Poll: I consider the process of translating as...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Local time: 00:43
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Nov 5, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "I consider the process of translating as...".

This poll was originally submitted by Elodie Bonnafous. View the poll results »



 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Art subsumed by technology Nov 5, 2011

Nowadays, the once revered translator's art has been dragged down into the slime of commerce and technology.

A swift glance at any translators' forum will illustrate this - only a very small percentage of queries or discussions focus on the actual translating of content from source to target language or the best tone, register or term for any given purpose, whereas the bulk concern technical issues like "my TXX file won't merge in Zappo Mem" or whatever new gizmo the latest gurus are touting.

So, to sum up you could say that I consider the process of translating nowadays as morbidly over-concerned with techological and fast-buck business aspects, with everyone and their uncle in an increasingly unseemly and often unnecessary hurry.





[Edited at 2011-11-05 08:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-11-05 08:24 GMT]


 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:43
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Both Nov 5, 2011

Like any activity that involves overcoming complex problems, translating requires both "technical" knowledge - in our case a special awareness of language - and creativity - the spark that gives you good ideas.



[Edited at 2011-11-05 08:56 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:43
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Both Nov 5, 2011

It depends on the type of the translation.

Literary and poetic translations are more "art-related" than, e. g. medical or technical translations which, at times, leave hardly any room for "real" creativity.icon_smile.gif


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:43
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Art, technology, and much, much more Nov 5, 2011

In the first place, a lot of translation involves very little technology. While a translator couldn't survive in the business today without a computer to work on and access to e-mail and the Internet, translation without CAT tools is alive and well.

It would take a whole essay to describe the many components that go into the process.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:43
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Couldn't agree more!!! Nov 5, 2011

neilmac wrote:

Nowadays, the once revered translator's art has been dragged down into the slime of commerce and technology.

A swift glance at any translators' forum will illustrate this - only a very small percentage of queries or discussions focus on the actual translating of content from source to target language or the best tone, register or term for any given purpose, whereas the bulk concern technical issues like "my TXX file won't merge in Zappo Mem" or whatever new gizmo the latest gurus are touting.

So, to sum up you could say that I consider the process of translating nowadays as morbidly over-concerned with techological and fast-buck business aspects, with everyone and their uncle in an increasingly unseemly and often unnecessary hurry.





[Edited at 2011-11-05 08:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-11-05 08:24 GMT]


 

Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:43
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
A mix of the two Nov 5, 2011

I work in the field of legal translation, which is widely considered to be highly technical. Nonetheless, I consider that my work requires an element of creativity in order to express the final version of the target text in such a way as to appear polished and sound natural (at least to someone who is versed in the target legal culture). I also require to use my imagination in order to identify suitable translations for some of the source culture terms and expressions I encounter and this sometimes entails using target culture terms and expressions in an innovative way in order to accurately convey the intended meaning.

neilmac wrote:

I consider the process of translating nowadays as morbidly over-concerned with techological and fast-buck business aspects, with everyone and their uncle in an increasingly unseemly and often unnecessary hurry.



[Edited at 2011-11-05 08:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-11-05 08:24 GMT]


I must stress that I regard the evolution of CAT tools, translation memories etc. as a positive development and one which I embrace. Nonetheless, I once again find myself in agreement with Neilmac to the extent that I find the over-obsession with the technological and business aspects of translation distasteful. I share Neilmac's concerns that this obsession is at the expense of other issues pertaining to the "art of translation" which should also be regarded as being important.


 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 5, 2011

A craft -- creativity and esthetics limited by function

[Edited at 2011-11-05 14:12 GMT]


 

Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
An arcane craft? Nov 5, 2011

Clarivoyance would be a very useful addition to artistic flair and technical know-how (which I use in about equal measure).

Some of the source texts we are expected to make sense of leave few other options: cut and paste mistakes, ambiguities, incomprehensible descriptions of contemporary artworks, technical specifications with bits missing or so specialised there's nothing to check them against, etc. And dead authors aren't renowned for answering questions. Then there are the documents we are supposed to be able to translate before we've received them (temporal instability somewhere out there, I suspect).

Unravelling all the mysteries on time and with a smile makes it closer to the Black Arts at times!

How often would I just like to be able to reach for my crystal ball...


 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:43
Member (2009)
French to English
Dual Nature Nov 5, 2011

I have found nearly everything in translation to have a dual nature. You are working with two languages, need to keep to both the spirit and the letter of the text, need to engage both the writing and editing sides of your brain, need to be fully immersed in two cultures. etc. Why should the question of art vs technology be any different?

 

Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:43
English to Serbian
+ ...
:) Nov 5, 2011

neilmac wrote:

Nowadays, the once revered translator's art has been dragged down into the slime of commerce and technology.

A swift glance at any translators' forum will illustrate this - only a very small percentage of queries or discussions focus on the actual translating of content from source to target language or the best tone, register or term for any given purpose, whereas the bulk concern technical issues like "my TXX file won't merge in Zappo Mem" or whatever new gizmo the latest gurus are touting.

So, to sum up you could say that I consider the process of translating nowadays as morbidly over-concerned with techological and fast-buck business aspects, with everyone and their uncle in an increasingly unseemly and often unnecessary hurry.


When you are required to deliver 2 or 3000 words by tomorrow morning, then there's hardly time to dwell on the register or term.icon_smile.gif

Anyway, I think there is considerable difference between translating user manuals, EULAs, contracts etc, and translating novels, poems and such things. I don't think there's anything artistic about a hair dryer's or a DVD player's manual (does anyone even read such things?), while it's probably a must if you are translating a poemicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2011-11-05 16:46 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
All textures great and small Nov 5, 2011

Miroslav Jeftic wrote:

Anyway, I think there is considerable difference between translating user manuals, EULAs, contracts etc, and translating novels, poems and such things. I don't think there's anything artistic about a hair dryer's or a DVD player's manual (does anyone even read such things?), while it's probably a must if you are translating a poemicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2011-11-05 16:46 GMT]


Very true, but I was brought up to do my best every time, whether the text is a boilerplate instruction leaflet or some magnum opus. And it makes a pleasant difference to find clear and intelligible instructions with your newly-bought appliance...


 


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