Is there any strategies for academic text translation?
Thread poster: KOMAZ
KOMAZ
English to Chinese
Mar 15, 2011

I want to ask you how to translate the academic text form English to Chinese?
I have a 3,000 word translation project and I have write a commentry on my own translation.
I choose a academic text to translate but I do not know if there are some specific translating strategies for academic text translation.
My tutor told me that I should not apply the general translating strategies for my translation and I should find some other strategies for my academic transltion.
Can you tell me some specific translating strategies for academic text translation?
Can you give me some articles on that issue?

Thanks a million!

PS: My ST is taken from the book 'Communication Across Cultures-Ttanslation Theory and Contrastive Text Linguistics'.

[修改时间: 2011-03-16 10:52 GMT]


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Fouad El karnichi  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:32
Arabic to English
+ ...
Academic writing Mar 15, 2011

I think you need to do some documentary checks and reserach on the stylistic, structural and format conventions of the academic genre and register in chinese.Look for parallel texts in the same genre you are looking for (e.g abstract writing..) and then you get the patterns , type of lexique and structural as well as rhetoric structures -if any- used in your culture.Then you might apply these to the language you wish to translate into.

Hope this helps


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Christina Paiva  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:32
Portuguese to English
+ ...
You should ask your tutor ... Mar 15, 2011

I'm not sure what your tutor meant, but in my experience in the medical/scientific fields there are two types of academic texts:

1. an MSc monograph or PhD Thesis
2. a paper to be submitted to a specialized journal

In both cases, the rules are determined by the University graduation board or the journal publishing board with regards to layout, topics and so on...

Hence (I would):

- Find similar texts in both languages
- Find what are the rules determined for your target language by a Chinese journal (they might be different from those required by International journals)
- Last, but not least build a glossary of terms.

Hope this helps!


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:32
English to Croatian
+ ...
Styles for Chinese? Mar 15, 2011

In English, there's a typical APA academic style. I don't know whether your source text used this style, or some other and whether similar style exists for Chinese.

Academic writing is a big field and the style may vary depending on the subject-matter.

Generally speaking, academic writing is usually a combination of scientific and creative writing. Therefore, you should intertwine these two styles.

Also, I think what your tutor said is too general, as you should use specific strategy for any translation genre, not just academic translation ( comparing to "general translation", although that term is quite stretchable as well).

Some common features of academic texts are strict organization, lots of latinisms and expert jargon and naming/quoting of the academic sources (references).



[Edited at 2011-03-15 23:09 GMT]


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:32
French to English
+ ...
Nothing necessarily so special Mar 16, 2011

It may sound surprising, but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that there's not necessarily anything terribly special about academic writing. Some features:

- you should generally aim to write with clarity... just as with writing/translations in general
- you may have to adhere to a particular journal/publisher's style guide... just as with lots of other writing/translation
- as well as being familiar with the terminology in the field, you should be aware of terminology that can lead to ambiguities and be prepared to work round non-technical uses of a technical term, e.g. in a lingiustics text, the non-technical use of "case" could be quite different from the technical use of "Case"... just as is the case when translating legal texts or texts associated with any particular field, whether "academic" or not
- many academics (at least in English) tend to aim for a style that is "neither too formal nor informal"... just as with various other types of text

One thing you may need to watch out for (but again, this is not necessarily a feature of academic texts, just of any text belonging to a particular field/register) are differences in typical conventions between source/target language. You might find that there is a tradition in your source language for writing in long, complex sentences, whereas there is a tradition in your target language for short, simple sentences. You might find that in your source language there is a tradition for avoiding personal pronouns in academic writing, but not in your target language.

Note that:
- before submitting a paper to a journal, an academic will familiarise themselves with articles from that journal and then attempt to tailor their submission accordingly; "academic writing" isn't really a single, one-size-fits-all entity;
- academics aren't generally nearly as paranoid about their writing as, say, secretaries or editors-- they tend to just write in a way that comes naturally to them (barring publication-specific considerations as I mention).

[Edited at 2011-03-16 03:06 GMT]


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KOMAZ
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
reply to chirstina Mar 16, 2011

Christina Paiva wrote:

I'm not sure what your tutor meant, but in my experience in the medical/scientific fields there are two types of academic texts:

1. an MSc monograph or PhD Thesis
2. a paper to be submitted to a specialized journal

In both cases, the rules are determined by the University graduation board or the journal publishing board with regards to layout, topics and so on...

Hence (I would):

- Find similar texts in both languages
- Find what are the rules determined for your target language by a Chinese journal (they might be different from those required by International journals)
- Last, but not least build a glossary of terms.

Hope this helps!





Thanks. My tutor had a quick at my literature review, and she said that the "skopos" and "domestication" are too borad and general. I have to choose something specific.
Now I am just thinking about that mbining Free Translation with Literal Translation and also integrate Semantic Translation with Communicative Translation. Do u think it is ok?


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:32
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oh, dear... Mar 17, 2011

Thanks. My tutor had a quick at my literature review, and she said that the "skopos" and "domestication" are too borad and general. I have to choose something specific.
Now I am just thinking about that mbining Free Translation with Literal Translation and also integrate Semantic Translation with Communicative Translation. Do u think it is ok?


When theoreticians start using monickers it can get confusing, but translation per se is communicative by definition and semantic by necessity, whereby blend may be determined by the kind of audience you address (which in most cases is predetermined by the audience the source text addresses). I find Neil's advice to resort to an accepted target language style manual indispensable. For strategies, it may also be helpful to analyse existing translations: comparing, for instance, Stephen Hawking in English with the Chinese translation of his books/articles, and deciphering the reasons behind the translators' use of the target language. This would give you an idea of the strategies you can employ, which in the end will be determined by your intention. This may be easier than working with cut-and-dried theories, which tend to be prescriptive but may leave limited room for your own intelligent/reasoned decisions.


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KOMAZ
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
the name? Mar 17, 2011

I find Neil's advice to resort to an accepted target language style manual indispensable. For strategies, it may also be helpful to analyse existing translations: comparing, for instance, Stephen Hawking in English with the Chinese translation of his books/articles, and deciphering the reasons behind the translators' use of the target language.


Many thanks.
Could you please tell me the name of Neil or Stephen's books/articles? It would be very nice of u.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:32
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
This one Mar 18, 2011



Neil Coffey wrote:

- you may have to adhere to a particular journal/publisher's style guide... just as with lots of other writing/translation


With regards to Stephen Hawking, "A Brief History of Time" was analysed by Mona Baker in "In Other Words", and while she didn't handle the Chinese version, I imagine it would be interesting for anybody taking on academic or scientific texts.


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