Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53] >
Ten common myths about translation quality

This discussion belongs to Translation news » "Ten common myths about translation quality".
You can see the translation news page and participate in this discussion from there.


Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:08
English to Polish
+ ...
Another myth Jul 20, 2013

Another myth is the now-hallowed rule that only native speakers of the target language should translate. This myth connects with similarly irrational emphasis on expression over comprehension, which probably connects with deemphasis on correctness in favour of 'communication' in language teaching.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
I agree Jul 20, 2013

I'm inclined to agree. My wife, a native speaker of Spanish, and I, a native English speaker, work on a lot of our projects together. We find that the native speaker of the source text is able to not only pick up on more details, but is able to express them more clearly. I do think that having a native speaker do the final editing/proofing work is the best option, but I feel that that part of the translation is only to improve fluidity, readability and grammar.

Obviously this isn't going the be correct in every case, but it happens enough that, in my opinion, directly dismissing a translator based solely on his or her native language isn't wise.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Srini Venkataraman
United States
Local time: 11:08
Member (2012)
Tamil to English
+ ...
back translation Jul 20, 2013

One common fallacy is that back translation will match the source totally.

I am reminded of the saying " The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" after back translation from Russian ( as the anecdote goes- it can be any other language too)
reads "The wine is good but the meat is stale"!!!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:08
Russian to English
+ ...
I agree that native language is a vary vague category Jul 20, 2013

-- there is not even a consensus what it means anymore, plus it may be considered discriminatory in such countries like the US to even inquire about anything called a "native language" in any type of work-related environments since it closely related to race and ethnicity. I don't really think it is allowed to ask such questions. I am often surprised that some companies put ads requiring certain native languages on various sites, because no newspaper would allow such ads in the US) and no employer would be really authorized to ask about it. If you graduated from a high school in the US -- you speak high school level English (or better), if you graduated from college -- you speak college level of English -- this is it.

I think anyone should be allowed to translate into any language and from any language they know very well-- at least quasi native level in the case of translating into it. I think you have to speak the language in everyday life and even live in the country where it is spoken to successfully translate into it.

Sometimes you may not even be able to translate into your L1, if you have just some education in it, and haven't spoken it much for many years, even if your accent is still perfect. The language will feel stilted, and you may not even understand certain things too well. Language requires constant work and exposure.

I agree with most of the points in the article that clients usually have no idea what translation entails.

[Edited at 2013-07-20 15:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-07-20 16:06 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Texte Style
Local time: 18:08
French to English
understanding of source text Jul 20, 2013

Tristan, I agree that a native speaker will understand the source text better. I have never hesitated to run awkward phrases by a native French colleague to make sure I have grasped the meaning. After 30 years in France, it's more likely to be a matter of confirming that the sentence is actually nonsense.

However good my native French colleagues though, my English prose flows better than theirs. And for the English reader, that's more important than an obscure reference that is meaningless for the English even if it raises a chuckle among French readers of the source text.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
As the man with the wooden leg said... Jul 20, 2013

... its a matter of a pinion. Obviously, if you are translating into a language that isn't your mother tongue, but which you are confidently fluent in, then you will defend the position that it's OK to do so, because it's what you do to earn a living.

However, going by experience, capable non-native speaker translators in my pair (Castilian Spanish -> English) are few and far between. Give me a native any day, and damn the torpedoes.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:08
Russian to English
+ ...
Isn't the truth the only criterium in discussions like that? Jul 20, 2013

It is not about defending versus not depending -- what do you do in the case of rare languages, like Hungarian,let's say, Latvian, Finnish -- who is supposed to translate the texts into English. How many non-native speakers actually speak those languages fluently, to be able to translate from them. Not too many, I would think.

The mother tongue thing is a cliche in many contexts -- what does it actually mean in reference to translation. It is definitely not your L1 which you spoke until the age of ten.



[Edited at 2013-07-20 17:12 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:08
Hebrew to English
Agree Jul 20, 2013

neilmac wrote:
Obviously, if you are translating into a language that isn't your mother tongue, but which you are confidently fluent in, then you will defend the position that it's OK to do so, because it's what you do to earn a living.


Quite!

However, going by experience, capable non-native speaker translators in my pair (Castilian Spanish -> English) are few and far between. Give me a native any day, and damn the torpedoes.


I would say the same for my language pair too. I've been sent Heblish to revise enough times to not be convinced of the merits of non-native translation.

Torpedos to hit in 3...2...1....


Direct link Reply with quote
 
LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:08
Russian to English
+ ...
How many people in England, or in the United States speak Jul 20, 2013

certain rare, or less popular languages fluently -- like Czech, or Bulgarian? Where, in your opinion should such translations be done -- in England or in Bulgaria? Non-native would really mean outside the country where English (or any other target language is spoken). I don't know the answer to that question. I was just wondering. What I find annoying sometimes, is the mechanical approach to translation. treating all languages and situations the same way.

There actually might be a difference between translating French into English, and Albanian into English.


[Edited at 2013-07-20 18:20 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:08
English to Polish
+ ...
Well... Jul 20, 2013

neilmac wrote:

... its a matter of a pinion. Obviously, if you are translating into a language that isn't your mother tongue, but which you are confidently fluent in, then you will defend the position that it's OK to do so, because it's what you do to earn a living.


Of course, but then, if you're not native in your source language, you will defend the position that it's OK for you to translate from it, because that's what you do for a living.

However, going by experience, capable non-native speaker translators in my pair (Castilian Spanish -> English) are few and far between. Give me a native any day, and damn the torpedoes.


I often lament the grammar, syntax and lexical choices of source-native PL-EN, and visiting the Kudoz board sometimes makes me want to cry, but find me a real native speaker of English who can fully comprehend the meaning of a Polish source, forget the nuances of the mood and register and the finest aspects of emphasis. If you did, I just might prefer to have him translate into Polish also, over the core contigent I have to proofread.

While overall quality is of top importance, I'd always see a couple of non-native giveaways (few Polish writers have a perfect mastery of inflection, while there exist some errors, even small ones, that no native speaker would ever make) than a bunch of typical issues found in translations or any other writing.

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

How many people in England, or in the United States speak certain rare, or less popular languages fluently -- like Czech, or Bulgarian?


Modernly, it's already difficult enough to find acceptable English in writers who are native to it. Their errors are usually distinguishable from those typically made by non-native speakers, but who cares if the sum total of suck is overall the same or higher than in the writing of a competent L2 user. For the record, I'm not saying that L1 users of Polish are better at their language than L1 users of Polish — they are definitely not, it's just competent L2 users of Polish are extremely rare (even among native speakers of closely related languages), so you almost never see one in real life.

[Edited at 2013-07-20 18:35 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with Neilmac Jul 20, 2013

I would definitely agree with Neilmac on this one. If I had seen even part of a sentence correctly translated I wouldn't be so inflexible, but I've never seen it yet. BTW, I would love to translate into Spanish all day long, it would be much more fun than translating into English, but you have to remember that companies pay good money for our translations...

Don't forget that we are talking about 2 major European languages. In the case of minor languages, non-native translators would not be able to claim that they provide professional-standard translations, the best they could aim for would be useable ones. Don't forget, companies stake their reputation on translations.

@ Triston, what a strange opinion. If you don't understand the source language properly you should pursue further training in translation.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Poles abroad Jul 20, 2013

London is bursting at the seams with Poles and Madrid, where I live, certainly is home to a fair number. Just from where I live I can tell you that the children have a bilingual upbringing. So at some point in the future, there will potentially be numerous Polish to English or Spanish translators/interpreters. The same probably applies for Czech and some other languages too.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:08
English to Polish
+ ...
I'd love to show you some Jul 20, 2013

Tatty wrote:

I would definitely agree with Neilmac on this one. If I had seen even part of a sentence correctly translated I wouldn't be so inflexible, but I've never seen it yet.


... But I'm afraid that my French wouldn't be up to the task these days, and I have little Latin-English to show. Perhaps one day. Incidentally, I feel much the same way about the idea of a real native speaker of English trying to translate from Polish, although I've seen two or three who can do it, based on the sample translations in their profiles. Incidentally, real near-native Poles (also few and far between) aren't noticeably worse at the same task. If I had to choose among them, I'd do so guided by their samples rather than nationality, especially as they would at any rate need to be far above the level of a typical university-educated L1 user in both source and target (or capable of delivering the same quality of translation as if they were, which is rare but some people can do it).

@ Triston, what a strange opinion. If you don't understand the source language properly you should pursue further training in translation.


There may be a world of difference between simply passing a C2 examination or earning a Master's degree in translation or linguistics (which is where most translators are, not even counting the less competent ones) and actually understanding the source on a native or near-native level. There are many situations in which I feel more comfortable as a native speaker of the source than one of the target. For texts that need fidelity, it's better to have a native speaker with C2 competence in the target language than the other way round.

Tatty wrote:

London is bursting at the seams with Poles and Madrid, where I live, certainly is home to a fair number. Just from where I live I can tell you that the children have a bilingual upbringing. So at some point in the future, there will potentially be numerous Polish to English or Spanish translators/interpreters. The same probably applies for Czech and some other languages too.


There might be some competition from there in 30 years from now, but I doubt that, considering the quality of L1 and L2 (and Ln) teaching these days, when even proofreaders usually fall short of the standards that should be expected of a writer.

[Edited at 2013-07-20 18:54 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Empty post
LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:08
Russian to English
+ ...
Not too many monolingual English-speaking people visit Jul 20, 2013

the Polish division of Kudoz, so I am not sure Lukasz who you are referring to ( English-speaking people --speaking Polish as a language learned in college,or at some courses).

I can say one thing, that Polish has significantly changed over the last thirty years, much more than any other language that I am in contact with. It has become more casual, or "casualized", or even slangish, in some cases. Also, the legalese is quite peculiar -- I must admit I understand Russian legalese much better, which logically thinking, should not really be the case. It might be more similar to English (conceptually), or more logical, or something -- I am not exactly sure what it is.

As to children of the Polish speaking parents -- I don't know about London of 2013, but it must be very different than the US then. Very few children of Polish-speaking parents who came here even at the age of 10, speak good Polish, not to say can write anything more complex in Polish. It is similar with Russian. Many Russian children cannot read the Cyrillic.



[Edited at 2013-07-20 19:13 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-07-21 07:49 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-07-21 07:52 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Ten common myths about translation quality

Advanced search







SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search