How to do a summary translation
Thread poster: Wendy Cummings

Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:29
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 30, 2008

I have an interview with a company that wishes me to do "summary translations". They will be setting me a test as part of the interview, during which I will be given two articles and will have 1 hour in which to produce a summary translation of each.

This is not something I have ever done before, and so I would greatly appreciate any advice on how to go about the task - any hints, dos, don'ts etc.

I will be provided with a "general dictionary and a specialist dictionary".

Thanks!

Wendy


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Maria Antonietta Ricagno  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:29
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
You may find something useful here Apr 30, 2008

http://gsteinbe.intrasun.tcnj.edu/tcnj/rhetoric2/summarizing/sld002.htm

http://www.english.ilstu.edu/249/Projects/report_summary.html

http://www.eco.utexas.edu/Homepages/Faculty/Cleaver/357Lsummaries.html

http://robo.cop.fi/ejohnson/Preparing-Summary.htm

hope it helps

Antonella


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Useful Apr 30, 2008



Wow, looks like someone's done her homework! That was really useful information (and I don't even do summaries!).


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 12:29
Turkish to English
+ ...
My own experience Apr 30, 2008

I used to do summary translations for a company in the UK (Durrants). The basic guideline they gave me was to summarise the whole article in two sentences, then write two more sentences summarising what the article has to say about the client company which was commissioning the summary translations (in my case CNN).

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Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:29
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting Apr 30, 2008

Thanks for that Tim.

Tim Drayton wrote:

summarise the whole article in two sentences,


Can I ask how long the original article was? I have not been given any indication as to how long the texts are that I will be given. The company is a publisher, and I will be given articles from foreign specialist press and have to summarise them for their own edition. I imagine therefore that they will vary in length considerably, and sometimes 2 sentences may not be enough.

Tim Drayton wrote:

then write two more sentences summarising what the article has to say about the client company


Could you expand more on this? I don't quite understand what you mean.


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JackieMcC
Local time: 11:29
French to English
my experience Apr 30, 2008

Hello Wendy,

I have done summary translations in the past - in my case they were articles in the press and I was asked to summarise the key facts and any information that would be of interest to my client.
In terms of length, my summary translations were usually about 30% of the source document.
This is obviously v. different to Tim's experience, so I think you would be perfectly entitled to ask some questions at the interview before doing the test, to find out exactly what they want - length, what they'll be using the summary translations for, etc.

Hope it goes well,
Jackie


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 11:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Entrance exam for translation/interpreting course at Salamanca Apr 30, 2008

This is or at least used to be one of the components of this exam! Before they'd even started... Worst of all was that they used to provide the article as a listening text. They must have realised that this was virtually impossible for school leavers so subsequently it was a written article.

I used to train people up for it, and frankly found it a great challenge. Finding the right "density" was so difficult for them - watering things down to the same degree of dilution throughout. A very short summary is to my mind actually easier than a longer one.

Some very useful guidance in those links from Maria Antonietta - to help you focus, and also on different types of summaries.

I am sure that all your translating experience, which means you are used to holding a summary of a text in your head anyway, will stand you in great stead.

Best of luck!


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Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:29
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
where others have failed... Apr 30, 2008

Thanks Noni!

According to the agency several other applicants have failed the test, but they were indeed straight out of college and I assume unused to ever having less than a whole week before the next class within which to perfect their short article!


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 07:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
4 keywords ... Apr 30, 2008

... for a crisp summary (translated or otherwise)

Context, Scope, Conclusions, Relevance - one sentence for each.

MediaMatrix


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 12:29
Turkish to English
+ ...
More details May 1, 2008

The work I described was for a company in the UK (Durrants Press Cuttings) which provides a service for companies that want to monitor the kind of press coverage they are getting around the world. Let us say that a company called "XYZ Widgets" wants to see what kind of coverage it is getting in the press. It signs up with a company like Durrants, and they simply scour the media in all the requested countries and give them a copy of every article that includes the name of the company. They also offer to provide summary translations of these articles.

As I have said, the guidelines I had when doing this kind of work for Durrants was to summarise the whole article in, ideally, two sentences and provide a further two sentences summarising what the article has to say about the company in question, in this case XYZ Widgets. The orignal article may consist of a couple of paragraphs, or extend over several pages, but the basic idea was to provide summaries of about equal length. There were, of course, times when this was impossible, and I had to write several sentences to summarise longer articles.

For example, let us say that the name XYZ Widgets appears in a report about a trade fair at which this company was an exhibitor. The summary translation might take the following form:

The tenth annual widget trade fair held at the X Exhibition Centre from ... to ... was attended by a record number of visitors. Certain exhibitors have expressed the view that this fair should in future be held at a venue better suited to the increased number of visitors that it is attracting.
XYZ Widgets gave a presentation on the second day of the fair in which it highlighted some of its new R&D projects. XYZ's stand was popular with visitors, may of whom were keen to examine the company's latest products at close hand.


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 11:29
French to Dutch
+ ...
I did summary translations too May 1, 2008

I had to summarize press articles into short texts of not more than 250 words (irrespective of the length of the article). I tried a trick a journalist taught me: always ask When, Where, What, Why and How to have the essential information (in my case there where hundreds of summaries).

I was paid a fixed price per summary; the client and I decided this price after five summaries of a different nature.


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Nobuo Kameyama  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 19:29
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
Excellent websites May 6, 2008



Maria, many thanks for letting us know these excellent websites!

I have been doing summary translations for Forbes (one of the American business magazines) for almost eight years so I know these websites will certainly improve my summary translations better.

I actually summarize between five to ten articles for Forbes each month because Gyosei, the Japanese publisher that issues monthly Japanese-language Forbes, has us contracted translators do summary translations to decide which articles they should actually issue, and some articles are issued as they are (as summary articles) and the rest of the articles will be translated fully.

Of course there are both short and long articles. If the articles are short (one-third or one-half page at most), I am supposed to summarize these articles in around 300 Japanese characters. The rest of the articles are supposed to be summarized in around 600 Japanese characters no matter how long these articles are.


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Maria-Carmen
Local time: 10:29
English
Better safe than sorry May 12, 2008

Hello Wendy,

My advice for you is to always ask for all the clarifications and details that you need to know in order to have a very clear idea of what is expected of you.

Never assume that the agency is right in expecting you to know everything about how to handle a certain task. The other day, I contacted a translator about a proofreading task and the lady very honestly asked me what our agency means by proofreading and what we expect her to do exactly.

I really appreciated that she asked instead of assuming, as this could have cost us precious time, had she not provided the thing that we expected her to. I think the same applies to you in this case!

Good luck!

By the way, I have not managed any summary translations so far, so I really appreciate the useful sites posted here!


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reem mohuy
Local time: 12:29
English to Arabic
summary translation Jun 8, 2008

i think that from my experiance as a lecturer for translation that i have to set a main and sub titles then and elaborate the sub " theses statement" in to 2 or 3 sentences.
to compose an essay of main " introduction"and sub "paragraphs" and conclusion.
thanks for all
any comments are wellcomed
reem mohuy


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