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Poll: Are there "fads" in the translation/interpretation profession?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Aug 17, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are there "fads" in the translation/interpretation profession?".

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:25
Member (2006)
German to English
Not really, Aug 17, 2013

or at least in my specialised technical fields. There are always new technologies, but not necessarily "fads"

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yah, deffo Aug 17, 2013

In this respect, from my experience in TEFL, I see it as being akin to language teaching. One approach or technique (e.g. the direct method from the early 20th century) gives way to another, which gives way to another and so on and so forth. For me, the problem is which parts of the baby to throw out along with the bathwater and which to keep...

PS: In translation, for example, I perceive the notion of "localization" as a fad focusing on something previously taken for granted as part and parcel of the activity of translation per se.

[Edited at 2013-08-17 08:18 GMT]


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:25
Hebrew to English
Nowhere near as bad as teaching (and particularly (T)EFL) Aug 17, 2013

neilmac wrote:

In this respect, from my experience in TEFL, I see it as being akin to language teaching. One approach or technique (e.g. the direct method from the early 20th century) gives way to another, which gives way to another and so on and so forth. For me, the problem is which parts of the baby to throw out along with the bathwater and which to keep...

PS: In translation, for example, I perceive the notion of "localization" as a fad focusing on something previously taken for granted as part and parcel of the activity of translation per se.

[Edited at 2013-08-17 08:18 GMT]


I'm sure there are fads in translation, probably with technology (but are these fads - they aren't going away so...probably not) and with various theories/ideologies, but maybe it's because of the isolated nature of the translator that any such fads don't seem to be as "contagious" as in teaching.

I would say that if you want to see a profession truly overrun with fads then look at TEFL (and probably teaching in general). Next to that, translation looks positively fad-proof.


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Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 10:25
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
I would call it developments, not fads Aug 17, 2013

There are always new aspects to the technique of translation. As has been said here, due to the isolated nature of translators, those developments don't spread (as much).

Personal developments of translators will eventually lead to developments in the translation technique, but at a much slower pace than say technology developments.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:25
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Hopefully "No" Aug 17, 2013

It's hard enough keeping up with ever-changing customers' preferences and long lists of job requirements.
The fewer frills, and bells and whistles there are to cope with, the more I can get down to the core task of concentrating on giving my customers what they want.

Fashionable "fads" in translation? No, fadding way!


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matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:25
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
The objective is clear Aug 17, 2013

Fads usually involve a modification to the objective. In education in general (or TEFL specifically) this could be as a result of multiple factors (socio-economic, political, publishers introducing new products, etc.). With translation the objective cannot really be tweaked, and so fads do not develop. The introduction of new tools or jargon is part and parcel of the evolution of the sector, but translation has remained basically unchanged throughout recorded history.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:25
Russian to English
+ ...
It is not true that translation has been the same throughout the history. Aug 17, 2013

The techniques and approaches to translation differed depending on the historical times. It has significantly changed over the ages. Verbatim translation was something (word for word) popular at the earlier stages of the development of the translation theory, which has later been almost totally disqualified. There were various linguistic schools which offered a different approach to translation -- the structuralists, the hermeneutic approach, the approach based on textuality, and many others.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:25
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Fads? Aug 17, 2013

Like Matt, I'm kind of flummoxed by how there can be "fads" in translation.

Boiled down to its basic elements

An excellent command of the source language + good writing skills in your native language + a good knowledge of what you're writing about (or equivalent research skills) for the target audience = a good equation for decent translation

None of this is affected by fashions and fads

It's like fashion vs. style -- fashion fades, style stays


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:25
Russian to English
+ ...
This would not be true about professional, academic translation Aug 17, 2013

which is highly influenced by various linguistic theories, and trends. The trends keep changing, and you might even be surprised how many new things are being discovered every year. They change almost with the same pace as the philosophical and literary theory currents do, and are strongly influenced by them.

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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:25
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Not so much at translator level Aug 17, 2013

But possibly to some degree at the level of the agencies.

Like Neilmac mentioned, the (relatively) new buzz word 'localization' and maybe also the exaggerated emphasis on target language native speakers. (There are cases e.g. contracts, where I find it is better the translator is a native speaker of the source language).

And maybe there are other examples in our industry.

But I too used to work in TEFL and was so fed up with the fads.
There was always some new guru who had just found the trick that was going to revolutionize how you teach a new language, no, excuse me, how the learners naturally assimilate a new language.

Well, I took everything with a grain of salt and didn't listen, when they told me not to translate a word or explain something in the students' mother tongue, not to have students read aloud, not to be too studious, only have fun, not to teach grammar etc. etc.

Sorry, this poll question just triggered a lot of old memories, but as I said at first, I don't experience this sort of thing in my daily work as a translator.


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Define 'fads' please Aug 17, 2013

Do they include the current obsessive/excessive use of and/or reference made to machine translation, CAT tools, social media and blogs for marketing, networking, propaganda, airing one's gripes, undermining others, trying to establish personal power bases, etc. etc., the current trend of placing the emphasis on getting low price translations above all other criteria? If not, what do 'fads' include?

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Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 05:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
In legal translation Aug 17, 2013

There certainly are -fortunately!

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:25
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Fads? Aug 17, 2013

Neologisms, yes! Fads, no!

Though the use and abuse of acronyms in Portugal during the late 1970's could be considered a fad...


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Updates Aug 17, 2013

I'd say that about every 10 years or so English gets updated. The meaning is still the same but a new term is used. Don't know about fads though...

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