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Linguaholic

Styling of a translation


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The translation, like many transformation steps where you transform something from one form into another form, is not an easy science when you want an exact result. After all, many things can be bundled and "added" to the translation step, and the definition of translation depends of the person wanting it and doing it. That's the basic problem.
For example, you can try to correct the mistakes from the original text. But really, should you? Should you correct the typos, the broken grammar? Or should you try to imitate it, and perhaps receiving backfire because some may think the translator is unskilled meanwhile you are just following the original text? Should the translator have a style, or only do the work but just better than automated translation, but otherwise exactly as automated translation (without trying to put any style inside)?

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I personally would do the corrections in the other language that I was translating to. I wouldn't alter the original text unless I was able to speak to the author before hand and explain the situation. When you receive a text to translate, you very often don't really know what the back story is. So if you receive a text with typos and broken grammar you might not be able to tell if it was done intentionally or that the author of the text simply isn't that knowledgeable of the language and is a poor typist.

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I think it depends on the writer.  You should be as close to the intent of the writer as possible.  If the writer wants the mistakes fixed, go ahead and fix them.  Try to preserve as much of the style as possible. 

Then you should, somehow, understand when the typos are voluntary and part of the text, and when it is not. This implies somehow you have a good understanding of the text. I find this is an hard point. After all, you say yourself it's about conveying the meaning of the writer. But the writer's style is maybe also about its mistakes and the fact he's not writing perfectly, eh?

I personally would do the corrections in the other language that I was translating to. I wouldn't alter the original text unless I was able to speak to the author before hand and explain the situation. When you receive a text to translate, you very often don't really know what the back story is. So if you receive a text with typos and broken grammar you might not be able to tell if it was done intentionally or that the author of the text simply isn't that knowledgeable of the language and is a poor typist.

Do you think the actual translator has a lot of contact with the author? I mean, translations is often managed by a team with conditions, but I doubt a lonely translator can contact the author and ask him the question.

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Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

^ If not the author whoever contacted the translator should be open to receive appropriately answer the doubts the translator might have. 
_________

I think this is why it is important to first read the whole thing before jumping to translate it. Those typos may be intentional to separate a character or to drive a punchline that won't work without it. If reading the whole thing you have the impression the typos were not intentional, I think it is okay to correct them. If you want to be on the safe side, you can contact the writer so they can know. Maybe they had no editor in the original text so he or she might not even be aware they are there.

I agree when translating you must respect as much as possible the writers style but in order to do that you need to understand it. So don't jump the gun, read the whole thing, research a bit, ask. That's how I think is a good idea to handle it.

Edited by Kaynil
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^ If not the author whoever contacted the translator should be open to receive appropriately answer the doubts the translator might have. 
_________

I think this is why it is important to first read the whole thing before jumping to translate it. Those typos may be intentional to separate a character or to drive a punchline that won't work without it. If reading the whole thing you have the impression the typos were not intentional, I think it is okay to correct them. If you want to be on the safe side, you can contact the writer so they can know. Maybe they had no editor in the original text so he or she might not even be aware they are there.

I agree when translating you must respect as much as possible the writers style but in order to do that you need to understand it. So don't jump the gun, read the whole thing, research a bit, ask. That's how I think is a good idea to handle it.

If you have the time. Okay, I always tend to emit concerns about everything and feel like they might go wrong. But still. You have to get some time to finish a book and to understand it. Not so much, but a bit. And if more translators are chosen, it is to split up the time to translate, and if you include reading, well, you can't split the time of reading the text. That's the little efficiency problem here.

Otherwise, I agree. But how much time is reasonable for a translation? That question can be asked as well, and will tell clearly the expectations about the quality, after all.

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Do you think the actual translator has a lot of contact with the author? I mean, translations is often managed by a team with conditions, but I doubt a lonely translator can contact the author and ask him the question.

It depends, I have experienced both cases, both having contact with the author and not. Most of the time you won't have contact with the author and unless you have some knowledge of the area that you are translating you are going to have double the work. It is near impossible to translate something that you don't understand. I experienced this when I had to translate a medical publication which I had very little knowledge of. On the other hand I have translated some CVs with the author next to me.

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It depends, I have experienced both cases, both having contact with the author and not. Most of the time you won't have contact with the author and unless you have some knowledge of the area that you are translating you are going to have double the work. It is near impossible to translate something that you don't understand. I experienced this when I had to translate a medical publication which I had very little knowledge of. On the other hand I have translated some CVs with the author next to me.

I think it's obvious you can't translate what you can't understand, since the translation process is the following: you read the English text, you get the meaning and intent, you write it in another language. There's an intermediate "language" not for nothing here: it's for focusing not on the words so much, but rather on what it means. Now, I think that if you can understand the meaning without understanding all the implications, I think you can go ahead and translate it. Much like when you know correctly the "law language" but you don't especially know what it implies behind a law.I think it's obvious you can't translate what you can't understand, since the translation process is the following: you read the English text, you get the meaning and intent, you write it in another language. There's an intermediate "language" not for nothing here: it's for focusing not on the words so much, but rather on what it means. Now, I think that if you can understand the meaning without understanding all the implications, I think you can go ahead and translate it. Much like when you know correctly the "law language" but you don't especially know what it implies behind a law.

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I think it's obvious you can't translate what you can't understand, since the translation process is the following: you read the English text, you get the meaning and intent, you write it in another language. There's an intermediate "language" not for nothing here: it's for focusing not on the words so much, but rather on what it means. Now, I think that if you can understand the meaning without understanding all the implications, I think you can go ahead and translate it. Much like when you know correctly the "law language" but you don't especially know what it implies behind a law.I think it's obvious you can't translate what you can't understand, since the translation process is the following: you read the English text, you get the meaning and intent, you write it in another language. There's an intermediate "language" not for nothing here: it's for focusing not on the words so much, but rather on what it means. Now, I think that if you can understand the meaning without understanding all the implications, I think you can go ahead and translate it. Much like when you know correctly the "law language" but you don't especially know what it implies behind a law.

Very true, normally the best approach for a situation like that would be to translating phrase by phrase. At the end of the paragraph, you should read it to make sure it makes sense in the language that you have translated too and once more right at the end when everything has been translated. Even though you might not grasp the concept completely, linguistically it should be sound and there shouldn't be any doubts to who reads the translated text. When it comes to technical terms, you will just have to hunt down their meanings.

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