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Why do YOU translate into a non-native language?
Autor wątku: TranslationCe

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bośnia i Hercegowina
Local time: 20:26
angielski > chorwacki
+ ...
Target audience. Feb 19, 2016

English has specifics in terms of target audience (global) or native (UK, US, Australia).

Say if a translation/copy is being prepared for a group of professionals for a conference (international group), do you really believe they will care or have any clues about nuances and tone (in native terms)?

Of course if it's targeted at native audience then it's highly relevant (also the variant is relevant, US, UK, etc). No US consumer will want to read UK English on their prod
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English has specifics in terms of target audience (global) or native (UK, US, Australia).

Say if a translation/copy is being prepared for a group of professionals for a conference (international group), do you really believe they will care or have any clues about nuances and tone (in native terms)?

Of course if it's targeted at native audience then it's highly relevant (also the variant is relevant, US, UK, etc). No US consumer will want to read UK English on their products, and the other way round.
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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 19:26
Członek ProZ.com
od 2014

japoński > angielski
How else to assess if not with native readers? Feb 19, 2016

Erik Freitag wrote:
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.

I was assuming (a priori) that the judge/s would be an educated native speaker of English. As for accuracy, I was not suggesting that we do not get to see the source as well as a target; accuracy would also have to be checked.

To put it another way, if we take a translation, already checked for accuracy, and put it front of 100 randomly chosen native speakers of English, and if x% (95%?) indicate that they see nothing wrong with the English, then for real-world purposes the quality of the English output must be considered adequate.

Providing that the accuracy had been proven acceptable, what other test could be more apposite than "trial by target readership"? Ultimately, such people are the reason that translation exists.

Like you, I never translate into my source language and as I said I think using "native target speakers" as a rule of thumb is wise. But some non-natives are probably "good enough".

Regards
Dan


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
szwedzki > angielski
+ ...
FFS Feb 19, 2016

I've checked plenty of test translations by non-natives who misunderstood the source text.

Just goes to show it's all individual.

There will be non-natives who are brilliant but also natives who are brilliant, and the natives will be slightly more brilliant, but most translators of both persuasions are mediocre-to-crap and most clients are too ignorant to know or too jaded to care.

Back on topic, I think the OP was wondering more why some people translate b
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I've checked plenty of test translations by non-natives who misunderstood the source text.

Just goes to show it's all individual.

There will be non-natives who are brilliant but also natives who are brilliant, and the natives will be slightly more brilliant, but most translators of both persuasions are mediocre-to-crap and most clients are too ignorant to know or too jaded to care.

Back on topic, I think the OP was wondering more why some people translate between *two* non-native languages, which has to be the worst of both worlds. For the money, I would presume.
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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Niemcy
Local time: 20:26
Członek ProZ.com
od 2006

niderlandzki > niemiecki
+ ...
Agree Feb 19, 2016

Dan Lucas wrote:

I think using "native target speakers" as a rule of thumb is wise. But some non-natives are probably "good enough".



Agree, on both accounts!

[Edited at 2016-02-19 09:41 GMT]


 

Tom in London
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 19:26
Członek ProZ.com
od 2008

włoski > angielski
This can be a life or death matter Feb 19, 2016

There is "....concern about the quality of English spoken in cockpits. Low-cost airlines are looking increasingly far afield to recruit crew, who routinely speak English as a second or third language."

"Air traffic controllers at Heathrow airport failed to understand two distress calls from an Italian airliner carrying 104 people because the pilot's English pronunciation was poor."

http:/
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There is "....concern about the quality of English spoken in cockpits. Low-cost airlines are looking increasingly far afield to recruit crew, who routinely speak English as a second or third language."

"Air traffic controllers at Heathrow airport failed to understand two distress calls from an Italian airliner carrying 104 people because the pilot's English pronunciation was poor."

http://tinyurl.com/hdwzuw7
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Holandia
Local time: 20:26
Członek ProZ.com
od 2006

angielski > afrikaans
+ ...
@Mirko Feb 19, 2016

Mirko Mainardi wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
From a strictly theoretical point of view, my personal opinion is that translating from your native language makes more sense than translating into it...

But ... how can you be 100% sure you'll be able to render anything and everything from your native language into that very same second language (especially with the same naturalness, nuances, tone, subtleties, wordplays, etc.)?


Oh, you can't, but that is normal in translation.

The target text is never a perfect equivalent of the source text, particularly with regard to nuances and subtleties. In all translations, the translator has to decide what is more important: the meaning of the source text or the naturalness of the target text. I believe that in most cases, it is more important that the intended meaning of the source text is communicated accurately.

If the source text contains an idiomatic expression that the source non-native translator is unaware of, he might translate it literally. Or, he might suspect that it has figurative meaning, but then guess (based on the context and his limited knowledge of the source language) incorrectly what that meaning is. A source native translator is less likely to make such a mistake.


MollyRose
 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Niemcy
Local time: 20:26
niemiecki > angielski
If they're art historians, they'll care a lot Feb 19, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

Say if a translation/copy is being prepared for a group of professionals for a conference (international group), do you really believe they will care or have any clues about nuances and tone (in native terms)?



Obviously it varies a lot according to the field, but if you read the secondary literature in the humanities in any language, it will quickly become apparent that most authors (and all good translators) invest enormous amounts of time in the intellectual and stylistic quality of their writing. Form and content have more or less equal status and a large portion (or possibly most) academics in the humanities have a very nuanced passive grasp of English. There is also a large market that is willing to pay good money for this kind of quality.

Chris S wrote:

There will be non-natives who are brilliant but also natives who are brilliant, and the natives will be slightly more brilliant, but most translators of both persuasions are mediocre-to-crap and most clients are too ignorant to know or too jaded to care.



That's exactly how I see it, but there is also a pool of informed and concerned clients available in any field and language combination that is large enough to keep at least a few (and usually dozens) of good freelancers busy.
With rare exceptions, the only clients fixated exclusively on a translator's native language are mediocre-to-crap agencies (which is not to say that translation agencies which don't even care about that are not even worse).

[Offending post deleted.]

[Edited at 2016-02-19 13:31 GMT]


 

Tom in London
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 19:26
Członek ProZ.com
od 2008

włoski > angielski
Anything else? Feb 19, 2016

Michael Wetzel wrote:


PS: Tom forgot to mention that he lived in Italy for over a decade before moving back to the UK in his catalogue (major deficits in source-language comprehension are a real danger).


I did not move back to the UK in my catalogue (whatever that is). I drove all the way in my car.

By the way it wasn't a decade. It was more than 20 years. I still go to Italy all the time and am in daily contact with Italy and Italians, in Italian. I've just been on the phone for 20 minutes talking to someone in Milan.

Now: is there anything else I forgot to mention? You seem to know a lot about what's in my mind.



[Edited at 2016-02-19 10:14 GMT]


 

TonyTK
niemiecki > angielski
+ ...
And what's your conclusion? Feb 19, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

There is "....concern about the quality of English spoken in cockpits. Low-cost airlines are looking increasingly far afield to recruit crew, who routinely speak English as a second or third language."

"Air traffic controllers at Heathrow airport failed to understand two distress calls from an Italian airliner carrying 104 people because the pilot's English pronunciation was poor."

http://tinyurl.com/hdwzuw7


... That Johnny Foreigner shouldn't be allowed to fly planes?


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Dania
Local time: 20:26
Członek ProZ.com
od 2003

duński > angielski
+ ...
Translating 'the other way' has a long history Feb 19, 2016

I trained with Danes who were training to translate in both directions, partly because it is a very good exercise, and partly because in Law in particular and many technical fields, there simply are not going to be enough English natives to meet the need.

My father was a bible translator among other things - working in two languages aquired in adult life. Of course, the final version was always group work, and my father was very proud when a few of his students were able to take ove
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I trained with Danes who were training to translate in both directions, partly because it is a very good exercise, and partly because in Law in particular and many technical fields, there simply are not going to be enough English natives to meet the need.

My father was a bible translator among other things - working in two languages aquired in adult life. Of course, the final version was always group work, and my father was very proud when a few of his students were able to take over from him as the experts on New Testament Greek, translating into their native language.

Down the centuries, bible translators have done a lot of pioneering - some actually wrote down languages that had no written form, and compiled the dictionaries before they could start work on the bible itself.

People translating for all sorts of other reasons - trade and travel - have often been in the situation where the speakers of the source language had to do the translation. It's nothing new.

Of course, it is often easier to translate into one's native language.
But what amazes me is that while you run into people everywhere who seriously believe that in a few years the machines are going to put us out of business, some English people get hiccups over a preposition or two and a comma when the rest of the translation is fine. OK, they are not always the same people - the comma sticklers are usually aware that machine translation is far worse.

Speakers of some languages are simply used to hearing their language spoken and seeing it written by foreigners, and accept it. Then they can get down to using the text for its purpose, and there is no problem whatsoever. Everyone knows it is a translation, but it is accurate.
We have to live in this globalised/globalized world with each other's ways of speaking and writing.
______________________

It is a bit ironic that some of the English-speaking nations apparently have the greatest problems with translators with other native languages translating into English. I hear that schools in the UK at least are now teaching seven-year olds all sorts of fancy grammar terms, but they still only teach a handful of languages, and language departments at universities are closing, or certainly not expanding.

In other words, the UK is not training anything like enough linguists to meet the demand for translation from most of the world's languages, let alone teach, or work in industry and diplomacy etc. using other languages directly.

Whether they like it or not, the British at least are going to have to live with Dutchlish, Danglish, Swenglish and whatever else their neighbours and business partners can produce.
Demand certainly does exceed the supply of native UK translators from many languages.



[Edited at 2016-02-19 10:25 GMT]
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Tom in London
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 19:26
Członek ProZ.com
od 2008

włoski > angielski
No conclusion Feb 19, 2016

TonyTK wrote:

And what's your conclusion?


I simply posted the link. Just contributing to the discussion. Draw your own conclusions.

[Edited at 2016-02-19 10:30 GMT]


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bośnia i Hercegowina
Local time: 20:26
angielski > chorwacki
+ ...
European conferences. Feb 19, 2016

I have interpreted at conferences where both speakers and listeners/audience were non-native speakers. They were specialists in the field, but of course non-native speakers (proficient, but non-native). You think it'd be highly relevant for them having a native interpreter?

I am just trying to imagine this: 5 people in the booth. 2 for one direction, 2 for the other one, and 1 serving the coffee. Heh, too tight, no air.

I am yet to meet a native English speaker with pr
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I have interpreted at conferences where both speakers and listeners/audience were non-native speakers. They were specialists in the field, but of course non-native speakers (proficient, but non-native). You think it'd be highly relevant for them having a native interpreter?

I am just trying to imagine this: 5 people in the booth. 2 for one direction, 2 for the other one, and 1 serving the coffee. Heh, too tight, no air.

I am yet to meet a native English speaker with professional proficiency in my native language. "Some fluency" yes, but that's not the same as professional proficiency. In all these years, I have never met one. The only time I met a foreign speaker with such proficiency they were Austrian (native German speaker) who mastered the language perfectly (not having any Balkan roots, which makes it even more admirable).
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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Niemcy
Local time: 20:26
niemiecki > angielski
Sorry. Feb 19, 2016

...

[Edited at 2016-02-19 13:30 GMT]


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bośnia i Hercegowina
Local time: 20:26
angielski > chorwacki
+ ...
What Tom mentioned... Feb 19, 2016

Actually the requirements Tom mentioned are valid ones, but that still doesn't mean the translation will necessarily be perfect not having errors at some level.

Dan mentioned something about how to test your fluency in non-native language (I just skimmed his post, hope I understood correctly). Well here is the thing: if you can produce an error-free 1k word essay in your source language, you can start working your way toward professional proficiency from there. And I mean an essay,
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Actually the requirements Tom mentioned are valid ones, but that still doesn't mean the translation will necessarily be perfect not having errors at some level.

Dan mentioned something about how to test your fluency in non-native language (I just skimmed his post, hope I understood correctly). Well here is the thing: if you can produce an error-free 1k word essay in your source language, you can start working your way toward professional proficiency from there. And I mean an essay, not translation.

[Edited at 2016-02-19 11:10 GMT]
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Chris S  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
szwedzki > angielski
+ ...
Scandiless translations Feb 19, 2016

Christine Andersen wrote:

Whether they like it or not, the British at least are going to have to live with Dutchlish, Danglish, Swenglish and whatever else their neighbours and business partners can produce.
Demand certainly does exceed the supply of native UK translators from many languages.


But faced with two foreign products of similar quality and price, the UK buyer will go for the one marketed in correct, idiomatic English.

Whenever you read a non-native translation you instinctively wonder what else they've scrimped on...

Although some CBS graduates are undoubtedly impressive linguists, I think the Danes use Danes to translate into English not just for practical (supply-related) reasons but also out of ignorance/arrogance - they have good enough English themselves to check that a translation is accurate but not to tell whether the style and tone are right. Very often they are happier with Danglish than proper English - the number of times I've had Danish customers banning innocuous words and phrases just because they don't work when translated literally back into Danish... And the Swedes are worse. (Generalising most sweepingly.)

I find the Norwegians more accommodating. Which is a good thing, because what can we call their version of Danglish/Swenglish - Singlish?


Christine Andersen
 
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