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Translate useless information
Thread poster: Helena Diaz del Real

Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:41
German to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 14, 2012

Hi fellow colleagues,

When it comes to an official certification, issued by an administrative office, the paper usually contents useless information, such as the way to get to the office by public transportation or the business hours or bank data. I am completely sure, the officer in e.g. Bolivia will never, ever need this information, which by the way, uses to be as a marginal note on the right side of the paper (and takes more room as the whole rest of the text on the paper!).

An example: I have now a residence permit of a german individual in Germany (this person needs it to marry in an latinamerican country). The permit includes all relevant information, of course. But on the right side of the paper it's written the postal adress of the building (for the third time!), all kind of contact data, the business hours (including the days, e.g. Mo+Th from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM), public transportation (tramline XY, Stop AB; subway line YX, Stop XX,...) etc... And I really wonder if it is necesary to translate it as well and if you do it.

My question to you is: Do you translate it as well? Why?

Thank you very much for your answers!

All the best,
Helena


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:41
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I do Nov 14, 2012

Helena Diaz del Real wrote:

My question to you is: Do you translate it as well? Why?

Thank you very much for your answers!

All the best,
Helena


I recently had to translate a series of official documents relating to a collection of plots of land, which were issued by the official Land Registry and were required as the supporting documents for an important act of sale, to be carried out by a Notary.

Each of these documents had various bits of reference data overtyped in the margins, attesting to the date on which the document was requested, who requested it, Protocol numbers, etc.

Since my translations were required for legal purposes and therefore had to be complete, I also translated all these notes.

Where legal matters are involved (in this case involving many millions of €) I think it's important that all translations should be 100% complete- no matter how repetitive or seemingly unimportant.

This is because at some future point an issue may arise involving any one of these documents and if the translation is not complete, including references, dates, etc., this could be grounds for legal dispute.

[Edited at 2012-11-14 10:09 GMT]


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:41
Hebrew to English
Yes, translate them, no matter how pointless Nov 14, 2012

I've struggled with this too. I've always translated everything in the main body of text, including various things in margins, headers and footers etc. On occasion I did omit something I considered really pointless like the name and administrative number of the form (which is only meaningful to the office who issued the form and for whom the translation is not intended). Still, I got my knuckles rapped for that with the inquiry "Why isn't this translated?", so to avoid this, I just translate every single word now, no matter how irrelevant or pointless. They can always delete it at their own discretion (but I'll still charge for it!).

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Steven Segaert
Estonia
Local time: 13:41
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
What is useless? Nov 14, 2012

My philosophy is that it is not up to me to decide what is useless and what is not. I don't know all the future uses of the translation, so I always make sure everything is included in the translation - up to the information in a stamp.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:41
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Nov 14, 2012

In this kind of translation (sworn, official, certified), the translator attests that the target text is the legal true and accurate equivalent of the source text.

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Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:41
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much to all of you! Nov 14, 2012

Hello!
First of all, thank you very much for your answers!

Actually I also think, as Steven pointed out, that it is not me to decide what's important and what not. But many times I get it back from customer, crossed out and saying why do I translate it. And sometimes (quite a few) he complains because I charge for it.

Another point for me is, that the person who receives my translation should not need to know another language to understand all what is written on the paper. That's what are translators for, isn't it?

But do to the fact that I want to get paid for this as well, I wanted to know your opinion.

I thank you very much!

All the best,
Helena


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The recipient will see untranslated text Nov 14, 2012

Helena Diaz del Real wrote:
I am completely sure, the officer in e.g. Bolivia will never, ever need this information, which by the way, uses to be as a marginal note on the right side of the paper (and takes more room as the whole rest of the text on the paper!).


The officer in Bolivia will see that there is text on the original for which he can't find a translation on the translated version, and he will reject it because he has no idea what the untranslated text means. For all he knows, it may be something incriminating that the user is trying to hide.

Therefore, everything that exists on the source file must have an equivalent in the translation. Even if the source file contains text in the target language, you must retype it. Even if the source file contains text in both the source language and the target language, you must retype it and translate it (so it will occur twice, in other words).


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Françoise Vogel  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
English to French
+ ...
every single detail Nov 14, 2012

The final reader must be able to understand every single detail of the document, even what's printed on a stamp.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Part of the document Nov 14, 2012

Such details, and even preprinted bits of information like BLZ's, registry information, etc. are part of the document in my opinion. Unless you are specifically asked by your customer to leave it out, I would translate it too.

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Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:41
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I thank you all Nov 14, 2012

Hi Colleagues!
I thank you all for your thoughts and opinions.

I will do so in the future as welll.

All the best,
Helena


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xxxS P Willcock  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:41
German to English
+ ...
A particularly ripe example Nov 14, 2012

The first and only time I made this mistake was in an employment dossier - the end client had sent the agency lots of information, including a previous (part-time) contract of hers with a set of multiple-choice cross-boxes.

I translated all the relevant information about the job that she had been doing - the boxes which had been crossed - but left out the details of the various different jobs that she hadn't employed for, the hours she didn't work and the benefits she did not enjoy - about four-fifths of the whole.

The agency quite rightly brought me up short on this and demanded that I translate all the "irrelevant" information nevertheless. For which they duly paid me, of course.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:41
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I do Nov 14, 2012

I do translate everything that is on the front of the certificate but not any 'useless information', such as instructions or directions, that is printed on the back.

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NataliaAnne  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:41
Portuguese to English
Translate everything Nov 15, 2012

I always translate absolutely everything on certificates. As for general translations, the client has to let me know in advance if there are stamps, footnotes, references, tables or anything else that they don’t want me to translate; it’s no good complaining after the fact!

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juliette_K  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
French to Italian
+ ...
Seconded Nov 23, 2012

Steven Segaert wrote:

My philosophy is that it is not up to me to decide what is useless and what is not. I don't know all the future uses of the translation, so I always make sure everything is included in the translation - up to the information in a stamp.


Françoise Vogel wrote:


The final reader must be able to understand every single detail of the document, even what's printed on a stamp.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:41
Member (2008)
French to English
Everything Nov 23, 2012

Until everything is translated, the client won't know that it's useless information.

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