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Poll: Have you ever suffered from "translator's block"?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 09:28
SITE STAFF
Apr 6, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever suffered from "translator's block"?".

This poll was originally submitted by Julianne Rowland. View the poll results »



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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:28
Member (2009)
French to English
Not as such Apr 6, 2011

I have not suffered from "translator's block" as any sort of equivalent to "writer's block," but then again, I do not have to make up the content of a translation from whole cloth. It is much easier with translation than writing to skip around in the translation, work the sentence back to front, or put in a placeholder word. When I am really stuck, I will put a phrase in an automatic translator and that usually comes up with something different enough to what was in my mind to get me out of my rut. On rare occasions, Google will spit out something almost sensible, but I do not check it with that expectation.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Apr 6, 2011

Not sure what is meant by "translator's block". Sometimes I can get stuck on a term, or have it on the tip of my tongue, even knowing that I've translated it recently. Other times the terms just don't seem/feel right. Jenn's tip about MT helping out is a good one.
Some fields are more difficult than others, for example literature/art ...
The kudoz area can be helpful for brainstorming too, although am not sure if that is deemed misuse.

[Edited at 2011-04-06 14:22 GMT]


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 13:28
On some days Apr 6, 2011

I am very unproductive, can't read a long sentence to the end, unable to formulate a sentence in the target language without changing it constantly...

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 18:28
English to French
+ ...
Not as such Apr 6, 2011

... it may happen but never lasts forever: get a second brain (colleague, specialist) in the thinking process, sleep over it, do some physical exercise (walk, shopping, gardening) have always done the trick so far.

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carmaj
France
Local time: 18:28
Member (2009)
English to French
+ ...
memory loss Apr 6, 2011

It occurred recently when the client was actually waiting for me to complete the document and give it to him. I just could not remember the French word I was looking for, although French is my native language. I ended up with a synonymous expression because I had to rush. I promised myself never again to accept translating while the client is waiting. Too stressful!

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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:28
English to French
+ ...
no Apr 6, 2011

but on a few occasions, I've had to think about the word which did not come straightaway - I blamed it on fatigue and time for a holiday or a good rest.

Sometimes, when translating, the expression does not come straightaway even though I know it, but when relaxing and waiting patiently, it comes along eventually.

However, I do translate mainly pharmaceutical and legal texts, so I don't have as such creative blocks such as in marketing or other fields of translation.


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JAMTranslations
United States
Local time: 09:28
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
yes Apr 6, 2011

... it's called fatigue!

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Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:28
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Sometimes I hate the text and have to force myself Apr 6, 2011

I'm dealing with it just now. I've got 50 pages written by a French tax attorney. I hate taxation work and I hate the way French tax lawyers write.... They torture the sentences to the point that you have to read it 15 times to understand the simple, simplistic and boring idea they are trying to obfuscate, complicate (and annoy me with). I would much rather water the plants and walk the dog than try to puzzle this out....

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:28
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Yes, Apr 6, 2011

Joy Daniel wrote:

... it's called fatigue!


I must absolutely agree! After working on a project for several hours, I find myself misspelling the easiest words, e. g. "she" = "schi"

Oddly enough, my memory sometimes fails me when I'm searching for the correct term in... German! A sure sign that it's (past) bedtime or time for some Cappuccino.

Furthermore, I've noticed that when a "translator's block" sneaks up on me, I usually find myself faced with a writer's block as well. Fortunately, neither of them happens too often.


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:28
German to English
+ ...
Yes, if it means very short-term lack of "inspiration". Apr 6, 2011

This lack of inspiration normally manifests itself positively though:
I make coffee; get up, pace and stretch; look at the view outside.
Sometimes I talk to my partner and explain my frustration - which often results in the "key expression" springing to my mind, and I rush back to the computer smiling.


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Louise Souter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
The most annoying thing... Apr 6, 2011

is when I come up with two ways of translating something and cannot figure out which is accurate. I then end up having to check with a native speaker of the source language.

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R-i-c-h-a-r-d  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:28
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Yes... Apr 6, 2011

...when my neighbour decided to cut 60cm ceramic tiles into strips of about 10cm in order to re-tile his entire house over a period of about 9 weeks.

I'm not sure how to express the sound of a tile cutter, but it goes something like:

zeee-weeee-eeee-eeee- eeeeeeee, zeee-weee-eeee-eeee- eeeeeeee... For the love of God.

I'm not sure this is the same thing as "translator's block", but it definitely had the same effect.


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Frances Leggett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:28
Italian to English
+ ...
Very amusing! Apr 6, 2011

Yes!

Mark Hamlen wrote:

I'm dealing with it just now. I've got 50 pages written by a French tax attorney. I hate taxation work and I hate the way French tax lawyers write.... They torture the sentences to the point that you have to read it 15 times to understand the simple, simplistic and boring idea they are trying to obfuscate, complicate (and annoy me with). I would much rather water the plants and walk the dog than try to puzzle this out....


When reading the source text becomes "deciphering" the source text and mathematically pulling apart the whole sentence (which is actually a whole paragraph in the case of lots of bureaucratic Italian documents) and then trying to match up the subject to the verb etc!
And when there are several one after the other, I put at least one of them into a machine translator just to see if it can make any sense of it! Sometimes it does and if not, I have to perservere!

[Edited at 2011-04-06 20:46 GMT]


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Diego Carpio
Argentina
Local time: 13:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
yep Apr 6, 2011

Joy Daniel wrote:

... it's called fatigue!


Fatigue, as simple as that.


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