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Accuracy of the expression "Translator's Note"
Thread poster: paula ribeiro

paula ribeiro  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:28
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Nov 19, 2009

Hi,

I've been asked about the legitimacy of inserting a Translator's Note in certificates for example, regarding marks and anything that has no direct equivalent in English. Would that be a correct note?


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 11:28
Turkish to English
+ ...
Not in the habit of using them Nov 19, 2009

paula ribeiro wrote:

Hi,

I've been asked about the legitimacy of inserting a Translator's Note in certificates for example, regarding marks and anything that has no direct equivalent in English. Would that be a correct note?


I have never personally been in the habit of using translator's notes. I would rather bring any such points to the client's attention in the e-mail accompanying the delivered translation.

[Edited at 2009-11-19 12:01 GMT]


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Nov 19, 2009

My own practice is to use notes to explain any item needing clarification, including acronyms and abbreviations, academic titles, apparent errors or inconsistencies or items that are unclear or incomplete.

I believe that to be a legitimate and desirable practice.


 

Aguas de Mar (X)
Agree with Henry Nov 19, 2009

There are things that can be brought to the client's attention for them to fix or change, but there are others that need to be stated in the translation of the original.

For instance, a few days ago, I had to translate an article that dealt with translation as a topic, and whose title was "Lost in translation" (referring to the movie). Since the translation into Spanish of the movie title was "Perdidos en Tokio", it made no sense to use such a transtation. I thus had to come up with a different title, and explain in a translator's note that the original's title was referring tho the movie, but that the analogy could not be carried into Spanish without loosing its meaning).

I believe that translator's notes are for things like this.


 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:28
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
I sometimes use translator's note and sometimes put it in an email to the agency Nov 19, 2009

But agencies can get it wrong about their clients.
I once did an agency job for the News Bureau of The Guardian newspaper and included some translator's notes. A woman at the agency called me and was very indignant and extremely rude about my including such notes for a news bureau that would certainly not want them. Having worked for BBC Monitoring, supplying material to its News Bureau for many years, and having spent six months working in that News Bureau myself, I was sure she was wrong. I told her I would not work for that agency again. I was not surprised to learn a few months later that the agency had gone bankrupt - fortunately after they had paid me for that job.


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:28
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree but with caution Nov 19, 2009

I agree, they can be a useful and needed part of a translation, but sometimes people get carried away and can use them in excess.

 

Lena Nusselt
Germany
Local time: 10:28
English to German
+ ...
only when necessary Nov 19, 2009

I agree...
One of my lecturers at University used to tell us about all the literary translations she had done which the publisher did not accept in the end due to the amount of translator's notes she'd made.
If, on the other hand, a translator points out that something is illegible or specifies such things as his/her usage of currency or the like, then I consider this to be absolutely appropriate. Especially in certified translations, this can sometimes be necessary in order to truly represent the entire ST in the TL.


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 10:28
English to Hungarian
+ ...
In email Nov 19, 2009

I've never written a note in the translated text itself. I usually attach a txt file to the email and note anything worth mentioning there (errors in original, any liberties I took with the text etc.)
I guess if a text had "marks and anything that has no direct equivalent in English" I would note that in the txt as well.


 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:28
Member (2009)
French to English
For certificates, yes Nov 19, 2009

I agree that translator's notes are usually out of place, but they are often necessary for certificates. I use them to denote illegible signatures and to clarify the translation of graphic elements such as seals.

 

Maria Castro  Identity Verified
Portugal
Member (2008)
English to Portuguese
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
yes Nov 19, 2009

Jenn Mercer wrote:

I use them to denote illegible signatures and to clarify the translation of graphic elements such as seals.


I do this, too. The same applies when there's no equivalent in English.


 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:28
German to English
+ ...
I do this, too, but take care with texts bound for publication Nov 19, 2009

Maria Castro wrote:

Jenn Mercer wrote:

I use them to denote illegible signatures and to clarify the translation of graphic elements such as seals.


I do this, too. The same applies when there's no equivalent in English.


I use translator's notes in such cases also. Where it's dangerous to include a note within the actual translation - for example, texts destined for layout and publishing (you may not necessarily want them to actually include the note in the printed document) - I explain the issue in an e-mail and decide on a solution with the client.


 

Deborah do Carmo  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:28
Dutch to English
+ ...
Marks Nov 19, 2009

paula ribeiro wrote:

Hi,

I've been asked about the legitimacy of inserting a Translator's Note in certificates for example, regarding marks and anything that has no direct equivalent in English. Would that be a correct note?


Do you perhaps mean marks/grades of a student on a certificate/academic transcript?

If so, I'd say yes. Someone who is going to use/evaluate such a certificate at a foreign educational institution would need to know, or at least appreciate being told, for example, that Portuguese schools and universities award marks out of 20.

To insert a footnote explaining this in a brief and accurate Translator's Note cannot affect the legitimacy of the translation itself. If anything, it enhances the translation because it gives the reader the information needed to make a proper assessment.




[Edited at 2009-11-19 17:08 GMT]


 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Two versions Nov 19, 2009

In case of rush jobs, or if I can't get in touch with the client, and when I am in doubt about whether or not to include something, I simply submit two versions -- one with and one without the material in question. I point out the difference to the client and let him or her choose.

 

paula ribeiro  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:28
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much! Nov 19, 2009

Yes, indeed, I was referring to school certificates in particular due to the different marks awarded.
I also agree with the danger of inserting too many notes, but the client wanted it specifically and I also think that it was necessary in this case.
However, the idea of sending the two versions was also very helpful, although sometimes, due to me being a fairly young translator, some clients might think of it as second guessing my work, or a sign of uncertainty. What do you think?

Thank you so much to everyone, you were really helpful!

Regards,
Paula Ribeiro


 

Aleksandar Gasic
Montenegro
Local time: 10:28
English to Serbo-Croat
+ ...
moderately Nov 20, 2009

paula ribeiro wrote:
me being a fairly young translator, some clients might think of it as second guessing my work, or a sign of uncertainty. What do you think?



That has nothing to do with your experience or anything. You'll come across such clients at any given time. You can't make everyone satisfied. First and foremost, do YOUR best, and do not get discouraged if someone objects to it.

Sometimes translator's notes cannot be avoided. My practice is to add them if there is a need for 3-4, but if you need to explain a lot, either email it, or add some sort of translator's intro (preface... call it whatever you consider satisfactory), so it does not distract from the text.


 
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