+971 4 269 9996

How to Read beyond the Lines when Translating

How to Read beyond the Lines when Translating

How to Read beyond the Lines when Translating

Technology and the information revolution have opened a vast world of knowledge to all of us. Translators must develop work habits and methods that allow them to make the best use of search tools and other resources. Looking for extra-textual information is an essential component of translation, albeit one often overlooked or taken for granted.

Translation mistakes or poor renditions happen often, translators and revisers could avoid them if the translator had looked for additional information. Translators often deal with highly specialized, unfamiliar, or heavily negotiated documents without being involved in the process that generated them.  They need to complement their substantive information with further research to deliver a reliable translation.

 

What are the basic assumptions?

The most basic assumption in translation—whether or not translators consciously think about it — is that all human discourse contains a message (or intended meaning) and that somehow it is possible for a person with the right tools to grasp that message, to extract it from the container that is the source language, and transfer it into a new container which is the target language. Whether it is possible to understand the message in all its nuances and complexity (comprehension). Can we separate the meaning from its linguistic envelope (deverbalization) without losing at least part of its integrity? Can we find equivalences in the target language to convey the message in a beneficial manner (reformulation)? We can spend years trying to answer these questions.

However, we engage translating, which implies that we believe there is something in a text, some essence of meaning that can a translator transfer, and that different languages offer ways to transfer meaning, even though imperfectly.

Aside from this basic assumption we hold to be universal, it is important to underscore the following additional assumptions about the act of translating.

 

  1. Approach a document as an integrity. A sentence for the translation is unlikely to contain all the information needed to extract meaning from it for translation. This is why it is necessary for the translator to contextualize different segments of the same text to better comprehend the meaning.
  2. A document is always part of a storyline. Being aware of the full story is the best way to arrive at a correct understanding of the message. Since this is not always possible from the translator’s standpoint, seeking extra-textual information, as an integral part of the translation process, becomes the translator’s best guide. It sheds light on the evolution of the topic, resolves any ambiguities, and helps us understand patterns, including patterns of word usage.
  3. Cognitive complements are essential to the plainness of a text. Translators need to mobilize their general culture and resort to other external sources of knowledge to understand the text, including its implicit and explicit elements.
  4. A literal approach can never produce a good translation. Literal translation fails to transfer meaning because it produces awkward and unintelligible forms in the target language. By resorting to extra-linguistic knowledge, translators will feel more at ease with the subject and ideas, which will enable them to reformulate these ideas in a more idiomatic and accessible way. When we don’t understand, we automatically take refuge in the literal approach. Instead of trying to make the picture less blurry, we sink even more into the fog.

 

What Do We Do When We Translate?

Basically, we understand the meaning and then reformulate it in the target language. Put that way, translation may sound like a piece of cake. However, the process itself is much more complex. It involves grasping the message—separating meaning from words, getting as close as possible to what the author intended to say, and even the emotions he or she wanted to convey. This is deverbalization.

This means the translator knows there is no complete meaning in the utterance and he needs to perform an additional research.

Without summoning extra-linguistic knowledge, translators will remain at the surface of the text, while they need to thrust their noses deeper into the multi-layered and subtle allusions or references. By training themselves to be cognitively alert and methodically skeptical, translators will definitely enhance the quality of the output. The greatest risk translators face is to lose their alertness—to grab the first meaning that comes to mind and hold on to it with too much confidence.

 

Does the Translator Need to be a Subject Matter Expert?

Translators often deal with unfamiliar topics that fall outside their field of expertise. This has led people to take the view that only subject matter experts are good enough to translate a text.

The translator should show skills that go beyond the mere mastery of two languages. Nowadays, a translator must be well-read and curious about the world, be a tireless researcher willing to learn about any topic and be perseverant enough to dig deeper into the text to understand what it means. Contemporaneously, a translator must always be ready to question his or her own assumptions.

 

Common Obstacles to Understanding

Despite the variety of documents, topics, and circumstances, the vast majority of comprehension difficulties in translation fall under one of two categories:

 

  1. Novelty

Novelty is when the translator encounters a topic or a concept new to them. Novelty can arise from the translator’s lack of familiarity with the topic or from the fact that the concept itself is a new coinage in the source language.

When faced with novelty, the translator should read beyond the lines to understand the new concept through all means (e.g., by consulting dictionaries and encyclopedias, search engines, including images and videos when available, asking experts, reading other documents on the same topic, and examining relevant bilingual texts if available).

Such external sources can even allow the translator to find out the exact title of an event, the accurate pronunciation of entities, and the names and the gender of participants referred to in the text.

 

  1. Ambiguity

Technology and the information revolution have opened a vast world of knowledge to all of us. Translators must develop work habits and methods that allow them to make the best use of search tools and other resources. Looking for extra-textual information is an essential component of translation, albeit one often overlooked or taken for granted.

Translation mistakes or poor renditions happen often, translators and revisers could avoid them if the translator had looked for additional information. Translators often deal with highly specialized, unfamiliar, or heavily negotiated documents without being involved in the process that generated them.  They need to complement their substantive information with further research to deliver a reliable translation.

You would be interested Another Perspective: a Translation is Not

 

 

References:

www.gadda.ed.ac.uk

www.chathamhouse.org

trans-int.org

www.atanet.org


Recent Articles about Translation  

What is a Translation Management System?
What is a Translation Management System?
Last Updated on March 10, 2021

If you are done with the translation process every time you visit a website, then the translation management system is for you. It is a software platform that is responsible for automating the translation process. 

There are a lot of languages that people speak around the globe, and you might know a few or only one of them. However, what if you know that you can understand them all with an automatic translation system? Well, it must be like a treat for many of us. It is the base behind the invention of translation management systems.  (more…)

Top Translation Quality Assurance Tools
Top Translation Quality Assurance Tools
Last Updated on March 3, 2021

Software products for translation quality assurance are tools that help with identifying regular missteps found in translated messages, utilizing formal attributes. 

With regards to translation work, there are many tools for interpreters to browse. The test isn’t the absence of software yet rather finding the best tool for our specific goals. Quite recently, we gathered top-notch of the best free tools for freelance interpreters; today, my focus is on translation quality and productivity.  (more…)

Best Translation Management Systems for Companies
Best Translation Management Systems for Companies
Last Updated on February 24, 2021

A translation management system resembles a riddle, every one of whose pieces satisfies a specific capacity. Together, they uphold and quicken the translation cycle. For instance, the project management module serves the arrangement of all clients who are associated with the interaction like project managers, language service suppliers, terminologists, and so forth.  (more…)

What is Segmentation in Translation?
What is Segmentation in Translation?
Last Updated on February 17, 2021

Segmentation in translation is the way toward separating a source text into more modest units for translation. These units are arranged by picking specific segmentation decisions that fill in as a base for making and editing translation recollections, as per a picked language pair. These standards comprise a progression in translation robotization as frameworks’ figure out how’ to remember them, and they are naturally applied during the translation work process.  (more…)

What are the Segmentation Rules in Translation?
What are the Segmentation Rules in Translation?
Last Updated on February 10, 2021

Segmentation in translation is the way toward separating a source text into more modest units for translation. These units are arranged by picking specific segmentation rules that fill in as a base for making and altering translation memory, as per a picked language pair. These rules comprise a headway in translation robotization as frameworks’ figure out how’ to remember them, and they are naturally applied during the translation work process.  (more…)

What is Translation Quality Assurance?
What is Translation Quality Assurance?
Last Updated on February 3, 2021

A poor translation can deplorably affect the acknowledgment of your product, and moreover, it can, without much of a stretch, become a shame to your image. Translation Quality Assurance is a thorough tool that checks for machine-detectable blunders while you translate in a translation management software.  (more…)

What is OCR?
What is OCR?
Last Updated on January 27, 2021

OCR (optical character recognition) is the utilization of technology to recognize printed or manually written content characters inside digital pictures of actual reports, for example, a filtered paper record. 

The fundamental cycle of OCR includes inspecting the content of a record and making an interpretation of the characters into code that can be utilized for information handling. OCR is at times additionally alluded to as text recognition. OCR frameworks are comprised of a mix of equipment and software that is utilized to change over actual reports into machine-readable content. Equipment, for example, an optical scanner or particular circuit board, is utilized to duplicate or read the text, while software commonly handles the high-level preparation. The software can likewise exploit artificial knowledge (AI) to execute further developed strategies for astute character recognition (ICR), like identifying dialects. (more…)

Get The Best Translation Price