you usually read the whole source text before starting your translation?

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