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The first translation contest - please share your experience and feedback!
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer
Feb 27, 2007

Thanks and congratulations to those who took part in the community's first "official" translation contest. In particular, congratulations to the winners!

Now that the contest has been closed, we would like to hear specifically from those who participated in the contest, either by submitting entries or by voting.

We would like to ask you:

- Was the experience enjoyable?

- Did you learn anything?

- Would you participate again if additional contests were held?

I believe that Florencia and Enrique will also have thoughts to share, based on things they experienced in administering and observing the contest, and also on feedback received to date. (For example, we have been told that voting was time consuming. We have some ideas to address this problem if future contests are held...)

Note: Please regard this as a "focus" thread. For now, we ask that only those who actually took part comment (the reply button will not appear if you have not), and then, with just one post of up to 250 words. After a few days, we will open this thread also to members who chose not to participate.

(Later) The thread is still in focus mode, but now all those with an interest in contests, whether you participated or not, are invite to post. Please note that based on feedback from those who took part, the decision has been made to hold future contests in a dedicated area of the site, with some of the modifications suggested here.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-03-05 12:51]

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By voting Feb 27, 2007

I participated by voting.

As a translator, it tried to figure out where was the translator from (English>Spanish).

Next time, I' ll participate translating.


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By voting Feb 27, 2007

I participated by voting.

The results make me think people seem not interested in submitting their entries nor in voting for others (at least in the English-Spanish version). Maybe this should be both a debut and a farewell. I do not see why it should be repeated.

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As a voter: what the experience taught me Feb 27, 2007

Although I started reading all the French texts with great enthusiasm, thinking I was going to find "la perle rare" and vote for it, I sadly came to the conclusion that each translation, however different and often better than the others had something wrong somewhere, sometimes a surprisingly awkward sentence in an otherwise very inspired translation or even a blatant mistake. So, I was unable to vote for any of those brave and very interesting attempts.

Now, I wonder if next time, it would not be a better idea to make that contest available to pairs of translators only . Maybe, the results would be overall more satisfying for everyone and less of a trauma for those who jump in at the deep end. I would then take part, on the principle that two heads...etc.

To conclude and to use up my 250 words, I would say that I really enjoyed seeing the various styles and approaches and I thank all the contestants for the experience from which I learnt something.


[Edited at 2007-02-27 23:56]

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Improvements Feb 28, 2007

[I think we should vote based in a 1 to 5 scale, being 5 the best and 1 the worst. This scale will be present at the bottom part of each translation in the following contests. Why? Because it's so hard to choose only one.

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I liked the text, the experience and the challenge. Even though voting was time-consuming indeed, I found it enriching in its own way. Some of the translatoins were truly remarkable.

Thank you, Henry, Enrique, Florencia. I would be happy to participate again.

Congratulations, Ramón!

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Yes to all three questions Feb 28, 2007

Henry wrote:
- Was the experience enjoyable?

- Did you learn anything?

- Would you participate again if additional contests were held?

I participated both as a contestant and a voter and really enjoyed translating the text and reading other participants' works. Yes, there was no perfect translation, but some were very good and c'mon, take it easy - it's supposed to be fun and you never learn until you try.

The results in my language pair have not been posted yet, but it doesn't matter, if I won or lost, because for me it was a great learning opportunity and a brain workout in the domain of literary translation - this, in the long run, is the real value of the contest. And, hopefully, we will have an oportunity to discuss most challenging parts of the text and solutions offered by translators in our respective language forums.

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1 to 5 or 10 Feb 28, 2007

Yaotl Altan wrote:

[I think we should vote based in a 1 to 5 scale, being 5 the best and 1 the worst.

I do agree with Yaotl. When I tried to vote, I didn't want to choose one entry as the perfect one, as the others were good too. There were mistakes as well as lovely and gorgeous expressions in each version and it was hard to vote only for one.

As this is the first contest, there were only FIVE entries In my pairs (En>Ar) and I think many translators didn't vote and some didn't try to just stop and take a look on what's going on.

I really wish I can participate in the upcoming contest. It's, with no doubt, a great idea and really opened my eyes on the great new styles provided by contestants in my pairs.

Thank you all for your efforts.

Ahmed Dahman

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It was great Feb 28, 2007

I don´t normally translate literary texts, and for fun!, so it was a pleasure for me to do something really different.
Unfortunately, the EN>ES pair was the most fruitful one, so reading all the translations was hard. I really wanted to be fair to my colleagues and read every single word of their translations, but must admit I couldn´t always go past incorrections or mistakes. One ill-constructed sentence and I´d be off to read the next translation.
It made me remember, though, that, this is most certainly the way clients react when we submit translation tests, so I went back to the reality of how high the bar is set for all of us.
This is the first opportunity I´ve had to participate in something both as a translator and as a "customer", and that has taught me a great deal.

Thanks to everyone who made it possible.

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Yes... Feb 28, 2007

It was enjoyable, I've learned and I would participate again when time permits.

I'd say it would be better to have some sort of points system as it was mentioned earlier.
There was no perfect translation in my language pair (including mine:):)), but there were definitely some good attempts!
I'm glad I took part in this competition.

[Редактировалось 2007-02-28 09:07]

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Some communication problems... Feb 28, 2007

I have enjoyed the experience, generally. Same as Elena, I do not translate literature for a living, so it was a nice change of pace. Considering the other entries, I suppose most of them were from people who, like me, wanted to test themselves, not from well-established literary translators. That might also explain what Claudette has been describing.

Some technical remarks: I think that the communication from the staff was not always the greatest. At several times it was not clear what was the status of things (especially when the schedules has been extended). I think that would be easily solved by an option to be informed of contest developments by mail.

I also think that it would be useful to display the general number of votes cast in a given pair. That might improve the turnout, which in my pair was pretty low.

[Edited at 2007-02-28 09:12]

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Interesting experience Feb 28, 2007

I participated by voting. I don't translate literature and decided I wasn't going to risk my reputation this time (even though it was just for fun.... ) nor subject others to read my amateurish attempts!

Luckily in Italian there were only about 12 participants, because reading through all the translations is really time-consuming. I fear that if next time there are about as many as the EN-SP pair, I won't manage to convince myself to read them all.

Interesting experience, but I have the feeling that, except for a very interesting one, the translations were on average quite good, but nowhere close to perfection, as many of you have already remarked.

Naturally I would be interested in a similar contest regarding my specialisation (financial texts). I would feel personally much more involved in the whole effort.

[Edited at 2007-02-28 10:00]

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I liked the text you chose, looking forward to other source languages too Feb 28, 2007

Yes it was very enjoyable, and I will both participate and vote next time as well. Would like to receive results and comments by email, as we have made a personal effort and it would be nice to be considered on a personal basis as well. This was a great idea which make us appreciate both our work and that of 'real' translators, as I found so many machine language mistakes repeated all along the translations submitted in the English to French pair.
Thanks for the opportunity to take time off and enjoy myself!

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I participated... Feb 28, 2007

by voting and translating.

It was an interesting experience and I think it should be repeated.

However, in my view, it would be advisable to split Spanish between European and South American Spanish. It really makes a difference. As a Spaniard, it's not easy for me to judge translations written in South American Spanish and I think the same applies for my South American colleagues regarding European Spanish. And besides, this would help to reduce the number of entries for the English/Spanish pair. It was really difficult to get an overview after reading 35 entries!

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Participated. Feb 28, 2007

I enjoyed taking part in the contest even though I don't translate much in literature. Hindi was included later but I still had enough time to submit my entry. I must thank Florencia and others involved at for making timely efforts in this regard.

It was a little bit disheartening to see that there were only two other entries in Hindi(I must thank and appreciate them.). But I am sure, more colleagues will participate in future contests, if held. Many of them must be having great styles as they suggest wonderful answers at Kudoz. Every translator likes to see how a challenging text is turned into simple one with good understanding.

I'd certainly like to participate in future as well.


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