Poll: Do media reports of inaccurate translations help or hurt translators?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 18:41
SITE STAFF
Nov 11, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do media reports of inaccurate translations help or hurt translators?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 02:41
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other (I don't know) Nov 11, 2016

I haven’t seen many media reports of inaccurate translations…

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:41
English to Portuguese
+ ...
IMO they help (professional) translators, and hurt amateurs 'winging it' and MT-lovers Nov 11, 2016

This was an iconic case (in BR Portuguese):
http://www1.rfi.fr/actubr/articles/097/article_11918.asp
http://www.bbc.com/portuguese/reporterbbc/story/2008/01/printable/080131_cacciolaaudiencia_df.shtml
http://www.conjur.com.br/2007-dez-06/traducao_ruim_adia_julgamento_extradicao_cacciola
http://www.btsglobal.com.br/noticias/erro-de-traducao-adia-decisao-no-caso-cacciola/

The extradition of a Brazilian banker who sought shelter in Monaco was significantly delayed because of inadequate PT>FR translation of the process records, consisting of 500+ pages.

Were it the other way around (i.e. from Monaco to Brazil), Brazilian law would have demanded the translation to be done by officially appointed sworn translators, who had passed the governmental exam for that. Though these are licensed to translate in both directions, they must work at statutory rates, which would have been quite expensive.

Brazilian government initially chose the cheaper translation solution and, after the lawsuit came to an impasse in court because the translation was not clear/correct, the whole pile had to be re-translated by Monegasque official translators before the case could move on.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 11, 2016

Obviously we care about these things, because it's our passion and livelihood. However, I don't think most people care one bit about translation related issues. They're much more interested in reading about Trump's latest antics or Brangelina's divorce.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:41
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Yes Nov 11, 2016

When the media reports about bad (amateur) translations, they usually don't just fall back on the one who didn't do a job but on the entire profession. And... because of negligent translations political or private wars have been started.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
It depends Nov 11, 2016

Bad translations reported in the media are a form of entertainment. I see little informational value in them.

I'm more concerned about the defiant ignorance of companies and government agencies that post job listings asking for a translator when they mean an interpreter. This willful stupidity extends not just to job listings but also company policies affecting translators and interpreters in the workplace.

This coffee-fueled rant has been brought to you by Pergale truffles, the original Belgian truffles!



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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:41
Member (2006)
German to English
Same here Nov 11, 2016

Teresa Borges wrote:

I haven’t seen many media reports of inaccurate translations…


and also do not have the time to deal with such stuff


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:41
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I find these reports painful and unnecessary Nov 11, 2016

The famous one about Jimmy Carter "lusting after" the country he was visiting probably went unnoticed by the people he was speaking to. Some supercilious person decided to make a big deal out of it and the story made headlines, to the lifelong embarrassment of the interpreter.

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Nigel Greenwood  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:41
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I am of the same opinion as JOhn... Nov 11, 2016

John Cutler wrote:

Obviously we care about these things, because it's our passion and livelihood. However, I don't think most people care one bit about translation related issues. They're much more interested in reading about Trump's latest antics or Brangelina's divorce.


AT the most, media reports about bad translations make us go that little bit more to make sure our work is perfect.

Nigel.


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Does anyone (other than translators) really notice or care about inaccurate translations? Nov 11, 2016

I've seen more uproar about misinterpreted statements by simultaneous interpreters. I have the impression that most inaccurate translations just get filed along with all the rest. There doesn't seem to be much about them in the press at any rate.

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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 03:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
I have often thought about it Nov 11, 2016

Bad press reflects badly on the entire profession, but we hardly ever get good press because a good translation will never be noticeable.

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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 20:41
German to English
+ ...
It might actually help Nov 11, 2016

The attitude is common that "anyone can translate" and that it is an easy thing to do. That means that clients can underestimate the value and complexity of our work, and the degree of knowledge and skill that goes into it, and it also means that people jump in as "instant translators" creating quite a mess.

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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:41
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Good help (long term) Nov 11, 2016

I think they help, as very well mentioned by José Henrique below. Our market is full of adventurers and non-qualified "translators" accepting peanuts to deliver zero-quality jobs. We can hardly do anything about this market-destroying trend, so these reports may be one factor in our favor, even though it's not so significant or efficient for that purpose. But anything helps when you are feeling helpless. And I feel helpless with all the very cheap offers all around and the hundreds of pseudo-professionals accpeting them.

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