EU translators - proficient in all fields?
Thread poster: Mia_L

Mia_L
Local time: 14:36
Jul 10, 2009

My dear colleagues,

I have 15 years of translation experience, and I focused mainly on the field of agriculture - veterinary, phytosanitary and food safety issues. I am quite able to deliver good translations for some general or less technical documents, but I consider myself far from qualified for, for example, fiscal policy, civil or mechanical engineering, etc. As my country is preparing itself for the EU Questionnaire and thousands of pages of various pieces of legislation, a group of short-listed translators has today attended a meeting, where a colleague translator from an EU country has told us that in the EU, there is no mentioning any fields of preference or specialization. In other words, he said that everybody translated everything and that if one said that he/she could not deliver a translation in a specific field, he/she would be dismissed. I have to admit that I was amazed at this statement. I could not believe that the EU Acquis, which incorporates so many different and very technical pieces of legislation, is given for translation not to translators qualified for the specific field, but to those available. I would be grateful if any of you, who might have more experience or knowledge about this, would let me know whether this is really the case.


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 15:36
Turkish to English
+ ...
Unbelievable Jul 11, 2009

I, too, find this amazing.

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Tracy Huang  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
Re:EU translators-proficient in all fields Jul 12, 2009

I don't know whether EU translators are proficient in all fields, but as far as I know, when translation companies or clients ask you to translate for them, they will always ask what industry you are proficient in and whether you have worked in this specific field with which their materials is concerned in. Those who claim that they can do all kinds of translation materials, in my opnion, probably can not deliver the best work that client expects, although some of them may do quiet well if they spend a lot of time searching in the internet about the material background, terms and difficult points and ask for the technical persons' help online.

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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 13:36
Generalist Jul 12, 2009

My understanding is that EU accession-language translators have to be a jack-of-all-trades when starting out. However, in-house translators would have the benefit of TMs, internal style guides and lots of reference material.

Obviously, translations into the accession languages will not have this, so translators would have to start from scratch. Translation is just one part of the cycle; you also have to contend with the internal revision process and standards. I suspect this is still being ironed out for your language. I doubt the Macedonian language unit, if there is one, will have a style guide or TM ready to share with freelancers. There will be a learning curve for everybody in the project, but think of it as "laying the foundation" for future in-house Macedonian translators.
Every outsourced text gets reviewed and feedback is always returned to the freelancer.


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Noe Tessmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:36
English to German
+ ...
No EU translators at Proz? Aug 1, 2009

Hello,

I do translate for the commission (not directly) from time to time but nobody asks me if I am proficient in this or that field. I just have a look at the document to tell them if I feel comfortable or not. Your type of text would normally be done inhouse.

The EU is covering more or less everything, so it's hard to have a specialist for each and every field. Sometimes EU inhouse translators even have to translate into languages which are not their mother tongues, mostly into English.

By the way I think there are not a lot of EU translators hanging around at Proz.com.


All the best

Noe

[Edited at 2009-08-01 18:23 GMT]


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Habib Shariati  Identity Verified
Iran
Local time: 17:06
English to Persian (Farsi)
+ ...
practice makes perfect Aug 19, 2009

hello

We got the proverb which if you let me I will try to paraphrase it in English, all the people as a collective entity know everything and are specialist in everything, we all admire your talents and expertise, but I personally believe we would become expert in any special field through experience and hard work, well, we have to admit that European Community of translators are enriched with lots of professional translators on different fields. Not to mention the number may also be high in comparison with other places around the globe on a statistical basis but still we shouldn't neglect other places as well. Don't you think so?


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 13:36
approved resources Aug 20, 2009

Noe Tessmann wrote:

Hello,

I do translate for the commission (not directly) from time to time but nobody asks me if I am proficient in this or that field. I just have a look at the document to tell them if I feel comfortable or not. Your type of text would normally be done inhouse.

The EU is covering more or less everything, so it's hard to have a specialist for each and every field. Sometimes EU inhouse translators even have to translate into languages which are not their mother tongues, mostly into English.

By the way I think there are not a lot of EU translators hanging around at Proz.com.


All the best

Noe

[Edited at 2009-08-01 18:23 GMT]


You are probably an approved freelancer on your customers' books One of the conditions of EC outsourcing is that the translation company can only give an assignment to one of the translators that the company proposed in their tender.

I'm not an EU translator myself, although I did translate a couple of Irish documents for various EU bodies when I freelanced. However, I do work in this field in a different capacity

[Edited at 2009-08-20 20:06 GMT]


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Dorothee Rault  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:36
Member (2007)
French to German
+ ...
EU translator at Proz Aug 21, 2009

Hello Mia,

I am working on a regular basis for the European institutions (via agencies) as a freelancer. I cannot speak for your language pair, but concerning English to German translations, a lot of material and translated expressions exist already on the specialized Web sites of the European Parliament and the Commission (for example Eur lex) for a big part translated by inhouse translators. As a translator I am always advised to use this terminology and one of the main points while translating for the EU is researching existing translations.
Although this can widen your working field, I would not accept any translations which I am not comfortable with and I have always the possibility to refuse a project. In fact, I communicate in the context of tenders my specialization to the agencies.

Apparently, the translation from languages like yours is a problem for the EU as they cannot find enough translators for the work to be done. Perhaps that is why your colleague told you that in the EU everybody translates everything.

In fact, you have a potentially big workload with the EU. And I guess in the case of a refusal from your part, they will not that easily dismiss you as they need you desperately.

Best wishes,

Dorothee


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Mara Ballarini  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 23:36
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
target language may also be the key Aug 21, 2009

As Dorothee was saying

Dorothee Rault wrote:

Apparently, the translation from languages like yours is a problem for the EU as they cannot find enough translators for the work to be done. Perhaps that is why your colleague told you that in the EU everybody translates everything.

Dorothee


it may depend on the target language of some new-to-the-EU countries with lots of work to be done and not enough translators.

I have a friend working as an in-house translator at the EU (lucky him!); his mothertongue is English and he often has to review documents in English translated by non-native speakers of Eastern European background because they don't have enough native translators from those 'new' languages to English. He was even asked to learn Polish lately, on top of the other 2 or 3 languages he knows and translates from, and they even sent him to Poland for this, in order to be able to 'help out' with that language combination in the (near) future.

Hence, my opinion that for countries that are new to the EU, the workload will be so huge they'll need 'generic' translators who cooperate with them on a regular basis - in whatever field - and then they may have the translations proofread by experts in the field (pls note this is just my guesswork) - and they will always outsource jobs anyway, maybe something more specialistic.


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