Several Steps to Improve Translation by Better Target Language Skills

I always think that translating is more about the translator’s target language skill rather than the source language. Of course fully understanding the source material is important, but it is the output of the target language that counts. It takes our whole life for us to learn both our English and Chinese. But still, there are a few steps to improve our translation.

Be aware of the different expressions between English and Chinese.

Firstly, Chinese is always expressed in active voice while English is in passive voice. So when coping with passive voice English expressions, we should try to turn them into an active voice.

Secondly, long sentences formed by logic are preferred in English while we write Chinese with simple short sentences. Bearing this in mind, we should break down the long sentence and translate them into short pieces.

After the translating, read the translation thoroughly.

When translating one sentence by one sentence, we tend to ignore the connection between sentences and look at them as individual segments. Reading them as a whole, we may find the illogical problems and nonfluency, so that we can add some conjunctions between them or readjust the sentence structure to make it more natural.

Learn edited translation to improve our translating skills.

Sometimes it is not about the right or wrong problem. A sentence can be translated into this way or another way. Both are right, but we still can tell which one is better. When the editor edits the translation, he or she tends to look at the whole article in target language way, which makes the article less trace of machine translation. Constantly learning the edited translation and compare with our original translation, we will find our shortcomings and improve ourselves step by step.


Words translated by CCJK


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