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Poll: Approximately what percentage of the first draft of your translations makes it to the end unchanged?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:11
SITE STAFF
Nov 13, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Approximately what percentage of the first draft of your translations makes it to the end unchanged?".

This poll was originally submitted by Gianni Pastore. View the poll results »



 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other: 85-90% Nov 13, 2017

I don't work with the idea of doing a "draft." IMO, that would be a waste of time. I strive for a finished product from the outset. If there's a tricky part, I will highlight it and move on rather than fussing to make it perfect. Subsequent context can often solve the problem.

Then I go back and read the finished job, with special attention to the parts I was stuck on. I make corrections elsewhere in the text as well. But together they don't add up to a large portion of the total text.

After all this, I then proofread for typos. I learned long ago that typos can slip in or go unnoticed when focusing on the sense of a text.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 06:11
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Over 80% Nov 13, 2017

Like Muriel, my "draft" is as finished as possible rather than work in progress. Even so I always proofread my text from one to three or more times depending on the text, the last one consisting of reading aloud the whole text.

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:11
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
It depends Nov 13, 2017

entirely on the subject matter.

When I do fashion catalogues, I get it mostly right first time and just check for silly mistakes, typos, and maybe bits I forgot about and, for one client in particular, things that have been mispelled in the source to the point of being incomprehensible.

If I'm doing something that requires beautifully crafted sentences, I'll do a very rough draft, a matter of getting all the ideas into English, then I rewrite the whole thing, putting the facts in an order that's more likely to appeal to a Brit mindset, and reshape it all, searching for synonyms to introduce literary devices, and so on until I get to the point where I'm just putting in commas and taking them out like Oscar Wilde. (Sometimes the deadline arrives a bit before that point)


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:11
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Probably well over 75%, but it varies Nov 13, 2017

I aim at getting it right first time - Before I actually start translating, I read the text through, or at least skim it, and prepare terminology. I try to identify any problems and solve them, and note any particularly good ideas or idioms (or any source language idioms which cannot be translated directly and need extra thought).

Some of my jobs are very small, but it is crucial that they 'sound good'. The preliminary exercise may go very quickly, and then I translate a draft, print out the target and look at it without the source, preferably after a long break. I may end up rewriting these more or less completely.

With longer texts, apart from typos and tidying up commas or breaking up over-long sentences, long passages remain as I translated them the first time, but it tends to be patchy. Once I start adjusting, the changes may spread like rings in a pond, so a whole paragraph has to be rewritten.



[Edited at 2017-11-13 23:32 GMT]


 

Ada Mirasol Navarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:11
Member (2017)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Over 50%, more or less Nov 13, 2017

I work mainly on law related texts which tend to be very specific with the terminology so on my first draft I usually focus on the terminology and, after making sure I've used the correct one and that the text makes some sort of sense, I rearrange the sentences so it can be easily understood. This is often a challenge in the case of legal text as we, law people, seem to be determined to make it very difficult for the world to understand us.

That's why I check a document four or five times before I consider it "done".


 

Noura Tawil  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 08:11
Member (2013)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Other: 90% Nov 13, 2017

As time and experienced rolled on, the percentage went higher and higher.
But, on the other hand, I am quite slow if compared to other translators, I "blame" my tendency to think a lot before putting words on "paper", I also tend to review and refine each small paragraph right after typing it. If terminological changes come up as I advance, I go back and make them in the entire document right there and then.
With all this, there's not much work left for the final proofreading.

With certain marketing or literary texts, it's a totally different beast.

[Edited at 2017-11-13 11:49 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 06:11
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Muriel+Texte Style+Christine+Ada+Noura Nov 13, 2017

Where are our male colleagues today?

 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
I was traveling by train... Nov 13, 2017

Teresa Borges wrote:

Where are our male colleagues today?


...more specifically, taking the Alfa Pendular from Aveiro to Lisbon.

icon_biggrin.gif


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
OCD Nov 13, 2017

I don't really have any idea about percentages. I don't measure anything about my work in percentage points. That's like wanting to know the average price of milk in a month. What the hell for?

What purpose would it serve for me to know the percentage of the first draft of any of my translations?

Someone either has OCD or too much time in his/her hands.

Groan...


icon_frown.gif


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:11
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not 100%, but certainly above 75% Nov 13, 2017

I usually do the CAT spelling check, then the Word F7 check, and find a few spelling and agreement errors and repeated prepositions and conjunctions. Then I re-read the whole thing and make some "reconstruction" work for euphony pusposes. If I delivered my translations straight from the CAT, there would likely be no complaints, except for these few errors. So I'd guess not 100%, for sure, but surely way above 75%.

 

Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:11
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
It depends on the type of text Nov 13, 2017

And how much freedom I have to stray from the original source.

Patents have very specific vocabulary and syntax. They are also repetitive, which means that I can leverage a sentence 2 to 3 times, or correct a sentence 2 to 3 times if later text changes my understanding of the subject.

Technical marketing texts need to read fluently in the target language. Cultural aspects that are clear in the original may need some additional translation. Also, puns and idioms.
The flow of these texts often changes in the final read through.


 

Bruno Veilleux
Canada
Local time: 01:11
English to French
Usually close to 100% Nov 13, 2017

My typical work is fairly straightforward so I don't tend to change much in review. I always reread each sentence after I'm done typing it, so changes in style and wording mostly happen before the overall review.

On the other hand, I've been translating a novel for practice in my spare time and as others have said above, I mostly focus on getting the meaning on paper for now and expect things to change significantly in the first review (including some passages I've left untranslated for now). I believe that's how it goes for writing in general.


 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 15:11
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Around 75-80% Nov 13, 2017

My ''drafts'' certainly do not contain any grammar, syntax, punctuation or spelling mistakes, however I often make stylistic changes especially when it comes to marketing texts.

 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 00:11
German to English
+ ...
Like Mario Nov 13, 2017

I don't look for percentages and don't try for statistics. My aim is for the final version that goes out to the client for review (I insist on the review) is as perfect as possible. My own review is a two part process, looking once for "style" and such (target language) and looking once for "translation" (all meaning transmitted unaltered, no omissions etc.). Since each can compromise the other, there may be several changes - or none.

 
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