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Poll: What style do you like to use when translating?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:59
SITE STAFF
Nov 4, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What style do you like to use when translating?".

This poll was originally submitted by patriciacharnet. View the poll results »



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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 4, 2014

I suppose I try to preserve as much of the original "everything" as possible. But I do have a certain style of my own - for example I generally prefer UK English, but am not averse to a more transatlantic bent when the need arises. I dislike certain words or phrases (am loath to use "impact" as a verb and will only use "leverage" sparingly) and prefer others.

Right now, for example, I'm translating a thing about pesticides and the client wants me to translate "orugas" (caterpillars) as the more colloquial "worms" and I find it a struggle every time as I am very aware of the difference between the two creepy crawlies... but hey, the customer is king.


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Georgia Morgan  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:59
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
Simplify Nov 4, 2014

I tend to simplify only because I translate from Portuguese which tends to be very "flowery". I often find that cutting long sentences (with several commas) into shorter sentences sounds better in English. So, I guess I "simplify" sentence structure. I do not, however, "simplify" vocabulary.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:59
Member (2006)
German to English
Keep Nov 4, 2014

to the original if it is not completely rubbish, otherwise in "new" files, use my own.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:59
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
A combination Nov 4, 2014

If my client requests me to keep the style, I will of course.

Yet sometimes it's not possible, e. g. the book I'm presently translating. Sticking to the original style would simply turn the translation into some extremely difficult reading material.


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 12:59
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 4, 2014

It depends on the purpose of the translation - a contract being translated for use as evidence in a court case will have to be very faithful to the source text, while an article being translated for publication will have read naturally in the target language.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 18:59
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes Nov 4, 2014

Well, sort of ... because 98% of what I translate is manuals and these are brutally devoid of any style whatsoever.

If I was asked to name a style I adhere to 100% when writing manuals, then that would be "plain, simple technical English" or as I write in my CV:

"my writing policy is very much in-line with the directives of Simplified Technical English (STE) as embodied in the STE specification ASD-STE1000 maintained by the Simplified Technical English Maintenance Group (STEMG)"

Or, was that too 'technical'?

Added last line

[Edited at 2014-11-04 11:59 GMT]


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Texte Style
Local time: 11:59
French to English
Simplifying and enhancing! Nov 4, 2014

Like Georgia, I tend to simplify the flowery French into more basic down-to-earth English.

However I'm not above slipping in a pun or two, or poetic devices if they spring to mind and are suitable. Depends on context as always. I mostly need to write prose that appeals to Brits rather than ensure 100% accuracy (accuracy seldom flying high on the list of priorities for those who wrote the source text).

I have a post-it on my screen reminding me that if I can't get it right, I should try at the very least to make it better, which I suppose applies as much to style as to any other aspect of translation or transcreation.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:59
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Combination II Nov 4, 2014

There are simply what you might call "silk purse jobs". If a respected figure is not so hot on writing, or if a critical question involving lots of people depends on it, I don't mind improving.

Edit to qualify: I've simply had one sow's ear too many

[Edited at 2014-11-04 10:32 GMT]


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Alberto Montpellier  Identity Verified
Cuba
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
I try to keep the original style, but... Nov 4, 2014

Sometimes the original's got no style at all, so I embelish, simplify, apply a style of my own. Specially when translating from Spanish. One of my clients is prone to write very "stylish" letters that ramble on for sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs and don't say jack.
In the end, the product is just a translation/editing of the original.


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ArtefactHT  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:59
English to French
+ ...
A combination! Nov 4, 2014

It really depends on the client's request, the original quality of the document to translate, and the client's existing terminology.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:59
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
"Simplifying and enhancing" applies to me, too Nov 4, 2014

Texte Style wrote:
Like Georgia, I tend to simplify the flowery French into more basic down-to-earth English.

However I'm not above slipping in a pun or two, or poetic devices if they spring to mind and are suitable. Depends on context as always. I mostly need to write prose that appeals to Brits rather than ensure 100% accuracy (accuracy seldom flying high on the list of priorities for those who wrote the source text).

In my sector of marketing and tourism, accuracy of transferring the message into another languages is what's needed, and the message is supposed to be appealing to the readers. If flowery won't appeal to the target readership, or the writer wasn't very skilled with words, then an accurate translation at the word level simply won't do.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
Using the target language style, nothing else Nov 4, 2014

I'm surprised at the high number of colleagues who strive to keep as much of the original style as possible.

Each written language has its own style and stylistic traditions in various fields: posters, technical manuals, medical treatises, maps, graphics, novels, comic strips, presentations, etc. When a target language did not have a particular media (i.e. a new kind of subway map), then it initially borrowed from the source language's style until it developed its own.

Let's say that an introduction to an informed consent runs 1200 words long...in 3 paragraphs, in English. In Spanish, I will substitute Spanish style and formatting for the crammed English style in this case, maybe up to 5-7 paragraphs, possibly with an additional subheading for clarity.

Another example: some English technical documents have a listing of factors that would be better presented in bullet form. So I recreate said list in bullet form in Spanish.

Writing style should serve the final reader, not the writer, unless he/she is writing a journal. That's why I have applied myself to learning the Spanish styles of writing, specially in technical documentation, to use in translation. If there is a new media (for example, a new type of webpage) where the new translatable text is residing, then I'll base my style on the closest known Spanish media (maybe a page from a technical/informational manual) to render my translation.

Short answer: I use proper, idiomatic Spanish styles when translating into Spanish, and English styles when translating into English, nothing more, nothing less.


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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:59
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Other Nov 4, 2014

I follow the client's request.

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Frisco  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 12:59
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Replicate Nov 5, 2014

I do try to replicate style of the author. Even when she/he makes philosophical, linguistic et cetera excursions. I try not to fix anything

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