Being a translator for more than half a year, I know there is still a lot of space for me to improve my translating skill. Here I just want to talk about my personal thoughts about translating.
1. It is important to read the client’s instructions before translating.
Every translation has specific requirements. Some clients are very particular about what should be translated and what should be remained in English. Some English translation projects have a lot of materials for the translator’s reference.
You would likely make mistakes if you think you have read them thoroughly the last time you translated a similar project and now you don’t have to read them carefully.
Take F & P project as an example, I have done that project several times so I thought I knew their requirements very well. They have 7 files of documents for me to refer. I was in a rush so I didn’t read them carefully enough.
After I finish translating, I turn back to the referred materials and found the requirement has changed: “SYM-1 – F & P Healthcare Offices’ address panel: Translation of SYM-1 is not permitted for FIS03, but FIS05 does require translation (client to provide specific instructions)”.
This is a tragedy for I didn’t translate that according to the previous experience, which is painful because there were several addresses mentioned in the translation files. It means I have to trace them down and translate every piece of them. So it is important to read the referred materials first, or you will waste more time correcting them if you translate it wrong.
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2. Refer to the PDF Files During Translating When they are Available.
As the PDF file is being transformed to a TTX file, the order of sentences is not in accordance with the PDF file. So it might be difficult to find the corresponding sentence in the PDF file. To hasten the translation speech, some translators don’t want to waste their time checking the PDF file. This can lead to big mistakes sometimes.
I have edited a project, in which the client specified that texts on the machine’s screen should be remained in English. If you don’t refer to the PhD, it was not easy to tell which text was on screen and which was not.
Clearly the translator didn’t refer to the PDF file while he or she was doing translating for most of the screen texts were translated into the target language, too. It took me a lot of time to sort them out. It would be much easier for the translator to do that job.
3. Turn to Online Search Engines Frequently.
Most of the translators are not familiar with the specialized fields they are translating. This is normal since it is impossible for us to know every aspect of every area in the world. When we are required to translate those academic materials, it is always advised to consult the google or Baidu searching engine.
A lot of sentences are ambiguous if you don’t understand the context. Counting on the grammar doesn’t help because they can be grammatically incorrect. So technically we have to use every source we have to figure out what they meant to express. That’s why we should turn to online search engines from time to time.
4. Improve the Target Language Skills.
The above is about understanding the translation source. However, translating is more about rephrasing the idea in another language. The target language skill counts more most of the time.
This is a pain in the neck for me, and that’s why I think I have to constantly improve my Chinese level. To do this, there is no other way except practice more and accumulate my skills.
5. Summarize our Experiences Frequently.
It can be skills, vocabulary, and knowledge. If you come across some specific terms when you are translating some specialized fields, or some common words with special meaning in other fields, just write them down and keep them in mind. You will know what they mean when you meet them next time.
The same goes for mistakes we make. We all make mistakes, only wise people would take advantage of them. Mistakes are not that bad if we can constantly learn from them and improve ourselves. That’s the point of learning and improving.
Easier said than done, we all know a lot of theories. Only by applying them to practice can they be useful. It takes our whole life to learn, the one with a persistent attitude can make it.