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Why do YOU translate into a non-native language?
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Ledja  Identity Verified
Velika Britanija
Local time: 22:56
engleski na albanski
+ ...
Don't shoot me Feb 19, 2016

I have ventured into translating a whole novel or two in a language that is not my mother tongue - however, it’s a language that:

- I’ve been using predominantly since I was 17
- I was formally educated in during the late stages of my schooling days
- is the one I’ve spoken, written and been exposed to in far wider contexts than the language I was born into
- and have been living, working and breathing for the bigger part of my life now.

I won’
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I have ventured into translating a whole novel or two in a language that is not my mother tongue - however, it’s a language that:

- I’ve been using predominantly since I was 17
- I was formally educated in during the late stages of my schooling days
- is the one I’ve spoken, written and been exposed to in far wider contexts than the language I was born into
- and have been living, working and breathing for the bigger part of my life now.

I won’t call it my native, still – I do have my little lapses once in a while, but am perfectly aware when they happen.

Strangely enough, when I’ve had the chance to see proofread versions of my translations, it’s the ones in my native language that seem to always be rife with trackchanges – mostly corrections that make your blood boil and will falter.

The main point to draw on though, in response to the question posed, is that there are very few native English speakers around the world that would have studied Albanian on a professional level. One that I can think of off the top of my head is Robert Elsie. I have read translations of works of literature on his website, out of curiosity and professional interest, and although he’s done a brilliant job, there is the odd case here and there of a phrase or word being completely misunderstood. That aside, were there a few more hundred Robert Elsies around, I might have not been approached to translate into my non-native language, no matter how good I claim to be. That’s what it really comes down to in the end.
Collapse


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Danska
Local time: 23:56
Član (2003)
danski na engleski
+ ...
It's going to get worse... Feb 19, 2016

Chris S wrote:

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...


I totally agree.


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?


CBS is cutting back on language training ... Just try googling CBS lukker sproguddannelser - I am sure you have already. They are holding the fort slightly better in Aarhus, which has been the centre for lexicology for some time, but Danes are concentrating on English, and getting good enough at it to land in just the situation you describe.
While many of those who really can write good English are getting a bit long in the tooth. It is probably going to get even worse with other languages - everyone will have to cope with Globish. THEN there will be trouble with failure to understand...

I fear future generations will end up with some kind of Facebookish, and I am NOT lol.

OK, there ARE people on both sides trying to raise standards, so let's keep fighting and hope they succeed!



[Edited at 2016-02-19 13:08 GMT]


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
Velika Britanija
Local time: 22:56
Član (2009)
holandski na engleski
+ ...
made me laugh Feb 19, 2016

Chris S wrote:

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.


… but so true.


 

Tom in London
Velika Britanija
Local time: 22:56
Član (2008)
italijanski na engleski
Completely wrong Feb 19, 2016

Michael Wetzel wrote:

.....anyone who has been regularly reading posts here over the last few years could fail to have noticed your stormy relationship with Italy and Italians....


Completely wrong (again). I have excellent relationships with Italy and Italians. I await your next utterly misplaced personal observations about me, my character, my outlook, my life, etc.

At some point, I hope you'll stop this.

[Edited at 2016-02-19 12:49 GMT]


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
Velika Britanija
Local time: 22:56
Član (2004)
engleski na italijanski
I don't... Feb 19, 2016

even after 26 years in England... but not because I wouldn't like to, but because I simply can't. I'm not good enough. To me, the proof of the pudding is in the eating....

[Edited at 2016-02-19 13:03 GMT]


 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Danska
Local time: 23:56
danski na engleski
+ ...
I'm such a very bad girl Feb 19, 2016

Chris S wrote:

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.


I just translated a Mexican (Spanish) marriage certificate into English.
What does that make me? A criminal? A traitor to my profession? Arrogant?

But yes, for the money - I am not the Salvation Army.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Velika Britanija
švedski na engleski
+ ...
Spank o'clock Feb 19, 2016

Gitte Hovedskov, MCIL wrote:

I'm such a very bad girl


I always knew it.

Actually you are one of two Danes I'd trust to translate into English if I ever had the need. You are, of course, the exception that proves the rule. (A phrase most natives use wrongly, oh the irony.)

That said, I was delighted to see you make another mistake the other day. That's two in the past year. You are a very naughty girl indeed.


 

DorothyX (X)
Francuska
Local time: 23:56
Same here Feb 19, 2016

Ledja wrote:

I have ventured into translating a whole novel or two in a language that is not my mother tongue - however, it’s a language that:

- I’ve been using predominantly since I was 17
- I was formally educated in during the late stages of my schooling days
- is the one I’ve spoken, written and been exposed to in far wider contexts than the language I was born into
- and have been living, working and breathing for the bigger part of my life now.

I won’t call it my native, still – I do have my little lapses once in a while, but am perfectly aware when they happen.

Strangely enough, when I’ve had the chance to see proofread versions of my translations, it’s the ones in my native language that seem to always be rife with trackchanges – mostly corrections that make your blood boil and will falter.



and because I have formal training in translating in both directions, with two other languages as passive languages.

One should distinguis between people who translate into a non native language because they need the money, etc., and others who are perfectly able to do this at a high level. EU translators are in the second category.


 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Danska
Local time: 23:56
danski na engleski
+ ...
Shoot me at dawn Feb 19, 2016

Chris S wrote:

That said, I was delighted to see you make another mistake the other day. That's two in the past year. You are a very naughty girl indeed.



Rats!!


 

TonyTK
nemački na engleski
+ ...
Get a room, Feb 19, 2016

Gitte Hovedskov, MCIL wrote:

Chris S wrote:

That said, I was delighted to see you make another mistake the other day. That's two in the past year. You are a very naughty girl indeed.



Rats!!


you two ...


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosna i Hercegovina
Local time: 23:56
engleski na hrvatski
+ ...
What's this? Feb 19, 2016

50 shades of English or what?

 

texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:56
Član (2006)
engleski na italijanski
+ ...
Brilliant Feb 19, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

What's this?

50 shades of English or what?


Simply brilliant!


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Velika Britanija
švedski na engleski
+ ...
:-) Feb 19, 2016

TonyTK wrote:

Get a room you two ...


Actually I'm more of the outdoor type.

Lingua5B wrote:

50 shades of English or what?




It's Friday afternoon...

FWIW I translated something into Swedish once. It was 100% accurate, but it took forever and my tame Swede tore it to pieces. I don't know what that proves.


 

TonyTK
nemački na engleski
+ ...
The only thing that comes to mind ... Feb 19, 2016

Chris S wrote:

TonyTK wrote:

Get a room you two ...


Actually I'm more of the outdoor type.

Lingua5B wrote:

50 shades of English or what?




It's Friday afternoon...

FWIW I translated something into Swedish once. It was 100% accurate, but it took forever and my tame Swede tore it to pieces. I don't know what that proves.


... in connection with Sweden is that excellent headline many years ago after England lost yet again (to Sweden):

Swedes 1 Turnips 0


 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugalija
Local time: 22:56
holandski na engleski
+ ...
demand for natives in NL - ENG Feb 19, 2016

Dan Lucas wrote:

I was amazed to hear that demand exceeds supply in Dutch, for example. Life is full of surprises (and clichés).

Regards
Dan


Dan, it's pretty difficult for English people to learn any 2nd language because of our inherent embarrassment, but even more so with Dutch where you have to INSIST on not resorting to English when trying to learn it initially. They are also surprisingly defensive of their language. So not many natives manage, even fewer can write decent English and even fewer of these want to translate. Yet many Dutch appreciate flowing natural English, and there's tons of stuff to translate.

Result: 3 X as much work offered s I can take on, no haggling over price, no rubbishy pdfs, no night/weekend work, just endless income!


 
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