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Poll: When you work on less technical, more creative documents, which is your approach?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:27
SITE STAFF
Oct 24, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When you work on less technical, more creative documents, which is your approach?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 24, 2016

I insist on appropriate deadlines.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:27
Member (2006)
German to English
Do not work on such documents Oct 24, 2016

Have tried and failed, I am too technically minded, and as for marketing textes, I am not creative enough to lie☺

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
I am not a machine Oct 24, 2016

I adapt and make appropriate changes to technical documents too

That's what sets me apart from a machine


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Gudrun Maydorn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:27
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Check with customer first Oct 24, 2016

First and foremost I clarify with the customer how much leeway I have for a more freely worded translation.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:27
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other (it depends on the text and on the client) Oct 24, 2016

I have been translating articles published by “The Economist”, “Financial Times”, “The Guardian”, “The New York Times”, “Le Monde” and “El País” for a Portuguese weekly newspaper (“Expresso”) and a monthly magazine (“Courrier Internacional”) and I’m specifically asked to adapt the language without sacrificing the original. On the other hand, if I’m offered a transcreation job then I’ll have to use greater creative effort to adapt and recreate the text according to the target market and culture.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:27
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I adapt Oct 24, 2016

In future that will be the whole point of human translation. Even closely related cultures are surprisingly different.

I do a fair amount of B2B marketing, and it is simply necessary to take into account that the allusions and idioms will be different. In Danish B2B marketing, sometimes written by a technician or engineer, not an advertising agent, less is more. Danes pick up the little nuances and the discreet glow of self-assurance about a good product.

These are easily lost in an over-literal translation. English speakers expect more demonstrative enthusiasm and energetic gesturing, and they may not see the quiet confidence that assures them of a good buy.

There is no need to lie - in B2B marketing customers will often see through lies and exaggeration - but it is necessary to put the message across in a way that will be understood.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sacrificing the original? Oct 24, 2016

Teresa Borges wrote:

I have been translating articles published by “The Economist”, “Financial Times”, “The Guardian”, “The New York Times”, “Le Monde” and “El País” for a Portuguese weekly newspaper (“Expresso”) and a monthly magazine (“Courrier Internacional”) and I’m specifically asked to adapt the language without sacrificing the original. On the other hand, if I’m offered a transcreation job then I’ll have to use greater creative effort to adapt and recreate the text according to the target market and culture.


I understand that translation is, by definition, an adaptation of an original across another language/culture to create another original.

Jorge Luis Borges once wrote “The original is unfaithful to the translation.” Tongue in cheek, I suppose.

What would your clients think when saying without sacrificing the original? To me, that's an absurd and odd request.


Greetings from Aveiro, by the way.


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Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 08:27
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Adapt Oct 24, 2016

I adapt and make appropriate changes to all documents (technical too), unless specifically told not to.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:27
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Well... Oct 24, 2016

Mario Chavez wrote:

Teresa Borges wrote:

I have been translating articles published by “The Economist”, “Financial Times”, “The Guardian”, “The New York Times”, “Le Monde” and “El País” for a Portuguese weekly newspaper (“Expresso”) and a monthly magazine (“Courrier Internacional”) and I’m specifically asked to adapt the language without sacrificing the original. On the other hand, if I’m offered a transcreation job then I’ll have to use greater creative effort to adapt and recreate the text according to the target market and culture.


I understand that translation is, by definition, an adaptation of an original across another language/culture to create another original.

Jorge Luis Borges once wrote “The original is unfaithful to the translation.” Tongue in cheek, I suppose.

What would your clients think when saying without sacrificing the original? To me, that's an absurd and odd request.


Greetings from Aveiro, by the way.


... maybe I should try to explain myself: what this particular client asks me to do is to strike a good balance between the readability of the translation and the preservation of the original…


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:27
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 24, 2016

I always try to capture the *meaning* of the original, which may or may not resemble it on the surface, depending on the nature of the document.

[Edited at 2016-10-24 11:31 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
Speaking of meaning Oct 24, 2016

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

I always try to capture the *meaning* of the original, which may or may not resemble it on the surface, depending on the nature of the document.

[Edited at 2016-10-24 11:31 GMT]


One of translation theories (as if clients had read Nida) supports the concept that the translation has to carry the original meaniing. That makes sense, assuming the original is properly written.

In daily practice, I encounter many English sentences with a muddled meaning that goes against the document's general meaning. Take, for instance, one of the steps in a process that asks the user the opposite of what the process is guiding him to do. That's one of the reasons technical translators should have basic knowledge of technical writing to glean the general meaning and secondary meanings in order to translate properly.

In the case of the mangled meaning in that sentence, I can't reflect the erred meaning in my translation. So, the translation of that sentence or paragraph is, of necessity, unfaithful to the original.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:27
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other - it depends on the request Oct 24, 2016

Unless requested otherwise, I always adapt text so that the translation will have the look and feel of something that was originally written in the target language.

When I got my BSME degree, I received my academic record transcript, which included my scores in the university entrance/selection exam. Until that date, I only knew my ranking among all candidates: 68th. Surprise! In spite of the low weight assigned to Portuguese and English languages, my score in these was so high that it secured me a good position (the first 150 would be admitted), in spite of lower scores in the heavily weighted Math & Physics. That would be an omen for a technical writer, and possibly a non-technical one too.

I have noticed that most technical writers, proofreaders, reviewers, and translators (yours truly excluded until proven otherwise - otherwise I wouldn't notice it so clearly) usually get "tired", "bored", or "impatient", and consequently sloppy after the first half of a technical publication longer than eight pages.

So I always adapt technical material, in order to make it crisp and crystal-clear, while striving for that original text look and feel. After I cross that magic "half" borderline, I feel that I have to gradually rev up my adapting engine, if I want that text to make sense all the way through, leaving all that sloppiness.

However if it's a sworn translation, I won't adapt it at all. Maybe - and I often won't know it - that translation will be used as evidence to show that unclear instructions caused some injury or damages, so it must accurately reflect what was said there, and specifically HOW.

Hence I'm used to control my adapting mechanism at all times. So I definitely use it to adapt the text to the perceived circumstances, either to the implied audience, or as requested by the client, if ever so requested.


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Techy or literary, really? Oct 24, 2016

I don’t see it this way for the only difference is the primary audience in mind.

For instance, we often had tasks to adapt (highly-)scientific articles shorter and readily understood even for noobie-freshmen; non-specialists.

Is it “technical” or “non-technical”?
No matter, because translation is always creative.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 15:27
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other Oct 24, 2016

Because there are differing degrees of technicality even with technical documents. Believe me, I've done the entire gamut.

I charge and set schedules according to difficulty of content, type of document (technical or otherwise) and customers' job requirements - that's my approach.

HTH


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