Poll: Do you find yourself mentally translating everything you read/hear in your source language?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Local time: 04:13
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Jan 31, 2015

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

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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 13:13
German to English
+ ...
I think I'd go mad Jan 31, 2015

I live in the community of my source language - I hear it all the time and I do everything apart from translate and make a few phone calls in that language!

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:13
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Only when I'm reading Jan 31, 2015

When I'm reading a book in one of my source languages, I feel a strong urge to hit the keyboard.

Recently I came across some family letters written in one of my source languages (Portuguese) in the 1950s. I was so moved to translate them that I found myself turning out nice idiomatic translation at nearly 1,000 words an hour, after which I sent the the correspondence to people on the American side of the family.


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ndrslm  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 15:13
Turkish to Arabic
+ ...
While working Jan 31, 2015

Imagine a 12-year-old kids face when asking for a permission to go out and play with his friends and getting an answer in a foreign language.

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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:13
English to Polish
No Jan 31, 2015

Fortunately no. I live in the country of my source language.

Besides, the level of fluency it requires to be able to do this jobs means for me that you must think in that language, not translate it.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 12:13
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jan 31, 2015

I used to, some 30 years ago when I moved to Belgium. For some time I had the urge to translate everything back to Portuguese, but I don’t do it anymore (like David I would go mad!), I just process everything in my head directly. I think either in French or in Portuguese and my internal voice switches very quickly from one to the other. I must say though that, just like Muriel, if I’m reading a book, especially if the text is convoluted, I tend to translate it in my head…

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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:13
English to French
+ ...
Back-translating sometimes... Jan 31, 2015

I'm always on the lookout for words or expressions in my target language which would match well some words or expressions in my source language which are difficult to translate...

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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:13
Italian to English
Yes! Jan 31, 2015

bohy wrote:

I'm always on the lookout for words or expressions in my target language which would match well some words or expressions in my source language which are difficult to translate...


Or indeed source-language terms that you realise have good equivalents in the target language.

I used to keep a notebook in my pocket for the purpose but nowadays I just jot them down on my smartphone in a googledoc and add them to MultiTerm when I get home.

[Edited at 2015-01-31 16:26 GMT]


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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:13
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Back translating Jan 31, 2015

bohy wrote:

I'm always on the lookout for words or expressions in my target language which would match well some words or expressions in my source language which are difficult to translate...


I know what you mean, bohy.

And when I read a book translated from my source language (English) I often see the back translation in my head.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:13
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
I am a walking radar Jan 31, 2015

If I hear totally new or unheard things or things 'out of the norm' around me on the TV, radio or whatnot, I will home onto the them and try to figure out 'what the hell is going on' like David says. (I'll also do my best to keep my sanity.)

I'll do the same in English to Japanese, as well. Both of the languages (or more) we chose to handle are in a state of constant flux.

But, hey, we're linguists. This is all part of our skill set. Do we not have ears and aren't we all in tune with what is around us all the time? Constant buzzing in the ears is part of the territory.


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