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Poll: Do you find translation theories useful for your professional practice?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:15
SITE STAFF
Jan 27, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you find translation theories useful for your professional practice?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ehsan Alipour. View the poll results »



 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 20:15
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other N/A Jan 27, 2014

What is this thing thou speak'st of?

Don't know any except my own -- "Get it right!"


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:15
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Very useful Jan 27, 2014

I devoted a good part of my life to studying and writing about translation theory. I have found it enormously helpful.

Some of my articles are available at http://www.murieltranslations.com/linguistics_mt_articles.html


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good question Jan 27, 2014

This is a really good poll. Of course, only those translators who are actually familiar with such theories will be able to answer. I don't, so I really couldn't say - Other.

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:15
Member (2006)
German to English
Hear Hear Jan 27, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:

What is this thing thou speak'st of?

Don't know any except my own -- "Get it right!"


Yes!


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:15
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Nope Jan 27, 2014

I'm more of a touchy-feely translator, it has to feel right to me. I don't have much time for theory, but that's probably because I learnt everything on the job.

When I did get round to studying the theory I found that my instinct had been spot-on, I had been doing it right. As far as I was concerned it was all simply a matter of applying good old common sense. The questions asked by other students in the class who didn't have my 12 years' experience were quite an eye-opener, I realised that common sense does not come naturally to everybody.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jan 27, 2014

Not at all. I'm usually too busy "practising my profession" (= working) to think about theories.

I've been trying to read Umberto Eco's "Mouse or Rat" for years now, but I must admit I don't know what he's banging on about most of the time, so half-hearted becomes disheartened.



[Edited at 2014-01-27 08:56 GMT]


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:15
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Yes, somewhat useful Jan 27, 2014

But the MOST important is how well the translator understands both languages and cultures, down to history, politics, slang, humor, TV commercials, what's currently in the news etc. etc. - - in short, you need to have lived in both cultures.

And as many of you, I started out translating before having studied any translation theories and when I later studied them I found that I had already come to many of the same conclusions on my own.

Of course, the situation must be quite different for a young translator with a Master's in translation theory, just starting out with a head full of what it said in the text books and not least what her particular professor told her.

But like someone already said, who has time to theorize too long over a text, you need to develop a sort of language intuition...


And one more thing: It is quite interesting to study translation theory after you have been a translator for many years. The issues are so familiar that it reads very easily. I think the subject matter would have felt much more vague and dry for me as a young student. The chicken and the egg again, where is best to start?

[Edited at 2014-01-27 10:28 GMT]


 

Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 14:15
English to Russian
+ ...
No Jan 27, 2014

Maybe in the West translation theory teaching in different from that in Russia, but in my country is is absolutey useless for practical work and, frakly speaking, I don't see how such theory can be useful for a practicing translator.

 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:15
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Interesting Jan 27, 2014

I do find translation theory interesting, but it is difficult to say whether it influences my professional practice. The things I have read are in the back of my mind while I translate, so perhaps they do indirectly affect the way I approach a translation.

It did come in handy a couple of times, though, when asked to justify my translation choices by non-native speakers who questioned my use of English. I was able to use scholarly material to back up my arguments and so there were no further questions.


 

monica.m
Italy
Local time: 13:15
Member (2011)
German to Italian
+ ...
Once I asked Jan 27, 2014

Once I had the pleasure to attend a conference of Prof. Silvio Ceccato, a very clever Italian linguist and philosopher.

At the end of his interesting speech, he was ready to answer some questions.
After a while I asked a silly 1-Million-Dollar question: "What is the secret of a good translation?"

Very simply and honestly he answered: "Just let it rest for a while, better one night.
I don't know why, but you will surely find the way to improve it at your very best".

That's my rule, always. That's why I do not accept jobs longer than one page with delivery within the day.

Silvio Ceccato was really a "Maestro", his essays about language, life and search for happiness are really worth reading. I strongly recommend them.









[Modificato alle 2014-01-27 14:29 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:15
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No Jan 27, 2014

What I rely on is: practice, knowledge, education, experience and the "feeling" of the translation being and sounding right, not any therories. In fact, I'm too busy to be studying any theories.icon_wink.gif

 

Ecuánime
United States
Local time: 07:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Theory has been helpful... Jan 27, 2014

Theory has helped me to think outside the box, especially with challenging texts. Reading scholars' take on the profession is intellectually stimulating. One thing that I find fascinating is that there's nothing really set in stone, which at first frustrated the heck out of me since at that time I was looking for an answer to "How to become a good translator", but I came to the conclusion that its liberating to know that, having all this knowledge to use at your discretion, you're not limited to one concept, and that the translation is a whole lot more than what a dictionary simply defines it to be.

 

Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:15
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
No Jan 27, 2014

My one foray into "translation theory" so negatively impacted my work that I quit the class halfway through and never went back.

"Get it right" is the only "theory" I use.


 

Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:15
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No Jan 27, 2014

I think translation theory is overrated. Common sense and translation PRACTICE are better combo.

 
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