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Poll: Would you cringe now if you looked at some of the first work you produced as a translator?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 10:33
Nov 26, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you cringe now if you looked at some of the first work you produced as a translator?".

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Irene N
United States
Local time: 12:33
English to Russian
+ ...
Other Nov 26, 2007

The third ones.

The first and the second ones I did for money were actually quite good - it was a general subject. The third ones were my first try in pipeline testing... A firewall made of 1 in-house engineer and 1 editor took care of the safety of people who were supposed to test it:-D. However, I didn't get fired, we are still friends and they are still my editors no longer scared of my name in the file Statistics.

I've read "words" instead of "work" hence the grammar:-)

[Edited at 2007-11-26 15:21]


Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:33
Turkish to English
+ ...
I did cringe! Nov 26, 2007

I looked at one of the first serious legal translations I ever did and quite literally cringed. I had to stop looking - it was unbearable to see how bad it was!


Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
English to Turkish
+ ...
Of course, I would Nov 26, 2007

What a question! I was a 20-year-old college student then, goodness knows what atrocities I performedicon_razz.gif


Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Certainly improved Nov 26, 2007

So, few of us share Nobel prizewinner physicist Sir Ernest Rutherford's point of view?

I’ve just been reading some of my early papers and, you know, when I finished, I said to myself, 'Rutherford, my boy, you used to be a damned clever fellow.'



Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
English to Dutch
+ ...
Improved Nov 26, 2007

but I wouldn't cringe.

After all, I've always done my best and it would be unreasonable to expect the same level of quality throughout an entire career. Even after only a couple of years in this business, I see improvement.

But it wouldn't be right otherwise, would it? And I'll probably say the same about my present work in, say, 2020 (assuming I'm still alive and working by then). I'll just try to keep improving....icon_smile.gif


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't cringe Nov 26, 2007

Or be prepared to do it till you croak!

If it's true we mature at 35 (and it seems the growth "curve" in the profession isn't really a curve), we're doomed.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
with a lot of help from my friends... Nov 26, 2007

I was lucky enough to be employed as an in-house translator when I started, and everything I did was proof read by competent colleagues.

So the first translations I did were sent back to me, some with red marks all over, some with practically none... and they were definitely presentable when the clients saw them.

There's always room for improvement though.

I was also lucky enough to be asked to proof read other people's work. Often they were the kind who make two typos on 20 pages... or who just needed to make sure the translation was understandable by someone who had not seen the source first.

I learnt a lot there too.

And then later, there were those who needed even more help than I did. You can learn from other people's mistakes and avoid some of the pitfalls they plump into. Diplomacy and humility are definitely needed there. But between the mistakes, most of those colleagues had some very well-rendered passages too. Never forget to tell colleagues about those when you proof read. One of my early mentors was really good at that - and then I could take any amount of criticism from him!

I still appreciate getting a second opinion. When you're too old to learn anything new, it's time to stop!

Happy translating!


Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
It is not so much a question of cringing... Nov 26, 2007

I used to be a lot slower, and the only difficulty was in understanding the source text, not in expressing it in the target language. However, I sat there until I worked out what it meant. The thing I was not aware of when I began was that it was often neither sufficient nor wished by the client if I simply produced an accurate translation of the source text. There appears to be a lot more to it than that these days. I did not know then that it was important to match up the terminology with that used in particular documents mentioned in the text, or to find the documents concerned on the Internet and check their exact wording, or to study the client's web site to analyse and observe the terminology used, and use the same terms ....

... or is this requirement quite a modern phenomenon anyway, caused by the fact that a lot of us now have a permanent Internet connection at a reasonable price?

At any rate, I get into big trouble these days if I don't "mind my p's and q's" by carrying out the above-mentioned matching activities perfectly.



Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Evenings can get chilly this time of the year... Nov 26, 2007

...don't you think so?

(It's best never to discuss politics, religion or old translations at dinner time).icon_wink.gif


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not Really Nov 26, 2007

I think what I did in the early days was good work. The main difference was that it took much longer to do it and much more research effort, which I was willing to do. There was no Internet in those days so it involved haunting libraries and bookstores and picking up every scrap of information and every dictionary or glossary I could find.

Now it is so much easier and quicker to do everything, no need to agonize. But I wouldn't cringe, I paid my dues.


mediamatrix (X)
Local time: 15:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Cringe? Me? Never!!! Nov 27, 2007

That's not to say that my bosses, clients and readers never cringed, but they've always been polite enough to keep their opinions to themselvesicon_smile.gif .

What the ear doesn't hear the heart doesn't grieve over.



Larissa Boutrimova  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:33
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
I have to get it off my chest Nov 27, 2007

I don't have any of my first translations saved, but actually I think they were not bad, well, at least OK. But what makes me cringe and blush are the memories of my first serious experience as interpreter. Not only did I not understand half of what was said by the English-speaking party, but I had difficulty understanding people who were speaking my native language! The subject was highly technical and some of the words sounded familiar, but put together they made little or no sense to me. Thank God, I was only helping an experienced interpreter during those meetings and used the opportunity to learn from her, but the whole experience was so embarassing that I literally got sick after that unforgettable trip.

[Редактировалось 2007-11-27 05:42]


Jussi Rosti  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:33
Member (2005)
English to Finnish
+ ...
I suffered reading my first translated poetry volume Nov 27, 2007

Even if the book received good critics and became a classic in Finland, I cannot accept some wordings I chose by then.

However, I think this is healthy - I at least know I have made some progress in these 10 years.

[Edited at 2007-11-27 07:50]


Marija Stojanovich  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
Serbian to English
+ ...
Err... don't think about it Nov 27, 2007

I'd rather not think about it, really - my first job was a rush one, and even though I already had a pretty firm grasp on the terminology by then (I used to do a lot of IFUs locally, free of charge, just to get "the hang of it"), I'd rather not reflect on my style in those "early days".

On the other hand, my very first client is still with me today (and our relationship evolved from "business associates" to "friends" over the years) so I guess I wasn't that bad.icon_biggrin.gif

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