Poll: Creative vs. non-creative translation: which do you prefer to do?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:40
SITE STAFF
Sep 19, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Creative vs. non-creative translation: which do you prefer to do?".

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:40
Russian to English
+ ...
Creative, of course. Sep 19, 2015

But what is non-creative. All translation is creation, unless you mean something like a Birth Certificate, the short form.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 13:40
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other! (meaning no preference) Sep 19, 2015

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 source document, and b) magazine and newspaper articles (politics, economy, culture...) which are always a test to my creativity and allow much greater latitude to the imagination! The "problem" is I love doing both…

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:40
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Define 'creative' Sep 19, 2015

I feel that all my translation work is creative because, even with technical texts, I often have to restructure the grammar to fit the source language.

That said, I try to stay within limits, even when translating creative literature. I pride myself in capturing the author's intent as closely as possible - which can be a creative exercise in itself. For example, false friends aside, a cognate often has a slightly different connotation in the target language and I will spend time looking for another word that more closely nuances the original meaning.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 19, 2015

Again, I don't understand the question. To me, translation is by its nature creative.

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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 14:40
English to German
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non-creative Sep 19, 2015

Because in my opinion "creative" menas that you write things that are interpretations for which the danger exists that they are wrong or not the sense of the author.

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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:40
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No preference, Sep 19, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

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 source document, and b) magazine and newspaper articles (politics, economy, culture...) which are always a test to my creativity and allow much greater latitude to the imagination! The "problem" is I love doing both…


Agree with you, Teresa, but I always try to make sure my translations not look like obvious translations at first sight, that is, I try to rewrite the text as if it were originally written in the target language and not a traslation. So creativity is always a must in my work.

However, considering the standard meaning that seems to be assigned to the term "creative" here, the vast majority of the work I do is non-creative, as it's mostly technical.

[Edited at 2015-09-19 13:19 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Exactly Sep 19, 2015

neilmac wrote:

Again, I don't understand the question. To me, translation is by its nature creative.


I prefer to be creative with "non-creative" source texts, i.e. finding a way to communicate it more clearly and naturally in the target language than merely translating words or word sequences and fixing the grammar.

I don't like translating overly "creative" source texts where the writer desperately tries to be funny with an endless series of word plays, double meanings, and forced jokes that are all untranslatable.

This becomes critical in video subtitling, as the source audio will remain there, and the spectator may complain that I owe them a pun, lost in translation. In video dubbing, I can try to keep an even score, by replacing untranslatable puns with new ones in other places.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Confusing question Sep 19, 2015

All translation is, by definition, creative: you create or generate a new original.

I don't care what the copyright laws say about translation: they were written by lawyers or unimaginative people with no hands-on experience with translation.

Those buzzwords —creativity, innovation, disruption, transcreation, entrepreneur, etc.—make me sneeze. Some translators seem to have caught a cold with some of these fancy schmancy words and can't seem to talk about translation or writing without peppering their shallow speech with 'creative' or 'disruptive' this or that.


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Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 10:40
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
Eppur si muove Sep 19, 2015

https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Galileo-Still-it-Moves

And yet creative translation does exist. The translator: a sounding board capable of coming up with a DIFFERENT text/poem/song/story that elicits feelings as identical as possible to the original.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's called a literary translator Sep 20, 2015

Mónica Algazi wrote:

https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Galileo-Still-it-Moves

And yet creative translation does exist. The translator: a sounding board capable of coming up with a DIFFERENT text/poem/song/story that elicits feelings as identical as possible to the original.


If it walks like a duck and moves like a duck…

How often we forget that creativity is inherent to human intelligence, regardless of occupation or profession.


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:40
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Non-creative Sep 20, 2015

Just give me a text and let me bang it out into the other language. Give me a well-structured and clear source text, not a nebulous, stomach wrenching, "creative" text. Thank you.

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