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Never read it through first!
Thread poster: James (Jim) Davis

James (Jim) Davis  Identity Verified
Seychelles
Local time: 18:22
Italian to English
Nov 2, 2012

I'm kicking myself with a translation, because I read it through first. I saw two difficult turns of phrase and the solutions just flashed in front of my eyes. Now that I am actually translating it, I can't remember the brilliant intuitions I had and I'm trying to invent the wheel again.
In the old days of the typewriter, if you didn't read it through first, or at least a couple of sentences ahead, you ended up with a pile of waste paper in the bin as you kept tearing up the sheet to rewrite it again. The recommended standard procedure was to read it through and take notes with pen and paper, before actually touching the keyboard.
Today, with a computer, my standard practice is to actually translate rather than take notes as I read it through for the first time, and then I go back over it, twice or even three times or more. Only very occasionally do I read ahead, when I can't make head or tail of something.
So how many people are working like me, and how many still follow the old fashioned ways?


[Edited at 2012-11-02 13:25 GMT]


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jlrsnyder  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:22
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Skim first Nov 2, 2012

I skim through an article to see what it's about and to decide if I want to accept it or not, but then I translate as I read. There is ample opportunity to correct misunderstandings on the second and third read-throughs.

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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Research Nov 2, 2012

I still print out the document and do research (paper dictionaries and internet) before I start to translate. I will either make notes on the paper (margins/interlinear) or if the document is long, I will start a paper glossary. As an alternative, I may write down the translation of a term along with a sequential number. In subsequent instances of that term, I only need to write the number and can easily find the translation I wrote on the previous pages (usually after a few instances, I have the translation memorized).

If the document is really long, once I get to a point in the document where I am having to look up very little, I stop reading and start translating, doing any remaining research as I go. If something is taking me a long time to figure out (clients fail to realize that we may spend DAYS searching for the right translation), I will type a "?" and come back to it later and often times the solution is obvious. It is as though your brain continues to work on the solution.

I was once asked to work on a team project where we were supposed to share an on-line TM as we translate (entering each segment as we go). The problem is that I may change a sentence 30-40 times over the course of the translation and I cannot finalize a segment until the very last draft, so there would be nothing to share with others until the project is done. I do not understand how people are supposed to translate segment by segment, enter this into the system as complete and then not need or be able to go back and make changes.


[Edited at 2012-11-02 14:53 GMT]


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:22
German to English
+ ...
Scribble furiously Nov 2, 2012

If I do have one of those flashes of brilliance while reading through the document, I always quickly write down that piece of brilliance in an "everything" paper notebook kept next to my keyboard - normally with a couple of keywords from the SL, because I *know* my little light bulbs do not shine brightly all the time.

Once I have the document all set up and I am actually translating, I enter the brilliant bits first, and then start at the beginning again. Sometimes the brilliant bits really do need hefty revision, but at least I have something to go on - and the satisfaction of shining my little light for a few milliseconds.


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Cedomir Pusica  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 16:22
Member (2009)
English to Serbian
+ ...
If short - read through, if long - skim Nov 2, 2012

This is what I normally do. I don't see a point in reading through a long document, really.

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 22:22
Chinese to English
Translate-as-you-go Nov 2, 2012

I'm very much in the translate-as-you-read camp. When the subject material is unfamiliar, or the writing is difficult, my first few paragraphs will often be hideously literal word-for-word roughs - more gloss than translation. As I get the idea and start to develop an appropriate style, it settles down a bit, and I start producing something I'd call a translation.

Then I'll come back and edit-with-source at least once, ideally two or three times; then take away the source and do the monolingual edit.

As for those flashes of brilliance: I've been in that situation a couple of times, and when I've managed to remember what the flashes were, I always find they weren't quite as brilliant as they seemed. You're better off without them!

Jeff Whitaker wrote:

I was once asked to work on a team project where we were supposed to share an on-line TM as we translate (entering each segment as we go). The problem is that I may change a sentence 30-40 times over the course of the translation and I cannot finalize a segment until the very last draft...

That's the way I work, too. It can get a bit embarrassing writing emails saying, sorry, don't use that version, I've changed it again...


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James (Jim) Davis  Identity Verified
Seychelles
Local time: 18:22
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
The procedure I follow Nov 2, 2012

Thanks everyone very interesting.
Over half of my work is financial, and it always tends to be extremely urgent (especially press releases) and I am usually totally familiar with the terminology so I don't even stop for breath really. However, I do translate other very different stuff (e.g. books on architecture) and I still follow the same procedure.
I work in Word using software similar to Trados 2007 workbench. I never print anything, not even invoices.

1)
I start translating immediately, and read each sentence through carefully twice after translating it. Then I spell check it in word and get the chance to read it through again. It then goes into the translation memory. The aim is to get it perfect first time, but if there is something I can't solve, then I leave it and don't waste too much time on it.
2)
Every hour or so I stop, while the source text is still fresh in my mind and check the source text against the target text.
3)
At the beginning of each day I read through the target text of everything translated the day before without looking at the source. I can usually remember it anyway. Oh I run perfectit on it before do the final read.
4) Deliver.

My TM on my computer updates everytime I make changes.
Clearly if there is a technical term I don't know, then in stage one everything stops until that problems is solved.

In the case in question, I had read just the beginning a few days ago, mentally translating it to get an idea of the difficulty and time it would take.

To Phil, I find that the "flashes" are good, but they are rare. I also find that if you don't put them down, you lose them. Paul McCartney said that the tune for the song "yesterday" came to him when he was in bed I think . Anyway he had to put it immediately to words, not the words we know, but just any words, because if he didn't put it to words he would forget the tune, lose it. I think it is the same sort of thing with my "flashes", except I'll never make millions from them.


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:22
Italian to English
Working document Nov 2, 2012

I always keep a separate Word document open when I'm translating, called "Working.docx", where I make a list of things to remember, notes to the client on cultural issues, mistakes in the source text, alternative translations of ambiguous terms, my sources for possibly contentious translations etc. etc. - and occasionally ideas I think I might forget.

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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Great idea Nov 2, 2012

Now that is an excellent idea! I do the same thing on paper, but somehow I always lose that piece of paper or forget to consult it before sending the translation, so having everything in one place on your computer is a great tip.

Russell Jones wrote:

I always keep a separate Word document open when I'm translating, called "Working.docx", where I make a list of things to remember, notes to the client on cultural issues, mistakes in the source text, alternative translations of ambiguous terms, my sources for possibly contentious translations etc. etc. - and occasionally ideas I think I might forget.


[Edited at 2012-11-02 17:13 GMT]


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:22
French to English
Notes Nov 2, 2012

Like Russell, I usually keep a "notes" file for each project, and I also do handwritten notes when I have those "flashes", usually at night, or first thing in the morning when I am not at the computer. If I don't write down the flashes, I forget them!

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James (Jim) Davis  Identity Verified
Seychelles
Local time: 18:22
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Log file Nov 2, 2012

Russell Jones wrote:
I always keep a separate Word document open when I'm translating, called "Working.docx", where I make a list of things to remember, notes to the client on cultural issues, mistakes in the source text, alternative translations of ambiguous terms, my sources for possibly contentious translations etc. etc. - and occasionally ideas I think I might forget.


I always keep a log file, where I can also note down anything I need to remember. I also make use of footnotes and comments in the target file.
Every hour I read through the last hours translation checking it against the source and the mark my progress in the log file by deleting the text translated in the log file which starts as a copy of the target text and then running a short word macro.


02 11 2012 - 17:24
Number of characters without spaces: 9086
Number of characters with spaces: 10622
Number of words: 1533
Number of paragraphs: 29

“... questi deve saper disegnare per rappresentare le forme del suo progetto, deve sapere di geometria così da tracciare correttamente le piante degli edifici, gli angoli dei muri e d...

This is the macro which is now very old, it began over 15 years ago I think as Word basic macro before visual basic came along. The first routine calls the first. Just copy and paste it should work
Public Sub log()
'
' log Macro
' Macro registrata il 29/06/2006 da James DAVIS
Dim atStart As Boolean

atStart = False
Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory, Extend:=wdExtend
If Selection.Characters.Count >= 2 Then Selection.Cut Else atStart = True
' Application.Run MacroName:="log_.MAIN"
sub_log
Selection.MoveUp Unit:=wdLine, Count:=1
If Not atStart Then Selection.PasteAndFormat (wdPasteDefault)
End Sub

Public Sub sub_log()
Selection.Font.Size = 12
Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceAfter = 0
Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceBefore = 0

'WordBasic.FormatFont Points:="12"

Selection.InsertAfter Chr(13)
Dim Today
Dim thedate
Dim mycharacters
Dim mycharactersSpaces
Dim myWords
Dim myParagraphs

Today = Now
' thedate = Day(Today) & "-" & Month(Today) & "-" & Year(Today) & " " & Hour(Today) & "." & Minute(Today)
thedate = Format(Now, "dd m yyyy - hh:mm")
Selection.InsertAfter thedate
' WordBasic.InsertDateTime DateTimePic:="gg/MM/aa H.mm", InsertAsField:=0
WordBasic.FileSummaryInfo Update:=1 'Aggiorna statistiche del documento
Dim dlg As Object: Set dlg = WordBasic.DialogRecord.DocumentStatistics(False) 'Crea un record di dialogo
WordBasic.CurValues.DocumentStatistics dlg 'Inserisce i valori nel record

mycharacters = Chr(13) & "Number of characters without spaces: " & (dlg.Characters - 14) & Chr(13)
mycharactersSpaces = "Number of characters with spaces: " & (ActiveDocument.Characters.Count - 20) & Chr(13)
myWords = "Number of words: " & (dlg.Words - 2) & Chr(13)
myParagraphs = "Number of paragraphs: " & (dlg.Paragraphs - 1) & Chr(13)

Selection.InsertAfter mycharacters
Selection.InsertAfter mycharactersSpaces
Selection.InsertAfter myWords
Selection.InsertAfter myParagraphs
' WordBasic.CurValues.DocumentStatistics dlg 'Inserisce i valori nel record
' WordBasic.Insert Chr(13) + "Numero di caratteri: " + dlg.Characters + Chr(13)
' WordBasic.Insert "Numero di parole: " + dlg.Words + Chr(13)
' WordBasic.Insert "Numero di paragrafi: " + dlg.Paragraphs + Chr(13)
' WordBasic.LineUp 4, 1
' WordBasic.FormatFont Points:=12







Rem .Parole Il numero di parole del documento (sola lettura).
Rem .Caratteri Il numero di caratteri del documento (sola lettura).
Rem .Paragrafi Il numero di paragrafi del documento (sola lettura).
Rem .NumeroRighe Il numero di righe del documento (sola lettura).


End Sub


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James (Jim) Davis  Identity Verified
Seychelles
Local time: 18:22
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Errors in the source text Nov 2, 2012

With financial reports on very tight deadlines, I often open an email and keep it open. I often translate the first draft of the report and jot down typos and queries or things like "Can I have the original excel file" and so on, so it is all ready to send, when there is a sizeable chunk, instead of 15 emails for 15 typos. I don't just do this with financial reports though. In outlook for office and in most mail programmes you can save draft copies of emails.

On the subject of the log file, that is incredibly useful if you have long term relations with clients and repeat translations. Just yesterday a client mailed saying their X report would be about the same as last year, and how long would it take me to do. I just opened the log files for the translation and saw that exactly how long it had taken me to do.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:22
Italian to English
Inspirational solutions Nov 2, 2012

When your source texts have a fairly literary bent, the fantastic "inspirational solutions" that suggest themselves may not be entirely appropriate - grammatically, syntactically or simply thematically - for the specific context. But they do often come in useful somewhere else.

I tuck my inspirations away - on the fly, if I'm already translating - in a bucket MultiTerm (other CATs are available) glossary that I can tack onto any non-technical project I create.

As for reading the source through before translation, well yes, I do skim through everything, mainly to identify themes that will lend cohesion to the text. For books and other lengthy projects, I find it useful to translate a few pages before I accept or reject proposals.


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James (Jim) Davis  Identity Verified
Seychelles
Local time: 18:22
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Speak for your own inspirations Giles, Nov 2, 2012

mine are always right on the nail. But seriously, this is curious because you are the second person to say this. Having studied psychology, this sort of thing fascinates me. I think we are looking at two closely related, but separate phenomena here. One is known as TOT phenomena, Tip of the Tongue phenomena. You know the word you need, because you have used it frequently, but it just won't come. An example recently was a kudoz question I answered with picnic lunch. I knew it wasn't quite right, but the right answer "packed lunch" just wouldn't come.
The other phenomenon is the eureka moment, the flash of brilliance. This for me usually happens with those old chestnuts where the word or turn of phrase in the source text has no direct synonym (at times not even a near synonym) in the target language and you keep thinking and thinking and nothing comes, until suddenly Ahh Eureka. With other types of problems, especially computer programming, which involve complex trains of logic, I do have Eureka moments and then discover the answer is a dead end. With language and the "old chestnut" problems that doesn't tend to happen to me. I'm thinking of those eureka moments you had when you learnt the tricks of the trade years ago. For example the first time you realised that if there is no way to translating well in the positive with for example "too complicated", you could always try and turn it round using the antonym and say "not simple enough". They don't happen to me often these days, but language is vast...

With literary texts, or art texts, I find the problem is usually solved not with a flash of genious, but by thinking your way into the mind of the author and what he is trying to express, what he is thinking and then just think the same thing in the target language, while totally forgetting the source text, which is more of an algorithmic than a heuristic process.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:22
Italian to English
TOT-ally different from AITB Nov 3, 2012

James (Jim) Davis wrote:

I think we are looking at two closely related, but separate phenomena here. One is known as TOT phenomena, Tip of the Tongue phenomena.



Agree entirely.

Tip-of-the-tongue cruxes resolve themselves when you arrive at a word or phrase you already knew and think "That's right".



The other phenomenon is the eureka moment, the flash of brilliance.



Exactly.

The standard reaction to these Archimedes-in-the-bath moments is "That's fantastic" because you have never explicitly made the connection before.

And since the connection between the source phrase and the version that popped into your head is often quite tangential, you're probably best advised not to use it, if only because its brilliance may throw excessive focus onto a relatively unimportant part of the discourse.



[Edited at 2012-11-03 08:17 GMT]


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