Poll: Does the type of translations you generally do allow you to be creative?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:13
SITE STAFF
Mar 24, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Does the type of translations you generally do allow you to be creative?".

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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:13
English
+ ...
Yes, most of the time. Mar 24, 2011

I recently translated a children's book, for kids about 10-12 years old. It was great fun to think up names for characters that were just as suitable for the characters as the Dutch names, names that suited their personality and role in the story. Dialogue also required a lot of creativity. I had to maintain the gist and flavor of the dialogue but of course find just the right idiom or figure of speech.

I've also translated advertising texts that involved storytelling and fictional situations. I can't tell you how creative I must be in these cases. In the end, it's always fun and I have a tremendous sense of accomplishment, but this kind of translating is much more time (and thought) consuming than "ordinary" translation.


 

Susanna Martoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:13
Member (2009)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Just sometimes Mar 24, 2011

Most of my translation jobs are technical (maintenance instructions, user's manuals) and in those cases there's very little creative touches to consider...

But I have also translated several books, allowing me to be very creative.


 

Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:13
German to English
+ ...
Translation is creative. Mar 24, 2011

I voted "yes," although I suppose it depends on what you mean by "creative."

I almost exclusively translate legal texts, which—I suppose—don't allow for much creativity, inasmuch as the word is synonymous with "originality" or "artistic freedom."

And yet, I feel that translation is inherently creative.

Translation is creative in the sense that something is being created.

Correspondingly, most (if not all) legal systems consider translations to be creative works, at least as far as copyright is concerned.

Here's to creative contracts!

icon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2011-03-24 10:55 GMT]


 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:13
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
sometimes Mar 24, 2011

I've been translating a website which, as marketing copy, needs to sound bouncy, not 'translated'.
I'm also working on a report about teenage offenders. The author wants me to put some oomph into it and is giving me the goahead to be creative, not wanting it to sound all dry and well, like a report. More like a magazine article.

The worst though, are the ones where the clients believe themselves to be creative...for example, a description of a charitable event. The client obviously believed she was creative and was not satisfied with my translation, saying i didn't 'get it'. I actually thought I improved on it, but she wanted a word for word recreation of her magnum opus.


 

Amandine Added  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:13
Member (2010)
English to French
+ ...
Sometimes..but what is creativity? Mar 24, 2011

Well, I voted "yes sometimes" because, as a legal translator (mainly), I would not say I can be creative in an artistic way.
Most of time I need to be the closest to the original (except when asked to explain or deepened some precise points) and must be careful with terms so in that sense my creativity can be restricted.

But I think creativity defines (in part and except for technical texts) our work. Whatever type of translation, when faced to an untranslatable expression, we all have to be creative to find the best way to translate the idea.
So I would say every translation implies creativity, but the document and requirements given always more or less reduce it..


 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:13
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends on the project Mar 24, 2011

I often translate scripts for movies or plays. Those do allow a great deal of creativity in designing the English speech pattern for each character, translating jokes, etc.

Obviously, when I'm translating documentation for pharmaceutical clinical trials, there's considerably less creativity involved (though researching terminology can involve creative skills, in thinking of where and how to document terms).


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Mar 24, 2011

It took me a moment to think about it and then looking here I agree completely with Derek, who has expressed it well. I also do a lot of legal documents with which I must be very careful to follow the original exactly. However, translation by its very essence is creative, and it requires me to find creative solutions to difficult language, make it flow and be easily understood while remaining entirely faithful. Thus, despite the fact that the work I do seldom involves "works of art", I still consider it to have a strong creative element.

 

Mafalda d'Orey de Faria  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 14:13
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Technical translator Mar 24, 2011

Just like Susanna on the technical area.

Technical translations imply that you write what is on the source text without any deviation.

That's my job.


 

oxygen4u
Portugal
Local time: 14:13
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes!!! Mar 24, 2011

For the past 5 years I've been doing mostly literary translation and its very rewarding (not moneywise, though). I find yourself paying close attention to the way other people talk, constantly looking for inspiration for the characters of the books I have to translate. And sometimes the solution is right at my doorstep: the expressions my children use, the way my grandmother speaks and the "old" expressions she comes up with...

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:13
Member (2006)
German to English
Here too Mar 24, 2011

Mafalda d'Orey de Faria wrote:

Just like Susanna on the technical area.

Technical translations imply that you write what is on the source text without any deviation.

That's my job.


 


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