How to get a handle on Spanish-language university transcripts
Thread poster: Reed James

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 17:15
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 12, 2016

Hello. Recently, I have been assigned to translate a good number of university transcripts. Though I quite like translating this sort of document because they are fairly predictable and you can work from templates to make the work go faster, there are almost always abbreviations that take a lot of research (and hence time). My goal is to gain an overall understanding of the university systems in the countries whose transcripts I most frequently translate: Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Argentina. There are some explanations of the education systems in some of these countries in Wikipedia. That's a start…But I was wondering if there are more resources out there. Ideally I would like to have a look at a real transcript, explained in detail, step-by-step. I don't know if that's something that's readily available, but I would appreciate any resources you could recommend. Thanks!

 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
. Apr 12, 2016

The KudoZ glossary has a lot of the abbreviations. But I don't think you're going to find real transcripts explained step by step, because each institution uses different formats and conventions.

 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:15
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with Phil Apr 12, 2016

I've done a good deal of such work myself, although I cannot say that I particularly enjoy it, given the formatting involved and, as Reed points out, the deciphering of abbreviations.

Still, these negatives are often offset by the fact that such work does typically come from direct clients (usually persons seeking certified English translations of the material in order to apply for credentials in their profession in the U.S.

It is of course always possible to ask the person whose records are in question what abbreviations stand for. This is something that they usually remember.


 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 17:15
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The difference between getting a KudoZ answer and knowing the general context Apr 13, 2016

Of course I have resorted to KudoZ questions/answers. They can usually get you out of a bind, though some of them don't fit the context or are in UK English.

Unfortunately, Robert, I usually work for agencies with tight turnarounds.

I think it's better to have an overview of the subject beforehand. After all, I have a rough idea of courses, grades and credits in the US system, I don't see why I couldn't of their equivalents in Spain and Latin America. Sometimes what matters more than a translation of these concepts is a firm grasp of what they actually are in Spanish.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:15
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Evaluating Transcripts Apr 13, 2016

This pdf may help: http://bit.ly/25YIPAX

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Live and learn Apr 13, 2016

Anecdotally, I had to google "transcript" to find out what this post was about ("In United States education, a transcript is a copy of a student's permanent academic record"). I've never come across this usage before and assumed it just meant "a written record of spoken language", for example in court cases. I recently had to transcr¡be a company promo video with Spanish speakers talking in English and it took me ages...

Now that I know what it's about, all I can say is that I usually find educational qualifications a pain to translate, mainly because of the many different systems and conventions existing. And on the rare occasions that I am asked to translate academic CVs, my heart sinks a little, because I know I'm going to come across time-consuming imponderables.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:15
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I've often thought that... Apr 13, 2016

...between all the translators in the world, we could put together a database of translation templates (data removed) for school transcript documents (and other personal documents like birth certificates, etc.) and charge a small fee to access the database (you get access credits for submitting documents). Fees would go towards maintenance. But then I snap out of it because not only would the quality be all over the place, our rates would only be reduced accordingly for all the "matches".

 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good idea, Legal/Transform Apr 13, 2016

That would be something an entrepreneurial translator could take on as a small business. Start, as you say, by trading future access for contributions (and reviews-proofreading of contributions). Password protect the site. Then, once a data base is built, start charging a couple of dollars for the templates/sample translations. The end clients wouldn't know the data base exists, so they would have no reason to lower rates.

[Edited at 2016-04-13 20:31 GMT]


 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 17:15
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes but... Apr 13, 2016

Jessica Noyes wrote:

The end clients wouldn't know the data base exists, so they would have no reason to lower rates.

[Edited at 2016-04-13 20:31 GMT]


Wouldn't you be disclosing personal data? Or would you take the time to change names, dates, etc.?


 


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