Poll: Do you check your terminology doubts with an expert?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:47
SITE STAFF
Feb 25, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you check your terminology doubts with an expert?".

This poll was originally submitted by Britt D. Laux. View the poll results »



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Adnan Özdemir  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 15:47
Member (2007)
German to Turkish
+ ...
No. But maybe Yes Feb 25, 2011

I am translator + expert.

First, i translate all.

2 hours later i am an expert. As an expert of my own translations, only i check it


Anadolu'dan selamlar
Saludos desde Anatolia


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Marga Demmers  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:47
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Yes, sometimes Feb 25, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I had to translate a police report (Spanish-Catalan into Dutch) which included a forensic DNA investigation. A colleague specialized in this subject thanks to a doctorate degree agreed to check my translation, I was very grateful for her help and learned a bit more in the process!

Marga

[Edited at 2011-02-25 09:34 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-02-25 09:35 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:47
English to German
+ ...
Yes Feb 25, 2011

So far I have pestered lawyers, printing companies in Germany and the US, a police officer in the US, the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, a jeweller and a manufacturer of corrugated cardboard with my questions.

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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:47
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
when I need to ... and when I get a reply Feb 25, 2011

I mostly work in technical / medical so it is reasonably easy to find experts.
I have personal contacts so it is easy and quick to get responses.

In some fields it can be hard to get a reply
I once had a translation for piano maker/restorer and I have no personal contact in that or any related field and I sent out some questions about terms for parts of the piano and it took a long time (in one case just under a year !!!) to get replies from the people I contacted like the Conservatory, University music departments, music schools, piano tuners, etc.

[Edited at 2011-02-25 10:06 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-02-25 10:18 GMT]


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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:47
English to French
+ ...
yes sometimes Feb 25, 2011

particularly when I'm doing interpreting or translations which start to fall off my fields of expertise - then I double check - some conferences or documents are not clear cut within one domain but can cover several

most people are pleased and happy even flattered when you double check politely with them

sometimes you really wonder how do they say it in French - only to discover that they actually use the English word itself - sometimes they've got an equivalent and only an expert can tell you when you don't know yet


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Ligia Dias Costa  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:47
Member (2008)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Pester... Feb 25, 2011

As Nicole says, I have also pestered a magnetic ressonance technician, the purchase supervisor in a major retail chain for exotic fruits, and my usual IT, finance and lawyer friends...

The MR technician and the Supervisor, I do not know. I just called a lab and the retail chain and asked to speak to a person who could help me...

Hehe, talk about nerve...

Ligia


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 13:47
English to French
+ ...
Yes Feb 25, 2011

A habit that goes back to pre-Internet times, when I used to call businesses or experts in all sorts of fields, not so they would check my translation, but to confirm (or correct) the terminology I was using.

I also used to "hang out" more with different people according to the subject I was working on, like inviting industrial electrician friends for dinner when I was working on wiring and such, or a houseful of computer geeks when I was doing a lot of press releases on the subject, or lawyer friends when working on legal texts, or an architect who happens to be my brother in law, or going to my notary when I started doing articles of incorporation, etc.
I would basically set them talking about their field/interests and would listen, sometimes taking notes, asking questions not about translating words but rather explaining concepts.

I still contact people now, on completely different subjects, like human rights, public administration, demography, ..., very often complete strangers but who "have a name" in their field.

The only refusals I ever had came from debt collection companies.


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:47
Member (2006)
German to English
No Feb 25, 2011

meaning that I check with my customer or, if necessary, I post here at ProZ. But not direct with any particular person.

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Caro Maucher  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:47
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Occasionally Feb 25, 2011

But I found the problem with experts is that they know too much and then they start asking questions about the context which I can't answer because I'm not an expert.

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Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 06:47
English to Dutch
+ ...
yes Feb 25, 2011

A translator is getting paid for his translation and has committed himself to doing a good job (at least, I hope so!). The customer can't always answer your questions and we are not allowed to just guess. So what else can you do...

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:47
English to German
+ ...
I second that. Feb 25, 2011

Michaël Temmerman wrote:

A translator is getting paid for his translation and has committed himself to doing a good job (at least, I hope so!). The customer can't always answer your questions and we are not allowed to just guess. So what else can you do...


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Feb 25, 2011

At first I responded "a couple of times" but having read the other comments I realise I do it all the time. For example if I'm translating furniture items I may go into a furniture store and ask the staff about particular items I'm not sure about.
When working with universities and research groups, concepts and terms sometimes come up that also have to be checked with the boffins.
Then again, I have one client who, apart from sending me "normal" texts to translate, has an online database for software strings which regularly sends me strings to be translated. The strings often appear random, lack any context and have enigmatic acronyms. The SW could be from/for Spain or Mexico or other countries, but this is not always easy to discern and the terms often vary considerably from one zone to another. The program has a feedback/query section where I can highlight any doubts or queries that need confirming, for example this morning I had to check the meaning of "C. Articulo" because the C could be "Código" or "Cantidad"...
I am actually quite relieved when it turns out that NOBODY knows what something is supposed to mean... since it means it's not just me that's in the dark!


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