Translating a book
Thread poster: Paul Aron
Paul Aron
Local time: 03:35
German to English
Mar 5, 2012

I would like to know the procedure(s) for translating a physical book,that is,what software is required and procedures. Obviously copying(that is,typing) paragraphs and chapters into a translation program manually is probably archaic and time consuming. I would appreciate if anyone can give me some information and suggestions. Thank you.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:35
English to German
+ ...
What kind of book? Mar 5, 2012

Paul Aron wrote:

I would like to know the procedure(s) for translating a physical book,that is,what software is required and procedures. Obviously copying(that is,typing) paragraphs and chapters into a translation program manually is probably archaic and time consuming. I would appreciate if anyone can give me some information and suggestions. Thank you.


Usually books happen to have the habit of being quite physical. Did you mean a physics book with lots of equations and such?


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:35
English to German
+ ...
And why would you want to use a "translation program"? Mar 5, 2012

Paul Aron wrote:
Obviously copying(that is,typing) paragraphs and chapters into a translation program manually is probably archaic and time consuming.


Are you a translator?


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Prima Vista
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:35
Russian to English
+ ...
Scan and recognize Mar 5, 2012

Dear Paul! If you mean that you don't have a book in any electronic format, then you should scan and recognize it in some special program (e.g. in Russia we use ABBYY FineReader). Besides some formats can be recognized by SDL Trados 2009.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
This is the electronic age Mar 5, 2012

Paul Aron wrote:

I would like to know the procedure(s) for translating a physical book,that is,what software is required and procedures. Obviously copying(that is,typing) paragraphs and chapters into a translation program manually is probably archaic and time consuming. I would appreciate if anyone can give me some information and suggestions. Thank you.


These days new books and new editions already exist electronically, so you wouldn't need to get involved in any jiggery-pokery with software.

But if the book is very old and out of print, it may have to be scanned page by page and then converted into electronic format using OCR.

That is NOT a job that the translator should have to do, as using a home scanner it would take a month or more working full time, not doing any translating at all but going nuts scanning page after page after page.....no thanks!

I have been asked to do this a few times and on each occasion I have politely replied that I would be delighted to translate the book as soon the client is able to provide me with a Word file containing all the (checked) text.

Needless to say I didn't get those jobs and I don't think the projects went ahead because I think only Google Books, or major libraries, have the technology to automatically scan and OCR all the pages of a physical book.

You would need a machine like this: http://www.4digitalbooks.com or a bureau like this one: http://www.hollingworthmoss.co.uk/book-scanning.htm

Either way I think the scanning would cost lots of €€€€€ !

[Edited at 2012-03-05 10:48 GMT]


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Cristina Usón Calvo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
Totally agree Mar 5, 2012

I totally agree with Tom,

You, as a translator, don't have to do this kind of work, unless you are really well-paid for it.

However, if you are a student, you'd better search for the electronic format of the book in the Internet or get it scanned and find a good pdf>word converter.

Another option would be doing the translation "manually", that is to say, without any CAT tool.


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isabel murillo  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
What kind of book are ypu talking about? Mar 5, 2012

What kind of book are you talking about? A technical manual? A physics book, as Nicole suggests? Or a book-book, "manually" written by an author with all his/her love?

As far as I know, books are "manually" translated, without any CAT tool!!!!


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:35
Italian to English
Scanning Mar 5, 2012

I've translated a couple of books like this, using the OCR setting on my own scanner or uploading scanned pdfs to an online service such as http://www.abbyyonline.com/en/home/ocrterminal
I believe Wordfast Anywhere - http://www.wordfast.net/?whichpage=anywhere - gives similar results.

While I agree that this is not part of a translator's normal service, breaking off to scan a few pages at a time is not unduly time consuming - and gives your brain a brief rest.

If you are going to be doing this on a regular basis, it might well be worth investing in the software that PrimaVista suggests.


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Alison Sparks  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
French to English
+ ...
Why not... Mar 5, 2012

do what I do? If you are comfortable enough with both the language and the content of the source use a speech recognition program. You read the text to yourself and say into the micro what you think it should be in the target language.

You can always make notes as to where you're having trouble and revise it later.

I've been doing this for some months now as a way of evaluating just how competent I am as a translator.

It's certainly proved very useful in training both the speech recognition program and my brain!!!

Besides I like printed versions of books and am quite happy to sit and read without having to look at the screen for the original - I find it less tiring visually.

Having said that, I do find reading from a Kindle quite good, although the various typos take a bit of getting used to.


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Cristina Usón Calvo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
I mean... Mar 5, 2012



As far as I know, books are "manually" translated, without any CAT tool!!!!



I meant that having the electronic version (doc or pdf) would be great to use TRADOS for the translation. More comfortable, I think.

Anyway, Alison, I love your method!


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Tania Samsonova  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:35
Member (2007)
English to Russian
+ ...
Trados is completely useless in translation of fiction Apr 7, 2012

So, if the book to be translated is a work of fiction, I would suggest doing it like people did it in the Stone Age, i.e. by reading a sentence from the book and typing the translation into your computer. Unless the topic starter wanted to save some time by putting the soft copy of the book through Google Translate...

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Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:35
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm currently translating a novel Apr 7, 2012

It's been given to me in Word format but it still means going word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph... I really don't think it makes much difference whether the original is on paper or in an electronic format; the work goes on inside your brain!

I had planned to translate two pages a day but I admit I'm 30 pages off schedule! I thought that when I got further into the book, I would be able to make better progress but translating is definitely not the same as reading for enjoyment - although I admit I like the book!

There are other projects with strict deadlines that need to be done and I've discovered that if I want to produce a decent piece of work, I can't do more than a certain number of pages of the novel at a time.

If you're translating a novel, I wish you good luck. I'm sure all the effort involved will be worth it in the end.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:35
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Book scanning services Apr 7, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

Needless to say I didn't get those jobs and I don't think the projects went ahead because I think only Google Books, or major libraries, have the technology to automatically scan and OCR all the pages of a physical book.

You would need a machine like this: http://www.4digitalbooks.com or a bureau like this one: http://www.hollingworthmoss.co.uk/book-scanning.htm

Either way I think the scanning would cost lots of €€€€€ !

[Edited at 2012-03-05 10:48 GMT]


Actually, any number of commercial book scanning services will be happy to do it for a fee, and the prices are not outrageous.

For example:
http://www.blueleaf-book-scanning.com/


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:35
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Xerox, anyone? Apr 8, 2012

Tom in London wrote:
That is NOT a job that the translator should have to do, as using a home scanner it would take a month or more working full time, not doing any translating at all but going nuts scanning page after page after page.....no thanks!


A month?

At the university we had to have tons of materials photocopied, as the books we used then were pretty hard to get by then... If I dropped off the book at the beginning of a lecture, I could pick up the copied chapter after the lecture ended. So copying the whole book could not take more than a day (and I wasn't the only client there, obviously).

Now, if you have the book copied to single-sheet paper, you can just put it into a home scanner with page feeder (which is only slightly more expensive than a regular one) and use OCR software... Of course, there will be some typos, some pages might need repeating, but it should not take more than a few hours.

By the way, I do not believe a "translation program" (I am not sure what you mean by that - CAT or MT?) will be very helpful. There might be some advantages of using CAT for such a project, but it would require a disciplined and experienced translator.

[Edited at 2012-04-08 22:05 GMT]


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