Survey on monolingual review (MA dissertation)
Thread poster: GFCooper

GFCooper
United Kingdom
Jun 11, 2014

Hi all,

I am currently writing my MA dissertation on strategies to use when doing a monolingual (target-only) review of a translation done by a non-native speaker.

If anyone does do this type of work and is interested, I currently have a survey open on approaches and would love to hear your comments: https://www.esurveycreator.com/s/82386c0

Just as a side note, I fully appreciate that translation by a non-native speaker and target-only review is not the ideal approach and that, where possible, native translators should be used. However, I also acknowledge that it does happen in the industry (and also institutions such as the EU) under certain circumstances.

Thanks,

Gemma



[Edited at 2014-06-11 20:29 GMT]


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:15
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Target only? Jun 11, 2014

Do you mean without seeing the source text? I don't accept such jobs. Being able to see the source text is essential in my opinion.

Note added: I also do lots of editing of texts written directly in English but that is a different process. In editing I would take more liberties to make changes, clarify, etc. I'm not so sure that the same questions could capture both processes.




[Edited at 2014-06-12 15:05 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
There may be no source text! Jun 11, 2014

Does this include texts that are actually written by non-native authors, such as academics, often in English?

Some Danish students and researchers write directly in English, although they may think some of the sentences in Danish first and translate them in their heads.

I do sometimes proofread and edit texts like that.

Are these included in the survey?


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GFCooper
United Kingdom
TOPIC STARTER
Review without the source Jun 12, 2014

Hi,

Target-only/monolingual means reviewing the target text of a translation only. You can normally see the source, but it's not a language that you can read; the focus is on checking the target.

It's normally done for low-level ephemeral texts when translation has been done by a non-native speaker.

I am aware that a lot of translators do not accept this type of work because they feel that it's not possible to review without the source, and accept that there are definitely limitations to this process. That's why my dissertation is focusing on establishing best practice.

Gemma


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:15
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Same as Christine Jun 12, 2014

A lot of my work involves English copy created by non-native speakers of English. I think this will be an ever-increasing service need as more and more people around the world become fluent in spoken English but can't write the language fluently.

I also do some monolingual checking of translations, with or without a source text (but always a source text that I don't understand, often Polish or Russian). I actually refuse to do bilingual FR>EN revision as I find having to constantly refocus between two texts makes me feel sick. Of course, the texts I work on have already been "proofread" (in the accepted sense of the word in the translation industry); my remit is simply to check that the English is faultless, and perform minor changes where necessary. That's the way it would work in an ideal world. In practice, sometimes either the agency skips the proofreading step or the proofreader is also non-native in English.

So, should I complete your survey for both jobs, Gemma?

Whether it's a translation or original copy, where there's any ambiguity at all -- and I mean any -- I simply mark the text with a comment that it needs to be checked against the source, or the author needs to review it. And if there are many of those cases in a translation then I'll go back to the client and suggest they find an alternative means of polishing their text as an agency will only be willing to pay for a "quick read through". I'm not mug enough to do anything more and risk not being paid. Non-native writers who write unintelligible English copy should have their work translated to avoid conveying the wrong message, even if it hurts their pride. As I tell them, I'm not a mind-reader.

I don't guarantee the correctness of the meaning; just the grammar and spelling.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
In practice I only proofread when I know the source language Jun 12, 2014

I find it helps enormously at least to know the source language - I can sometimes see the syntax is clearly calqued from Danish or Norwegian (closely related, and I have proofread a series of excellent but slightly 'Norglish' papers recently).

Here I know what the writer is getting at, and it is not usually ambiguous - or if technically ambiguous, I can usually exclude the wrong interpretation based on the context.

I am practically never asked to proofread texts where I could not read the source if it existed, and I am not sure I would take the job on.


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GFCooper
United Kingdom
TOPIC STARTER
Please complete the survey Jun 12, 2014

Hi Christine and Sheila,

Yes, please feel free to complete the survey.

In my experience,the remit of target-only review varies based on the client, but both of your suggestions sound applicable for my research.

Thanks so much for your input, I really appreciate it.

Gemma


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