Poll: How long do you spend initially when you encounter a difficult term or phrase?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:56
SITE STAFF
Oct 31, 2005

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How long do you spend initially when you encounter a difficult term or phrase?".

This poll was originally submitted by Stephen Rifkind

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 06:56
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
It depends! Oct 31, 2005

Some terms may not be hard at all to understand, but it's just the way of turning them into the target language that makes them hard.

Some terms may take a minute, others may take hours before making up which translation is more suitable.

Generally talking, I would pick "skip it immediately" but not forever of course. I usually work on my text as a whole, highlighting the phrases or terms I need help with or not sure of, and start searching on my breaks.

You said "initially", It usually takes me 1-2 or even up to 5 minutes before I decide to highlight the term and move on to the next one. Then I search for it in the usual resources.

It's interesting that till the moment I'm typing these words, the highest results in your poll were for "never stop"!! Are you telling me guys that you don't mind spending 2 or 3 hours on one term while having the rest of your project aside??

Well ... I usually leave them till the end, but sounds like it's just me and few doing so


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Jonathan Faydi  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:56
Dutch to French
+ ...
You are not alone... Oct 31, 2005

I also search for a while and then highlight the term if I cannot come up with a good translation. The rest of the text might inspire me in finding the best translation when I come back to the highlighted parts...

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:56
German to English
I try not to get bogged down Oct 31, 2005

If the term isn't in any of my terminology databases, I refer to one of my dictionaries. If it's still not to be found, I google the term. If I'm still not able to come up with a translation, I put out a query (to ProZ and elsewhere) then continue translating. At most this process takes a few minutes. In many cases the solution lies further along in the text or I'm able to overcome a mental block.

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Сергей Лузан
Russian Federation
Local time: 07:56
German to Russian
+ ...
Skip over & then come back to it Oct 31, 2005

After a couple of minutes I skip over it & then come back to it having translated a) the sentence b) the paragraph c) the chapter. If I fail to solve the problem after translated the whole text, I know the way out - kudos.

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xxxUSER00230
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:56
German to English
Until I have an adequate translation Oct 31, 2005

The survey doesn't have an option for what I do, which is usually basically to try and get some sort of an adequate translation for the phrase before moving on. If there is an unknown word I have to do a proz question on, I may leave that untranslated. I figure it's best to face the pain upfront and at least take some of the sting out of it. By the way, I have done some historical/literary translations where it has taken 1-2 weeks to come up with the right phrase.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 05:56
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I try to find terminology before I start translating... Oct 31, 2005

I prefer to read through the text or skim it and find at least the difficult words in advance.

I often riffle through a dictionary or thesaurus while I am working to check that I really have got the right term or the most suitable expression, but once I begin actually translating, I like to keep going fairly fast.

I get a lot of small jobs (2000 words or less), so subconsciously I have almost translated many of them by the time I have found the terminology. Then I type them in, and preferably lay them aside before proofreading them.

If I'm short of time, I do leave 'impossible' terms until this stage - I may find them anyway or I can gather up all the problems and call the agency or the client.

With longer texts I try to apply the same principles, but may do it a chapter or section at a time.

But it depends a great deal on the type of text one is working with....


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Heidi C  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good question, really makes you think: hard to answer Oct 31, 2005

Dina Abdo wrote:


It's interesting that till the moment I'm typing these words, the highest results in your poll were for "never stop"!! Are you telling me guys that you don't mind spending 2 or 3 hours on one term while having the rest of your project aside??

Well ... I usually leave them till the end, but sounds like it's just me and few doing so


It's funny, I marked "never stop" and then started thinking that it really depends!!

I prefer to get complete phrases, but if I get stuck, I usually highlight the term and write some suggestions in the meantime. Sometimes I find the answer as I go, sometimes I have a list at the end to check and recheck.

But sometimes there are terms that you can't go on untill you get them!! Maybe it is central to the text, maybe other terms derive from it or are contrasted or related to it, and not getting the correct one from the start will mean a lot more work later on...

(also, even if I leave something untranslated, it continues bugging me as I work, so I really don't stop thinking about it till I get some option at least)

Good question!!!


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xxxAWa
Local time: 05:56
English to German
+ ...
From a few minutes to till it's solved Nov 1, 2005

When I get a new text to translate I read it (preferably before submitting an offer ;- )) to see how many difficult terms or phrases it contains. Sometimes I write them down so I can look them up before I start translating. Despite of this, I often find phrases that looked ok when reading, but cause trouble when I try to translate them. With those phrases I take a couple of minutes to find a suitable translation. If I can't find one, I carry on with the text, because I know that in such a situation the perfect solution will be the harder to find the longer I think about it, but will perhaps present itself when my brain is busy with something completely different.

Furthemore, the same phrase may be repeated within the text and, although I didn't find a solution when it appeared first, the translation may become obvious at the second encounter.


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:56
English to German
+ ...
This is how I do it, too Nov 1, 2005

Ñåðãåé Ëóçàí wrote:

After a couple of minutes I skip over it & then come back to it having translated a) the sentence b) the paragraph c) the chapter. If I fail to solve the problem after translated the whole text, I know the way out - kudos.


If I cannot think of a translation right away, I leve the whole sentence and go on translating the text. When I am trough with the whole text, I look up for words untranslated in one single step and then go over the untranslatec phrases again.

IMO, it would be totally unefficient to stop on every single word and spend a lot of time in the beginning, not moving forward with the text in general.


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Sam Berner  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 14:56
Member (2003)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Sink my teeth, but keep chewing :-) Nov 1, 2005

Dina Abdo wrote:

It's interesting that till the moment I'm typing these words, the highest results in your poll were for "never stop"!! Are you telling me guys that you don't mind spending 2 or 3 hours on one term while having the rest of your project aside??


Hi Dina,

I am one of those bulldogs that feels irate and out of control if I don't know what the word I got stuck on means. I do spend on an average 20-30 minutes on VERY tricky terms, then and only then putting it on Proz. I continue with my translation, putting (......) in the place of the missing term and highlighting it. So I don't leave everything else and concentrate on the term - it doesn't work for me. Sometimes the meaning of the term will "jump" into my head (or is it out of it?) by itself after I have stopped concentrating on it.


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