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Poll: Do you find yourself mentally translating everything you hear/read in your source language?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 09:42
SITE STAFF
Jun 15, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you find yourself mentally translating everything you hear/read in your source language?".

This poll was originally submitted by Helen Portefaix. View the poll results »



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Leon Ivanihin  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:42
Member (2011)
English to Russian
No Jun 15, 2014

Actually things are even more funny in my case
Sometimes I found myself in trying to translate something here and there BACK into English! (My native language is Russian).


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 01:42
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, frequently Jun 15, 2014

Which is why I hate going to the cinema and reading the sub-titles - I find myself checking the Japanese at the bottom (or, sometimes side) of the screen and feeling irritated at the end of the film if I felt I 'didn't get my money's worth.' Definitely spoils the enjoyment.

I now wait for the Blu-ray disc to become available on amazon.com and enjoy the luxury of not giving into my doppelgänger other half. An occupational disease of being a translator, I suppose.


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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:42
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Yes, frequently Jun 15, 2014

And when watching a movie or TV it is just impossible to keep my eyes from the subtitles even though I don't need them.

Sometimes I feel like suggesting a better translation, but other times I receive good inspiration and ideas to translating certain tricky expressions.


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Oleksandr Kupriyanchuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 19:42
Russian to English
+ ...
An occupational disease Jun 15, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:
An occupational disease of being a translator, I suppose.


We should charge more to have a compensation for that, I suppose.

I don't even know if this is curable.



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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:42
Russian to English
+ ...
No, but I instantly understand it. Jun 15, 2014

No real difference in which language I hear the things--of course with regard to my working languages, provided they are talking about something other than quantum physics, or a few other subjects that I do not know much about.




[Edited at 2014-06-15 09:13 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:42
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, frequently! Jun 15, 2014

Me too, I suffer from this "incurable occupational disease"...

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I didn't take the poll to mean evaluating translations Jun 15, 2014

I'm sure 99% of translators will read translations from their professional viewpoin. I live in a highly cosmopolitan tourist resort (Fuerteventura) and I eat out about twice a week. Almost all menus are in at least 6 languages (Spanish, English, German, Italian, French, Dutch, plus sometimes others). It can take me ages to order just because I get side-tracked so easily. It's fascinating to figure out the base language - by no means always Spanish - and whether professional translators have been used. Sometimes the answer is clearly "No way!".

But do I read/hear something in French and translate it into English? Of course not. I'm fluent in French, not a beginner. I process the information in French, and reply in French where appropriate.

The exception is when I'm "replaying" a conversation in my head. I sometimes do this in English and then realise it must be a translation as the person I spoke to doesn't speak English!


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Noura Tawil  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 19:42
Member (2013)
English to Arabic
+ ...
It's the other way around Jun 15, 2014

Like Leon, when I hear a dubbed documentary, my mind plays "guess the source" game, and "it" translates the dubbing back to English!

The worst translations are those that allow me to easily guess the source

[Edited at 2014-06-15 23:03 GMT]


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:42
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, but Jun 15, 2014

If I'm reading a translation from my source language (Portuguese or Spanish) into my target language (English), I find myself trying to imagine what the original was--especially if it's an awkward translation.

I think in Portuguese when I'm reading or speaking it; I don't have time to translate it, nor am I interested in doing so.

The same is true for Spanish, though I'm not exposed to it very much outside my work. When I pick up a text I'm supposed to translate, I immediately start translating it in my head even before I start working on it.


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Luciana Trevisi  Identity Verified
Italy
Member (2013)
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes, frequently... Jun 15, 2014

... since I was a child and started to learn English. It was an "incurable disease" before becoming an "occupational disease"

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AnthonyLee  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:42
Russian to English
+ ...
Similiar issue Jun 15, 2014

Leon Ivanihin wrote:

Actually things are even more funny in my case
Sometimes I found myself in trying to translate something here and there BACK into English! (My native language is Russian).


Sometimes when I am translating from Russian into English, I will get stuck on one sentence, so instead of trying to understand it in English, my mind switches from Russian into English to Russian into Spanish, which I find makes more sense to me sometimes.


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Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:42
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, sometimes Jun 15, 2014

I live in England, in a family of non-linguists, and I have got used to being the only person who understands foreign languages. Whenever I see or hear something in a foreign language I feel the need to translate it so that everyone else can benefit from my superior knowledge. Strangely, my audience is not always as appreciative as I might have imagined and they often respond with groans of "there she goes again".

I had a similar problem when I used to sell exhaust parts for heavy-duty vehicles and developed an unhealthy habit of exhaust-spotting wherever I went, much to my family's embarrassment...


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Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 11:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
The same happens to me Jun 15, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:

Which is why I hate going to the cinema and reading the sub-titles - I find myself checking the Japanese at the bottom (or, sometimes side) of the screen and feeling irritated at the end of the film if I felt I 'didn't get my money's worth.' Definitely spoils the enjoyment.

I now wait for the Blu-ray disc to become available on amazon.com and enjoy the luxury of not giving into my doppelgänger other half. An occupational disease of being a translator, I suppose.


It also happens to me, but at least with subtitles you can make an effort NOT to read them. Sometimes, I even put my finger in front of my eyes to cover the area of the screen where the subtitles appear. What I simply cannot stand are dubbed movies or TV programmes. You HAVE to listen to the sometimes horrid translations, and I find myself fixing them in my mind, translating them back to English and then, corrected, back to Spanish.

Going back to subtitles, once I saw a film in which the plot was about a group of US cavalry soldiers who refused to accept an order to kill their horses because the cavalry units were being replaced by mechanized armour. They herded their horses up and down the US, pursued by their own army, trying to reach first the Mexican border and then the Canadian. The word "cavalry" must have appeared hundreds of time during the film, and every single time, instead of "caballería" it was translated as "calvario", which in Spanish means "calvary", and has nothing to do with horses!

It makes me angry to think that someone was paid to do such a bad job and that affected all of us.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:42
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No Jun 15, 2014

Aside from actually translating a project, I never translate anything that is in English or German. Either language feels "like home". Even something in Spanish doesn't get translated, simply because, especially when it comes to movies, such an attempt would cause me to miss too much.

However, I do enjoy (from time to time) to cross-read, e. g. a menu, just for the fun of it. I've discovered that some sentences written in English can only be understood with a "German" approach. A recent example, the song XXX from YY = translation: the song XX by YY.


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