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Poll: If you had to compare translation, to which of these activities would it come closest?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 14:50
Apr 2, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If you had to compare translation, to which of these activities would it come closest?".

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:50
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Detective work Apr 2, 2017

Says it all!


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
Detective Apr 2, 2017

For reasons which should be patently obvious, for example from the kudoz section.

(It's always a relief when I find my poll answer in the top bracket. It kind of reassures me that I'm not such an oddball as I thought. Then again, perhaps being slightly left of centre comes with the job.)


Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:50
English to Russian
+ ...
Simultaneous interpreting ≈ flying Apr 2, 2017

Not sure about translation, but simultaneous interpreting has always felt similar to flying an aircraft: you have to keep track of several streams of information in real time, and you cannot stop until it's all over or your partner takes over. Both are hard and intense yet a lot of fun once you learn it properly.


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:50
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Flying vs. air traffic control Apr 2, 2017

Anton's description make me think of air traffic control rather than flying itself.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 22:50
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Apr 2, 2017

For me translation sits somewhere between detective work and doing a puzzle: one has to search for and choose the right words and the right meanings until every piece fits together.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:50
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Painting Apr 2, 2017

I sometimes compare it to water-colour painting, as opposed to sculpture in stone.

This is when I am trying to explain to clients and others that it is NOT actually helpful if they give me a machine translated text or a second-rate translation and 'just want me to polish it a bit'.

With translation it is always best and easiest to get it right first time. You don't start with a rough block and chip away to reveal the details - or at least I don't.

With water-colours, if you haven't got the right shade of blue for the sky, you mix some and THEN paint, you don't paint it green and try to wash out the yellow or cover it up afterwards...

If I haven't got the right term, I don't put in an approximation. I leave a blank space and look the term up. It always takes extra time to delete errors and turn sentences round to sound idiomatic, or check for incorrect singular and plural agreement (or gender, or whatever is typical of your language).

So what clients call 'korrektur' = proofreading or revision and editing may actually take longer than translating from scratch... and that is why!

[Edited at 2017-04-02 16:43 GMT]


BSGC  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:50
English to Yoruba
+ ...

Posted via Mobile

Construction Apr 2, 2017

To me, putting words together to make sentences; seeking the right phrase to use to pass on the message in the source text; putting sentences and phrasrs together to bring out the intention of the author of the source script; all these are like placing one block on another until a building is completed.


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:50
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Directing a play Apr 2, 2017

Translating can be a little like directing a play (a hobby of mine).
The director has to delve into the text to discern the "author's message" and try to direct every aspect of the action to bring that message out so the audience grasps it without the need for Brechtian notice boards.


Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:50
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
Weaving words Apr 2, 2017

with joy


Rocio Barrientos  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
You are so right, Christine Andersen! Apr 2, 2017

Christine Andersen wrote:

I do sometimes compare it to water-colour painting,

It is like copying a master piece with different shades of colors in a way that gives the same impression than the original to the eyes and minds of the readers.


Morano El-Kholy  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:50
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Swinging between "detective work" and "construction"! Apr 2, 2017

I finally chose "detective work".

Yes, as Muriel said:
Detective work. Says it all!


Jan Truper
Local time: 23:50
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Crossword Puzzle Apr 2, 2017



Denise DeVries  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
counting grains of rice Apr 2, 2017

...being able to identify the differences between things that seem exactly alike.


Luiz Barucke
Local time: 18:50
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
+ ...
Painting... Apr 2, 2017

...because, no matter how many times you look at it, it's never "done". You always have something to change, until you give up and consider you are done and it's time to start other one.

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