Translation style - length of translation versus length of source
Thread poster: golf264

golf264  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:48
English to Dutch
+ ...
Sep 23, 2011

I understand that it is ideal to have the translated text resemble as much as possible the original text in terms of text-length, but I find that my translations lately are 1 or 2 sentences longer than the original.

Does this mean that I am doing something wrong, and so I need to adjust my translation style to use fewer words? Am I being too "cumbersome" with the translation?

What do you think? How is it with you?

I can also imagine that for some here the translation is actually shorter than the original.

How can you ensure that both always remain close to each other in length?

This may be particularly important for materials such as advertisements, websites, etc. where the text must fit within a given space.


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:48
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not ideal at all Sep 25, 2011

It's not ideal at all to have your translation have the same length as your source. Different languages just require different amounts of characters.
Only in the case of software this can be different (not even always), as there can be space restraints, where a longer translation won't fit the button (or something like that). This often leads to ridiculous abbreviations and awkward phrasing, just to make things fit.
I wouldn't worry about the length of your translation at all. That's just the nature of things.


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Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:48
Polish to English
+ ...
"That's just the nature of things." Sep 28, 2011

For example, EN>PL translations gain usually between 5 and 15% in terms of character count. That's if you want to observe Polish grammar rules, provide understandable style, etc. Besides, AFAIK an average Polish word is longer by approx. one character than an average English word.

Still, it heavily depends on the terminology and type of text. Scientists use long words (even 10 characters are frequent), for tabloids I could use shorter words, etc.

"That's just the nature of things.", as Jan Willem put it.

AM


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golf264  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:48
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the clarification Sep 28, 2011

Thanks all for your input.
I always worry about all different unimportant things. It comes with the territory


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Translation style - length of translation versus length of source

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