Friday, November 18, 2005

Words, words, words

Posted by kuri, ping, the pinglet, & mini-ping on 11/18/2005
Yesterday, E7 told me something I hadn't known about a translation job I did last year. I had to translate an environmental action plan for a city government that actually ended up being more like copywriting than translation.

The executive committee reviewed the translation (since they have to approve every piece of paper) and pronounced my translation "elegant". Isn't that a great compliment? I've had people tell me that my translations are good, excellent, wonderful...but it's the first time that someone used the word "elegant" to describe something that I had done.

Unfortunately, I often have to do in-house translations that are more rewriting and redeveloping a person's entire project, rather than just the translation of words from Japanese into English. I can not STAND when someone gives me a sloppily written paper in Japanese and expects me to put it into comprehensible English. I am working on a paper right now that looks like it's been written by a 3rd elementary school.

Am I supposed to be translating this or fixing your entire program because it makes no sense?


3 of you feeling verklempt. Tawlk amongst yourselves:

Andrea said...

At work my guys give me reports, patents, speeches etc, that look like they have been translated by the computer and them ask me to check the English. More often than not I end up rewritting the entire thing.
I do not get paid enough. (sigh)
At least I am allowed to totally shred a paper and redue it so it is acceptable.
I have been told that a lot of translaters and proof readers are not actually allowed to do that. They can only directly translate or proofread but not actually fix.

Belinda said...

Wow Chris, 'elegant' is a great compliment :)

kuri & ping said...

Andrea, I totally understand not getting paid enough! You're right that a lot of translators/proofreaders are not allowed to rewrite things--only directly translate. When I am doing a professional job like that, I will attach comments regarding certain problems, like grammar, in the original text.

This "translation" job is actually part of my regular job so I am free to rewrite things if I want. But it's still irritating. They should get it right the first time! :)

Belinda, it was cool that they said my translations were "elegant" and "classy". What a pick me up! (BTW, that is totally a separate issue from the story above!) LOL


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