Poll: Do you see your work more as reproducing the source text or as creating a new text?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 11:55
SITE STAFF
Nov 8, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you see your work more as reproducing the source text or as creating a new text?".

This poll was originally submitted by Mariel Azoubel. View the poll results »



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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 8, 2014

I don't usually have time to ponder this sort of proposal. As I see it, my job as translator is to deliver a faithful rendition of the source text in my L1. Whether or not this is "new" or how different it is from the original is moot... And from my point of view it would be a waste of time bothering to discuss it any further (Today is Saturday and I have work to do...)

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 19:55
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
As I can't answer both... Nov 8, 2014

... I always see my work more as reproducing the source text. These last years, I have been translating mostly two types of texts: a) medical devices certificates and IFUs where no creativity whatsoever is allowed and you must be very careful to follow the original, and b) newspaper articles (politics, economy, culture...) which are always a test to my creativity and allow much greater latitude to the imagination!

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 03:55
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Faithfully reproducing the source text Nov 8, 2014

Creating new text? Nope. That's the work of an editor not a translator. IMHO

If I were asked to create a summary of the source for reference purposes, that would be a different type of job requiring a different set of skills and a different rate.

Like neilmac, back to the keyboard ... I have work to do.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:55
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Nov 8, 2014

It greatly depends on the field and what exactly the client wants. Oftentimes the target text appears to be a newly created text, however, without any changed content.

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 02:55
Chinese to English
Both, but... Nov 8, 2014

My immediate answer was to say "both", but that wasn't an option. I went for creating a new text. I think the reason I say that is because in 99% of my work the background knowledge of the source and target readerships are quite radically different, so I have to adapt a fair bit. At the moment I'm translating history, and the target readership in the US don't have anything like the same background knowledge of Chinese history that the source readership has, so I'm having to insert bits as I go. When I do legal stuff I also find it necessary because Chinese law and US/UK law are so different, you have to be quite careful to distinguish exactly what the Chinese law is saying, as the same form of words would mean something quite different in the target legal culture.

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Mariel Azoubel  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:55
English
+ ...
Off-topic Nov 8, 2014

Phil Hand wrote:

My immediate answer was to say "both", but that wasn't an option.


Teresa Borges wrote:

As I can't answer both...


Actually, "Both" and "Neither" had initially been proposed for the poll, but then it got edited by site staff and cut out of the options


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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:55
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
it depends on the type of text Nov 8, 2014

Patents require faithful reproduction of the original into the target language.

Brochures, otoh, often include puns and slang, so the search for equivalent levels of word play requires a new text.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:55
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
OMG! Nov 8, 2014

Mariel Azoubel wrote:
Actually, "Both" and "Neither" had initially been proposed for the poll, but then it got edited by site staff and cut out of the options

Editors! Who'd 'ave 'em? Mess everything up!


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:55
Russian to English
+ ...
I think all translation is basically creation. Nov 8, 2014

Of course you have to be faithful to the original, but translation is creation--in its essence.

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MikeTrans
Germany
Local time: 20:55
Member (2005)
Italian to German
+ ...
Definitly not a creator... Nov 8, 2014

The personality of the author has to be emphasized and reproduced as best as possible. A translator ought to be a spokesman in any situation, neutral, invisible.

It happens that I publish my own documentations, stories or articles. I then have the luxury to be creative, yes.
But I throw a big line whether I am the author, or wether I'm translating someone else and it doesn't matter how "simple" or "sluggish" a document is (as long as it's acceptable for publication, of course, otherwise I will politly tell the author).

Mike

[Edited at 2014-11-08 21:30 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Creating text Nov 9, 2014

I think that the creative activity of a translator is grossly misunderstood and unduly influenced by antiquated translation theories.

First of all, this faithfulness to the original as a translation criterion is so full of subjective holes as to make it quite useless.

Second, every time anyone takes a pen, a tablet a keyboard, etc. and puts his/her own words is an act of creation. To create text doesn't necessarily have to be an artistic pursuit. Every time you write up a translation, you compose a text that did not exist before, in your own style, with your own words. That's creation. This creation has nothing to do with poetry or literary texts.

I kindly invite everyone reading this to keep an open mind and try to rediscover translation with fresh eyes. In my view, translators who see themselves as mere reproductive agents of 'the original text' are hacks and don't have any right to complain about being viewed as mere bilingual workers or getting peanuts for pay.


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:55
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Yes, Nov 9, 2014

Thayenga wrote:

It greatly depends on the field and what exactly the client wants. Oftentimes the target text appears to be a newly created text, however, without any changed content.

And it also depends on the quality of the source text. If it's badly written and full of mistakes, I won't do the same thing in the target language, I will just write what the author MEANT.


[Edited at 2014-11-09 07:21 GMT]


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