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Poll: Do you read through the text before you start translating?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:53
SITE STAFF
Sep 21, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you read through the text before you start translating?".

This poll was originally submitted by Marketa Dolezalova

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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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:53
Member (2003)
German to English
We've already had this one Sep 21, 2006

http://www.proz.com/post/336537

And for the record, usually literary texts are the only ones I read beforehand.

[Edited at 2006-09-21 04:31]


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Better options this time, though Sep 21, 2006

This one has an option I can choose ("no"), but the other one didn't, because both of the "no" options in the previous version assumed justifications or reasons different from mine.

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Pundora  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 17:23
English to Hindi
+ ...
Always. Sep 21, 2006

I always read a few lines or paragraphs. That's sufficient mostly. I hardly go through the whole document. And, if that be needed I'd have to go through it twice at least.

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Alfredo Tutino  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:53
English to Italian
+ ...
I should have answered "almost always" (instead of "sometimes") Sep 21, 2006

My rules is always read it beforehand; for literary texts there are no exceptions,but for other kind of texts I often find that it is enough to read the index and the whole section, or subsection, I am to begin working upon.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Never Sep 21, 2006

I never read it first, and I suppose reading the text beforehand is something they insist on in school, but then I never went to school, not for translating anyway.

Of course before conference interpreting assignments I seldom get much of a clue either except for some general subject like "oh, something on environmental, industrial engineering, public health" or whatever.

Como salga el toro, hay que torearlo. (You just have to fight each bull on his own terms.)

All you know is that he's bound to have horns...


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:53
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I link together the story afterwards Sep 21, 2006

I never read the text first. The object of doing so would be to get the overall picture, but I do that afterwards instead.

I start translating with Trados, and after a few pages I begin to get the picture. However, I proofread on paper afterwards very carefully, and anything that needs to be changed once I get the overall story becomes obvious at that stage. The usual result of my proofreading is that three-quarters of the changes that I make are in the first few pages.

Astrid


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:53
English to German
+ ...
Of course I read the text first Sep 21, 2006

99% percent of my jobs consist of advertising and marketing texts. I need to read them in entirety to determine the tonality before I start writing. Especially the well written ones have their own dramaturgy, rhythm and stylistic devices. Starting blindly with line one just doesn't work here.

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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'll be guilt-free from here on out! Sep 21, 2006

When I took translation courses, I was told that not only did you have to read the text through once, you needed to read similar materials in both the source and target languages before ever beginning the translation.

I soon realized that I was already reading in the field, so I pretty much dropped the second "requirement," but I have felt very GUILTY about not always reading the text through. And here I find that almost no one does that!

Last week, I read two chapters by different authors, and annotated them. Then when I sat down in front the computer, I tried to build a little glossary in advance, but it was harder to do than simply opening the document....and before I knew it, I was translating away, and had forgotten all about my annotated copy.

However, today, I didn't read the a third chapter before starting it, and I now wish I'd look at it more closely because it contains a bunch of pesky quotations.

All the same, I'm glad I dropped in and saw what others think...no more guilt here when I don't read every word before starting!

[Edited at 2006-09-21 23:54]


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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 08:53
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
The more I know beforehand, the easier the job is Sep 22, 2006

I put "depends on subject". If it is something like a divorce decree, which I have translated countless times, it would be altogether unproductive and time consuming to read it thoroughly.

Otherwise, I read the source text to get a general idea, or a bird's eye view, if you will. I find that this greatly boosts my knowledge of context and provides many clues as to how to translate new terms.

Reed


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:53
English to German
+ ...
I absolutely agree Sep 22, 2006

Reed D. James wrote:

The more I know beforehand, the easier the job is



Exactly. Even marketing/advertising texts can turn insanely technical or require insider lingo. By reading them first I can determine which references I will need which will save me a lot of time during the process.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 17:23
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Have never Sep 22, 2006

Looking back on the vast majority of translations I have done I am myself a bit surprised to note that I have never read through the original before starting the translation. I just fold up my sleeves and get down to it from the first sentence onwards, and find my way through the translation.

I can't say my translations have been faulty because of this if one were to go by client feedback.


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ÇAĞDAŞ MANDALI  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 14:53
English to Turkish
+ ...
used patterns Sep 22, 2006

I answered the poll as "depends on the subject"

Most of my assignments are contracts and specifications, and, as you all know, there is a pattern of contracts beginning from definitions of the used terms and ending with clauses on resolution of conflicts, abolishment of contract, etc.

This also applies to many legal texts and I do not find it necessary to read them thoroughly beforehand, as unclear points are avoided in such texts and they are "fluent" in this aspect.

However, in some texts, such as ad. materials, researches, etc. it becomes impossible not to return few hundred, sometimes thousand, words back and change something, unless it had been completely read beforehand. It happened to me many times, ie, I many times understood that I had not been able to get some points left behind in the text correctly. Reading before translation comes out to be less time wasting in this case.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 12:53
English to German
+ ...
I do because it is necessary Sep 22, 2006

Hi!
It is necessary due to various reasons, you have to maintain the overall picture, assure terminology consistency and uniformity. Else there would be many deviations either or one would have to take a professional proofer which means further expenditure. Best Brandis


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:53
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
It does depend on the subject Sep 22, 2006

Many of my jobs are 1000 words or less, and if I can see they are very routine or repetitive, then I only skim them. I often skim bigger jobs, and then work through a section at a time.

I print them out with wide margins and note terminology, collocations and good turns of phrase before starting to translate seriously. (I write very fast in my own shorthand with a pencil!) Often problems at the beginning are solved by the end of the text. If not, I can find the solution without nasty surprises, or contact the PM or client at once.

The job is half done before I start typing, and I can then concentrate on style, the target group... all the details. I hate not knowing 'where a text is going' before I start!

But if I did a lot of highly technical texts I might just skim for terminnology and consistency - there are certainly times when reading thoroughly in advance does not pay off.

Tot translatores, quot sententiae


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