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Why do YOU translate into a non-native language?
投稿者: TranslationCe

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
英国
Local time: 14:18
2014に入会
日本語 から 英語
Wonderful Feb 19, 2016

Richard Purdom wrote:
Result: 3 X as much work offered s I can take on, no haggling over price, no rubbishy pdfs, no night/weekend work, just endless income!

Right, I'm there! A few months of self-study, hop over for a summer somewhere pleasant in the Netherlands to get up to speed, back to the UK for more study, start freelancing in NL-EN this time next year! It sounds like English and it's written in Latin script - how hard can it be?!

I enjoyed the description of Patrick Leigh Fermor walking across the country in a snowy winter in 1935. All polders and canals and skaters. The bit I've seen - Rotterdam, the Hague, Amsterdam - appears to have changed a little since then...

Dan


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
米国
Local time: 09:18
2005に入会
英語 から 中国語
+ ...
The types of the documents I translate into my non-native language Feb 19, 2016

1) Clinical trial documents;
2) Finance documents;
3) Medical reports;
4) Legal documents (assigned by both law firms and district attorneys' offices).

I think listing these out would indirectly help the OP with her original question.

[Edited at 2016-02-19 20:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-02-19 21:28 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-02-19 22:50 GMT]


 

MollyRose  Identity Verified
米国
Local time: 08:18
2010に入会
英語 から スペイン語
+ ...
It's much easier than into my native language Feb 19, 2016

I have a LOT more experience translating into Spanish than from Spanish to English. I think more in En to Sp than the other way around. When I studied Spanish (and continue to learn), it is mostly "how do I say this (English) thing in Spanish?" and not in the opposite direction. So my mental focus is in that direction rather than how to say this Spanish word or phrase in English (although it would be helpful for me to do that, too).

When I was offered an interview for the job I h
... See more
I have a LOT more experience translating into Spanish than from Spanish to English. I think more in En to Sp than the other way around. When I studied Spanish (and continue to learn), it is mostly "how do I say this (English) thing in Spanish?" and not in the opposite direction. So my mental focus is in that direction rather than how to say this Spanish word or phrase in English (although it would be helpful for me to do that, too).

When I was offered an interview for the job I have now (translation specialist at the school board of a large school district), I was given a translation test and also a test to correct somebody else's errors. About 35 other people had already applied and taken the test, and almost all were native Spanish speakers. But I was the one who got the job because I did better on the tests than they did.

I will mention, though, that I now have a coworker who has 2 native languages (raised with Spanish at home and also English). We both do translations and check each other's work, and this has helped both of us to improve. About 99% of our written translations are from English to Spanish.

Also, whenever I do a translation into Spanish as freelance work, I usually have a native speaker check it for me (unless I am SURE it's ok).

Edited to add: Until they hired another Spanish translator to work with me, a native Spanish speaker checked my work. So I learned a lot with Track Changes! Now there are not many suggested changes, and many of the documents are returned with no changes or a reply that my translation is just fine.

[Edited at 2016-02-19 23:55 GMT]
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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
ポーランド
Local time: 15:18
英語 から ポーランド語
+ ...
... Feb 20, 2016

Erik Freitag wrote:

Dan Lucas wrote:

Ideally there would be a kind of Turing test for translators. If I'm shown a text in English, without knowing the nationality of the translator, and it is accurate, and nothing jumps out at me as being odd or unidiomatic - well, it's probably good enough, right?


Not necessarily. Apart from the fact that this is a circular argument (because you would have to pass that Turing test yourself before qualifying as a judge, just like the person who judges your Turing test etc. pp), you will only be able to judge the monolingual quality of text, not the quality of the translation.


A similar argument could be made against the exclusion of native speakers of the source language. In fact, you make it below, sort of:

In Kudoz questions, I have seen translators whom I regard highly and who are doubtlessly able to produce flawless texts in their target language completely fail to understand nuances or even the core meaning of their source text.


Translation involves two languages, not one. Correct or idiomatic expression in the target language is not somehow more important than comprehension of the source, unlike what universities and agencies producing and hiring thousands of translators who are intermediate or advanced learners of their source languages would have you believe.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
中国
Local time: 21:18
中国語 から 英語
Best thread evah! Feb 20, 2016

I've translated into L2 as part of an interpreting gig that turned into more general onsite language support. I've never offered it as a separate translation service mainly because I'm slow, but also because it's not the best work I can do. I know Misha excluded Chinese when he asked his question, but I'll offer an answer anyway: I win prizes for my translations into English; I don't think that would happen for translations into Chinese. (I've tried! I did a couple of Proz contests into Chinese,... See more
I've translated into L2 as part of an interpreting gig that turned into more general onsite language support. I've never offered it as a separate translation service mainly because I'm slow, but also because it's not the best work I can do. I know Misha excluded Chinese when he asked his question, but I'll offer an answer anyway: I win prizes for my translations into English; I don't think that would happen for translations into Chinese. (I've tried! I did a couple of Proz contests into Chinese, and didn't do very well. There's something about written Chinese style that I haven't grasped yet, but I'll be damned if I can work out what it is...)

I do think that British language learning is just terrible, and I don't think we have any right at all to bitch about translators working into L2, particularly when the L2 in question is English. But I remain convinced that there is something distinctive about a native language, and that that distinctiveness is relevant to translation.

I also don't think that source-native translators make fewer comprehension errors.

@Dan: my interpreting teacher used to look askance at French-English simultaneous interpreters. Having learned every trick under the sun to make C-E simultaneous work, he'd listen to them following basically similar sentence patterns, half the words cognates, and almost no cultural knowledge gaps to negotiate, and gently fulminate. Don't know they're born, some people...
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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
英国
Local time: 14:18
2014に入会
日本語 から 英語
I know, I know... Feb 20, 2016

Phil Hand wrote:
@Dan: my interpreting teacher used to look askance at French-English simultaneous interpreters. Having learned every trick under the sun to make C-E simultaneous work, he'd listen to them following basically similar sentence patterns, half the words cognates, and almost no cultural knowledge gaps to negotiate, and gently fulminate. Don't know they're born, some people...

Oh yes, an experience every CJK specialist has had at one time or another...

Dan


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
英国
Local time: 14:18
2005に入会
ドイツ語 から 英語
+ ...
Proof and pudding Feb 20, 2016

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:
To me, the proof of the pudding is in the eating....
Well, that is the correct expression, unlike what I sometimes hear from native English speakers (not translators) who say "The proof is in the pudding". In other words (probably already well known), being a native speaker of English is neither necessary nor sufficient to guarantee good written English (but it probably increases the probability if not much else is known about that person).


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
デンマーク
Local time: 15:18
2003に入会
デンマーク語 から 英語
+ ...
I think studying the language makes quite a difference Feb 20, 2016

I have to admit, humbly, that I have learnt a lot of English from Danes.

I could no doubt have learnt a lot of it from studying in the UK, but I happened to take my translation diploma in Denmark, so that is where it came up.

Although I am not musical, I think it is a little like the difference between just 'playing it by ear' and actually learning to read music, knowing something about the composer and the genre, and all the other things that happen before you can turn
... See more
I have to admit, humbly, that I have learnt a lot of English from Danes.

I could no doubt have learnt a lot of it from studying in the UK, but I happened to take my translation diploma in Denmark, so that is where it came up.

Although I am not musical, I think it is a little like the difference between just 'playing it by ear' and actually learning to read music, knowing something about the composer and the genre, and all the other things that happen before you can turn professional.

Native speakers play their language by ear, and you DO need a good language ear to write any language. I have studied English far more than I have studied Danish, which I picked up 'on the street' and in daily life after a few months of basic 'Danish for immigrants'. I still play it by ear most of the time. I have studied it, but not nearly as much as English.

When I am working, I am busy analysing the language, looking for correct terminology, searching the thesaurus or parallel texts to get the tone and register right... I can do it with English, but not to the same extent with Danish.

Immersion alone is not always enough, although it is an important part of the training. That is why some translators at least can translate very well into their foreign language. I don't have enough formal training, so even though I feel totally at home in my 'foreign' language for most purposes, I prefer to leave it to the professionals when a client is paying for a professional job.

I came to translation late, and maybe if I had been 30 or 40 instead of nearly 50, I would have taken the leap, but as it is, I never will.



[Edited at 2016-02-20 20:02 GMT]
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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
米国
Local time: 09:18
2005に入会
英語 から 中国語
+ ...
To those who are strongly against translating into their non-native languages Feb 21, 2016

In the USA, in virtually every university there is a substantial percentage of people on their teaching staff who are not native English speakers. If your reasoning about not translating into one's non-native language always holds true, don't you think their non-English native professors should not teach in English? Or shall we send a petition to every university asking them to remove all of their non-English native teaching staff?


[Edited at 2016-02-21 09:57 GMT]


MatthewLaSon
 

Vesa Korhonen  Identity Verified
フィンランド
Local time: 16:18
英語 から フィンランド語
+ ...
The conclusion of this.... Feb 21, 2016

...discussion appears very much to be that it is impossible do translation work at all.

But before I stop, allow me 10 mins to complete this technical document from my native language to my 2nd language:

"Press button 1 to turn on motor 1."
"Press button 2 to turn on motor 2."
"Press the Stop-button to stop motors 1 and 2."

Done!


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
2003に入会
フランス語 から イタリア語
+ ...
:) Feb 21, 2016

Vesa Korhonen wrote:

...discussion appears very much to be that it is impossible do translation work at all.

But before I stop, allow me 10 mins to complete this technical document from my native language to my 2nd language:

"Press button 1 to turn on motor 1."
"Press button 2 to turn on motor 2."
"Press the Stop-button to stop motors 1 and 2."

Done!


Brilliant!


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
フランス
Local time: 15:18
2018に入会
フランス語 から 英語
professors Feb 21, 2016

jyuan_us wrote:

In the USA, in virtually every university there is a substantial percentage of people on their teaching staff who are not native English speakers. If your reasoning about not translating into one's non-native language always holds true, don't you think their non-English native professors should not teach in English? Or shall we send a petition to every university asking them to remove all of their non-English native teaching staff?


[Edited at 2016-02-21 09:57 GMT]


good point. I reckon that if you ask the native-speaking students, they'd prefer a native speaker even if they admire the knowledge level or teaching skills of the non-native speaking teacher. I'm pretty sure no foreigner would be hired unless their language skills are fit for purpose, i.e. they speak well enough to explain equations and economic theory.

My yoga teachers have always been either French or Indian, then a year or so ago I joined a class with a Brazilian teacher. It always takes time to get used to a new teacher, in that they each have their own way of expressing themselves, but the learning curve was that much steeper because this Brazilian teacher had virtually no conjugation skills.

I just recently dropped that class for another, because I find it more interesting in terms of where I want to go in yoga. It's so much more relaxing to listen to a French teacher speaking his own language instead of trying to decipher a thick accent and ungrammatical stuff. So I can concentrate more fully on my breathing and which muscles are supposed to be relaxed.

I'll admit to being particularly sensitive to linguistic problems, it is probably just the down side to being able to understand and produce finely-crafted prose. I read recently that despite finding the content interesting, most people leave a website after encountering about 5 spelling mistakes. They are not necessarily even aware of that, they just get a vague impression that the author isn't really reliable. So I think I'm just that much more aware of the reason why I find it hard going listening to a foreigner massacre a language I love.

Getting back to the university professor, even if his English is atrocious, his authoritative book on the subject he teaches will have undergone some serious editing to make his prose palatable to his readership.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
英国
Local time: 14:18
2014に入会
日本語 から 英語
Some can be very good Feb 21, 2016

Texte Style wrote:
good point. I reckon that if you ask the native-speaking students, they'd prefer a native speaker even if they admire the knowledge level or teaching skills of the non-native speaking teacher.

I think the absolute level of linguistic ability of the non-native teacher is important.

Among the faculty at my university were two professors from Europe who spoke English that was functionally equivalent to that of a native speaker.

I seem to remember that although one had absolutely no problems with self-expression (even when discussing complex ideas) she did have a slight accent. Still, it was not remotely enough to cause problems of comprehension for a listener.

In this particular case, the fact that they were non-native speakers was simply never an issue. This may be rare.

Dan


 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
米国
Local time: 06:18
英語 から スペイン語
... Feb 21, 2016

Angie Garbarino wrote:

Vesa Korhonen wrote:

...discussion appears very much to be that it is impossible do translation work at all.

But before I stop, allow me 10 mins to complete this technical document from my native language to my 2nd language:

"Press button 1 to turn on motor 1."
"Press button 2 to turn on motor 2."
"Press the Stop-button to stop motors 1 and 2."

Done!


Brilliant!


Would anybody consider this "technical"?


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
米国
Local time: 08:18
2008に入会
クロアチア語 から 英語
+ ...
Back-translations? Feb 21, 2016

Last year a client asked me to back-translate a clinical trial document from English into German. They admitted that specifically seeking a non-native translator was extremely unorthodox, but justified the request by insisting that, in this case, having a native understanding of the source outweighed any flaws that may arise due to non-native writing ability. I still declined - even though I could probably have cobbled together a mostly comprehensible German text without any critical mistransla... See more
Last year a client asked me to back-translate a clinical trial document from English into German. They admitted that specifically seeking a non-native translator was extremely unorthodox, but justified the request by insisting that, in this case, having a native understanding of the source outweighed any flaws that may arise due to non-native writing ability. I still declined - even though I could probably have cobbled together a mostly comprehensible German text without any critical mistranslations, it would have taken far too long be worthwhile.
I still struck me very odd, though. It's the only request of that type I can recall ever receiving.
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