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Poll: Before translating a text, I...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Mar 25, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Before translating a text, I...".

This poll was originally submitted by Marc Cordes. View the poll results »



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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 12:44
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Glad to see... Mar 25, 2012

....that I am working alongside colleagues who, when it comes to it and they are asked a direct question, don't tell fibs.



Noni


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 19:44
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Test-drive all documents and reference materials... Mar 25, 2012

...to see that they open/close and can be accessed OK, and sort out any glitches in advance.

There's nothing worse than finding out that documents and software are incompatible on Saturday when the project must be delivered the following Monday.

I also make sure that all contractual details are squared and out-of-the-way. Saves haggling later on.

Now that I'm all relaxed, I fix myself a nice cuppa.

Happy translating!


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:44
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Mar 25, 2012

It depends on the complexity of the text and how long it is, on the deadline, on the subject matter, and even on my mood...

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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 12:44
German to English
+ ...
Print it out Mar 25, 2012

and get started. Why worry about what the text might contain - you have to deal with it anyway, and it may be straigthforward so that all the preparation time is "for the cat" as they say here in Austria

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Isabelle F. BRUCHER  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 12:44
English to French
+ ...
Other Mar 25, 2012

Julian Holmes wrote:

Test-drive all documents and reference materials to see that they open/close and can be accessed OK.

I also make sure that all contractual details are squared and out-of-the-way.


Indeed, it is a good idea to check the technical and contractual details before starting or even accepting the job.

I tend to assume that they won't send me documents that don't open, but it's not always the case, unfortunately.

Since recently, I have started making the invoice BEFORE I start translating, because afterwards it is working against the clock, then it is immediately followed by another urgent job, then another one, then another one... and you end up invoicing a week later! So what's the use of fighting for the 30-day payment deadline?...

Or at least I start the invoice, so I only have to ask for the last few details afterwards (VAT number,...). So I quickly see what's missing.

Sometimes you realize the word count hasn't been done/agreed on precisely because you were given a round figure - so it's up to the translator to spend time on doing the word count, sometimes for several small documents, which entails a long addition in an Excel spreadsheet. It took me a whole hour the other day (unpaid, of course, what do you expect?) (well, including creating the hard disk and Outlook directories/folders, saving all the files (long path to follow for each of them - I shortened this path since then) and saving the related e-mails, giving files & folders the proper names, creating the Trados project, i.e. the whole administration before you can even start translating).

It's interesting to notice that the word count in MS Word does not take headers and footers into account, which Trados does: always do the word count with your CAT tool, guys !

That being said,

personally, I give a hasty & superficial glance (cursory glance) at the whole thing, just to know enough about the context so as to be able to translate intelligently.

If I had to read the whole thing in advance, I would have to research the vocabulary too, which does not make sense at this stage, since finding the translation of the words depends on the very specific context and can change from one sentence to the other.

I often translate the title last, though - as recommended by translation schools - since it summarizes the content.

I often re-do the first sentences too, because I was lacking context in the beginning. Things become clearer afterwards.

The beginning of the translation needs more proofreading than the end, it seems.

[Edited at 2012-03-25 09:23 GMT]


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 12:44
English to French
+ ...
None of the above Mar 25, 2012

Julian Holmes wrote:

...to see that they open/close and can be accessed OK, and sort out any glitches in advance.


I do that before I even accept the job!

For the rest, I do as David Wright: print it out and get started, but lately, I stopped printing out too small prints on .pdf scan images and display them on my second screen instead.
But I do have to make a list of them in order not to forget any file

[Modifié le 2012-03-25 18:02 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
None of the above Mar 25, 2012

Or maybe "Other".
Usually a quick glance at the text is enough for me to decide whether to accept a job or not, and once I do it's "action stations, all hands on deck, full ahead and damn the torpedoes". Any queries are dealt with as they crop up along the way. However, I am not recommending my rather reckless approach to anyone else...

PS: I don't print texts out either, unless in exceptional circumstances, as it's usually not necessary. I normally simply make a copy of the source document and overwrite it.

[Edited at 2012-03-25 09:58 GMT]


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:44
German to English
+ ...
make sure I have a fresh cup of coffee Mar 25, 2012

and that once I sit down, I won't have to get up for at least an hour or so.

Like others, I check documents open up and function properly before accepting the job. This is when I do a quick read-through, and check word counts.

Once I start the job, I find I never read through to the end of text unless it is very short because the urge to translate takes over. Before I know it, I am translating, not reading.


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:44
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Job organisation Mar 25, 2012

Isabelle Brucher wrote:

Since recently, I have started making the invoice BEFORE I start translating, because afterwards it is working against the clock, ...

... spend time on doing the word count, sometimes for several small documents, which entails a long addition in an Excel spreadsheet.


Off topic: I'd definitely recommend TO3000 for these time-consuming tasks. Once you have entered the job details, the invoice will be produced almost "at the click of a button". And the word count in AnyCount (which comes with TO3000) will count all headers, text boxes, etc. and add up reams of individual files. Not to mention doing word counts in PDFs, etc.
However, I certainly agree that it's vital to get the job in an orderly state before starting on the actual translation.

Back to topic:
I only read the whole of the source text if it's a reasonable length. Otherwise, you can get a pretty good idea of a long document by browsing through it thoroughly.
I read ref material sent by the client of course, but most reference stuff comes from links I come across while translating. And I can't imagine sorting out all terms before starting, because the problem terms are the fiddly pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that suddenly fall into place along the way or even sometimes almost at the very end.


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 12:44
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Open file Mar 25, 2012

Yes, I will admit to opening the file. Except yesterday. I have a client whom I have trained over the years to get the format right. But I nearly had heart failure yesterday evening when I discovered that the "just a few files, usual subject matter" on the dongle they'd sent me come to well over 75,000 words, and that is before we start on the pdfs - all to be done within a month.

NEVER, EVER, trust a client.


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 12:44
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Or shortly after you've delivered Mar 25, 2012

Emma Goldsmith wrote:
because the problem terms are the fiddly pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that suddenly fall into place along the way or even sometimes almost at the very end.


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Patricia Prevost  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same as Neilmac and Alison Mar 25, 2012

After a quick glance at the whole text, I try and find the client's website, to have as much information about their products as possible in case I need it. Like Alison and Neilmac, I then start translating without any more preparation at this stage and deal with the queries and terminology issues as a go along, depending on the text. I think I do this because I need to feel comfortable with the translation from the beginning.

Oh, and music and a cup of tea help me work comfortably, too!


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:44
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Nothing is carved in stone... Mar 25, 2012

So I should probably have voted Other.

(like making coffee and checking this and that...)

However, many of my jobs are small, with correspondingly short deadlines, so I like to check through a job (all 500 words or so ) and solve any problems first.

I can notify the client in time, ask for help or post a KudoZ question if that is going to be necessary.

I like to sit down and translate in one uninterrrupted session after that.

It depends on the job, however, and sometimes I simply plunge in and hope for the best if i know the client well.

I prefer to skim larger jobs to see if there is any coordination necessary (and trouble-shoot...)
And as others have said, the answer to the problem may be later on in the text.


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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:44
English to French
+ ...
depends other Mar 25, 2012

test drive too the files and check briefly the document to see if nothing is outside my usual known terminology, double check the client website if special terminology is to be used, etc. Tend to invoice before starting too, but sometimes afterwards when very busy, however backdate the invoice!

if reference material is given, read it and see what was accepted previously, in order to keep the reference terminology and style.


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