Working with non-linguist subject-matter experts.
Thread poster: Maeva Cifuentes

Maeva Cifuentes  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:02
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
Mar 25, 2016

Hello all,

For those of you who work directly with non-linguist subject-matter experts (legal translators working with lawyers to review texts and terminology), how do you go about the process?
Do you have them do a monolingual review of your translated text, or have them review your glossary/TM? I'll soon be collaborating with a non-linguist expert in my specialization to work on terminology, but I'm not sure what approach to take, nor how to discuss paying them. Per project? Or should we just work separately on terminology?
Looking forward to your responses.

Best,

Maeva


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 08:02
Member (2005)
English to German
Just to understand this ... Mar 25, 2016

... you are paying the expert, so the expert will help you with your work, not the other way round? Is that correct?

What are you hoping to gain from this collaboration? (For the content to be correct? The terminology to be as familiar to the reader as possible? Other?) I think the answer to this question would determine much of your workflow.


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Maeva Cifuentes  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:02
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's right Mar 25, 2016

I would be paying the expert for his/her collaboration.
I'd like to be sure my lingo and terminology exactly reflects the kind used in the industry and to ultimately become the expert myself (particularly in NGOs, development and civil society). I have considerable experience translating in the sector and a score of glossaries, reference documents and TMs. I thought I'd take the extra step and consult an expert.


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 08:02
Member (2005)
English to German
Mono- vs. bilingual Mar 25, 2016

And does the expert understand your source languages, and if so, how well?

Sorry this is beginning to look like a chatroom, I'm too tired to come up with a more professional-looking format for my posting.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Wouldn't you be better off... Mar 25, 2016

... using a specialist legal translator? You say you're using a non-linguist, but they won't be able to comment on the quality of your translation.

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Maeva Cifuentes  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:02
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
When you work with experts Mar 25, 2016

It don't think it would hurt to have a document reviewed by an expert in the industry, even if she is unfamiliar with the source language.
We would expect as bilingual specialists and professional translators that our style is already excellent and our translation as accurate as possible (please don't get me wrong, I am absolutely pro-peer review and having the quality of our translations checked by other linguists).

For example, one could use the term "submissions in response" (technically a correct translation) and even a non-linguist lawyer could identify that the term legally used is "reply brief".

Or do you think there's no use in collaborating with an expert working in the industry itself rather than in the translation industry? What are some better ways to perfect industry-specific language?


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:02
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Well, as matter of fact, Mar 25, 2016

Some years ago I did work with a non-linguist expert (a medical doctor) on a translation, it was a handbook on obstetrics and gynecology and we were both under contract with a medical publisher. She had the last word on everything medical related, I had the last word on everything language related. Everything went fine, I learned a lot, but it was extremely laborious…

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Maeva Cifuentes  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:02
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Teresa Mar 25, 2016

That's the kind of experience I'm wondering about. Did she review your translation simply as if she were an editor? What was the process like? Would you have preferred it differently? Were you the one that approached her about the collaboration, and did she have any prior interest in language/writing? Do you think it's a good way to develop your own expertise or would it be easier to do it differently (e.g. courses, webinars, reading, workshops)?
Sorry for the load of questions!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:02
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Diving and lenses Mar 25, 2016

I once had to find an expert diver to review my translation of the manual of a top notch diving instrument. What I did was discuss the matter in detail over the phone with the guy (an experienced scuba diver with international trainer certifications and who works regularly for big companies in their underwater engineering tasks). In another case, the subject matter was tinted lenses for glasses, and I resorted to my optometrist, also a very experienced professional. In both cases, I had the experts read the target translation only, and had to answer questions about the source text and do a bit of sight translation.

Given that not all subject-matter experts will have a sufficient knowledge of the source text, it might prove to be a futile exercise to have them check your glossary before you do the translation. It all depends on you: as long as you do your homework and work thoroughly on terminology before tackling the translation itself, the target text that reaches the expert will be already good and will require very limited changes. The more thorough your work, the easier for the experts.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:02
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Maeva Mar 25, 2016

First of all, we are both related (I’m her aunt). She was approached directly by the publisher and as she is not a translator she recommended me. We started out by building a glossary (72 pages long…). Her revision concerned only the “technical” parts. Everything went fine mostly because we trusted each other’s work. She speaks excellent English and she has published a few articles in medical journals (in English and Portuguese). I did learn a lot, much more than I would if I had participated in webinars or workshops. Would I repeat the experience? I’m not sure, because the whole project took one year of intensive work and I was “forced” to work double shifts in order to keep all my other clients happy…

On the other hand, I have an arrangement with an ex-colleague (we worked in-house together for 20 years) where we proofread each other's work. Quality-wise, it's the BEST decision I've ever made...


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xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 08:02
French to English
+ ...
Consultant's language of regular use Mar 26, 2016

Maeva Cifuentes wrote:

For example, one could use the term "submissions in response" (technically a correct translation) and even a non-linguist lawyer could identify that the term legally used is "reply brief".



Right away, a 'reply brief' gives the American-English game away and flags up the issue of the target-readership.

Submissions in response is not right in British English either: likelier would be first-stage defence submissions, pleadings now known as statements of case in E&W.

The hidden Translantic trap is hard to spot, many translators and interpreters believing e.g. a US-type impleader (third-party proceedings) is used in the UK. It isn't, except rarely in criminal cases.

Best qualify in the subject(s) concerned or draw up a list of key terms (to ask in one go to save time) and post as queries on ProZ or ask an 'expert' in that or an allied field (such as, in my actual case, motor racing terms asked of a motorbiker and mechanical tinkerer) and from the right longitude and latitude.



[Edited at 2016-03-27 16:07 GMT]


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