Poll: How far do you generally read before you start typing in your translation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 19:57
SITE STAFF
Jan 30, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How far do you generally read before you start typing in your translation?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jan 30, 2016

It depends on the text and how familiar I am with the knowledge area. If it's from a client whose processes and texts I am thoroughly familiar with, I'll probably just take it one sentence or chunk at a time. If I am less familiar with the subject, I might scan/skim the entire text or just part of it.

 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:57
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I agree with Neilmac Jan 30, 2016

I do the same as Neilmac. My approach depends entirely on the subject matter. If it's a familiar field, I usually give the document a quick "once over" and then translate page by page, spellchecking and improving every three or four pages, before doing a final spellcheck and read through on completion, the next day if time allows.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 03:57
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other (it depends) Jan 30, 2016

I could say exactly the same as Jenny and Neil…

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:57
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I tend to go sentence-by-sentence Jan 30, 2016

I've found that reading ahead is largely a waste of time. I need to get really into the material from the get-go. As I go along, I highlight the rough spots and go back to them as I gain a better understanding of the text.

The first part goes more slowly and I'm more apt to go back and polish each paragraph until I hit my stride.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 11:57
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
One little step at a time Jan 30, 2016

I'm a technical translator. How I 'read' a document depends on its content and purpose - if it's a thesis or technical paper, I might give it a thorough butchers in advance to get an overall picture of the technology involved.

This, however, is not required with over 95% of the documents I translate. And, since some of them often are hundreds of pages long, I am definitely not going to read through the entire document. (Mind you, I just might if I suffered from insomnia.)
Besides, I use a famous CAT tool beginning with "T" for all of my work, and each sentence is an independent, discrete translation unit. I have no option but to launch into each sentence as it comes along. I do, however, keep a printout of what I am translating in a document next to the screen so I can visually keep track of how sentences flow into each other and the logic of what's being described so that I can edit out redundancies and flesh out sentences to make them clearer.

I try to maintain simplicity and clarity at all costs even if the technology is complicated and potentially difficult to understand. Aren't I a saint. icon_smile.gif


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:57
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jan 30, 2016

I surely read the entire text while I'm translating. And I surely read the entire translation side-by-side with the original text after I'm done, making changes and corrections as needed. I regularly find things that I should have translated differently, accodring to the further context, that I would have to go back and change, and that's the main argument why you should read the text before translating. But, fortunately, all the software applications I use have a function called 'find and replace'. So, no, I don't read the text before I translate it.

As very well mentioned by Julian, we translate technical documents, which do not require this type of time-consuming (wasting) activities.

[Edited at 2016-01-30 10:40 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:57
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
One at a time Jan 30, 2016

I translated (and naturally readicon_wink.gif ) one sentence at a time. Especially when dealing with large files, the reading of the entire document would take too much time that is not paid for.icon_smile.gif

 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:57
Member (2008)
English to Italian
other Jan 30, 2016

check the beginning and the end, then if I realize I am familiar with it, I confirm it to the client and start translating

 

Sarah Brodacz  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:57
English to German
+ ...
It depends... Jan 30, 2016

...on several factors: How familiar am I with the topic? What is the deadline ? What is the source language? This is what almost everybody seems to do, so it is probably a good approach.icon_smile.gif

 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:57
Russian to English
+ ...
It depends on the type of text Jan 30, 2016

When translating legal documents, you have to read the whole document or at least a few pages, like three to five. When translating a novel, you have to read the entire novel once or twice to feel it.

 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Reading speed Jan 30, 2016

When I was in college, we were told that we should read the entire text before we attempted translating it, then read the entire translation to check for errors or omissions.

Well, that's a fine piece of advise if one has all the time in the world to translate. Even highly-paid writers often have punishing deadlines. I still remember how J.K. Rowling had to dump an entire chapter in the trash and rewrite the whole thing.

The realities we live demand different rules.

As a rule, then, I scan (i.e. read) a whole paragraph or sentence and then I translate it. Whether it's a phrase, a sentence or a paragraph depends entirely on the document structure and design.

Knowing that I can go back and retranslate a preposition, a final word, etc. as I progress is a great advantage. So I am able to scan a little faster as I type my translation. More difficult texts, both in topic and structure, demand a slower reading/scanning pace. At the end of the translation, I rarely have to read the entire thing because I am able to read it while translating it.

Another rule: syntax changes in the translation go up in number when the original text is poorly written and organized. A case in point with contracts, agreements, manuals and software instructions written in American English: staccato phrases and sentences with barely a pause or a connector. As if they've been written by robots!


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Time to read Jan 30, 2016

Thayenga wrote:

I translated (and naturally readicon_wink.gif ) one sentence at a time. Especially when dealing with large files, the reading of the entire document would take too much time that is not paid for.icon_smile.gif


Sometimes I think clients apply medieval expectations to us in exchange for 21st century rates.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:57
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I'll at least scan parts of the text Jan 30, 2016

But that isn't really the same as properly reading it. It just gives me an idea of the subject (although I already expect it to be within my specialisation), the terminology, the register and the writer's style. That much information is necessary before tackling sentence one.

 


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