A Thread for Translators

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:21 pm

Nagasakijin wrote:I think I made some headway in convincing the companies not to use quotation marks by pointing out the usage of scare quotes, so that a sentence like: " Our company's main policy is "honesty" " simply makes native English readers question the actual honesty of the company.
Good example of how slavishly translating 「」 into quotes can ruin a translation. Once you understand what the Japanese is driving at, you have to ask yourself, "How would this be normally written in English?"

As for dictionaries, I don't use them, paper or electronic. That's not to sound snobby, but if you know your field, you don't need them and you shouldn't need them. If you're looking up stuff while translating, it's a sign that you should brush up on your Japanese reading skills. I do look up stuff up, but only after the translation is finished and I'm working on polishing it.

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Nagasakijin » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:43 pm

It's truly impressive that you don't need to use a dictionary. I probably overuse mine, more often than not as a spur for different ways of saying things rather than checking meanings. Still, I'd be lost without my 180万語対訳 dictionary that let's me look up phrases like 漂遊負荷損 rather than trying to nut it out for myself. I guess the problem is that I don't have any field per se and just translate whatever the companies throw at me, which means getting some pretty abstruse stuff. Serves me right for not studying anything actually useful at uni.

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:04 pm

Nagasakijin wrote:It's truly impressive that you don't need to use a dictionary. I probably overuse mine, more often than not as a spur for different ways of saying things rather than checking meanings. Still, I'd be lost without my 180万語対訳 dictionary that let's me look up phrases like 漂遊負荷損 rather than trying to nut it out for myself. I guess the problem is that I don't have any field per se and just translate whatever the companies throw at me, which means getting some pretty abstruse stuff. Serves me right for not studying anything actually useful at uni.
I work in a narrow field and know it, so I don't have to look a lot of things up. I'd be lost if I had to work out of my element in something like medicine or telecommunications. You don't have to have a uni degree to know something. You can have knowledge through things like hobbies and interests. Love tinkering with cars? Automotive translation. Passionate about video games or anime? Software or manga translation. If you don't have a field, start working on developing one.

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Nagasakijin » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:15 pm

Good point about turning interests and hobbies into translation work. I should pay more attention to that, as I honestly can't recall doing any really interesting translations of late; just a long slew of business documents. Good money, but rather low on the quality of life thing. I had a bad experience with manga translation and have stayed away from it since, but it might be good to get back into - it's very nice to actually see something with your own name on it get published (even if the actual story is complete shit).
By the way, do you ever worry about some major advance in machine translation putting us all out of work some day? Most days I'm pretty sure it's too far away to worry about, or that when it does happen the machines will be running the world and we'll all be out a job (visions of Terminator in mind...), but in my paranoid moments I sometimes experience this fear. I'd rather top myself than go back to teaching English again ...

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:59 pm

Nagasakijin wrote:Good point about turning interests and hobbies into translation work. I should pay more attention to that, as I honestly can't recall doing any really interesting translations of late; just a long slew of business documents. Good money, but rather low on the quality of life thing. I had a bad experience with manga translation and have stayed away from it since, but it might be good to get back into - it's very nice to actually see something with your own name on it get published (even if the actual story is complete shit).
Yes, it is nice to see your name on something, provided its good work. :P I haven't done that, but I have had the quasi-satisfaction of knowing that a job I did was probably read by some people high up in government. It's a nice feeling to know that your work might be important.
Nagasakijin wrote:By the way, do you ever worry about some major advance in machine translation putting us all out of work some day? Most days I'm pretty sure it's too far away to worry about, or that when it does happen the machines will be running the world and we'll all be out a job (visions of Terminator in mind...), but in my paranoid moments I sometimes experience this fear. I'd rather top myself than go back to teaching English again ...
Not worried at all, at least with Japanese. I think there have been advances in MT with the romance languages, but Japanese is a whole different ball of wax. AFAIK, MT still can't properly digest wa's and ga's and hold the subject in context across an entire paragraph, so your job isn't at risk. Software companies have been touting their translation packages full of technical terms for decades and their results are still crap. Sites like Google Translate may be good for understanding the gist of something, but are still not capable of producing anything worth paying for.

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:33 am

Massive dyslexia attack. I was editing a translation and came across a bit that read XXXX Office Branch. It didn't sound right but i couldn't figure out what the heck was wrong with it. Sure enough, at 3 a.m. this morning, it comes to me: It's a branch office, you moron! :bang:

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Tall Tall Tree » Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:37 pm

This is the Vim I know about, but that's because I'm a nerd.

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by SamhainP8 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:25 pm

Shawn wrote:I was editing a translation and came across a bit that read XXXX Office Branch.
I would have immediately thought:

Image

And then started salivating. :bye:
"Do you know how a falcon is trained, my dear? Her eyes are sewn shut. Blinded temporarily, she suffers the whims of her God patiently, until her will is submerged and she learns to serve - as your God taught and blinded you with crosses."

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Mogura » Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:40 pm

I thought XXXX was really nasty porn...
Lick my troll, goosh... :bird:

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by SamhainP8 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:09 pm

Mogura wrote:I thought XXXX was really nasty porn...
It is, it just happens to come in the form of :beer: :drool:
"Do you know how a falcon is trained, my dear? Her eyes are sewn shut. Blinded temporarily, she suffers the whims of her God patiently, until her will is submerged and she learns to serve - as your God taught and blinded you with crosses."

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by InTheColdLightOfDay » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:47 pm

I thought you Aussies didn't actually drink XXXX (or Fosters)?
I was told (by Aussies) that they're marketed as typical Aussie beers in the UK, but nobody down there actually touches the stuff.
Each monkeys has different face. It's very difficult to distinguish monkey's face, like we can't memorize foreigner's face.

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by SamhainP8 » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:16 am

InTheColdLightOfDay wrote:I thought you Aussies didn't actually drink XXXX (or Fosters)?
I was told (by Aussies) that they're marketed as typical Aussie beers in the UK, but nobody down there actually touches the stuff.
You're thinking of Fosters not XXXX.
"Do you know how a falcon is trained, my dear? Her eyes are sewn shut. Blinded temporarily, she suffers the whims of her God patiently, until her will is submerged and she learns to serve - as your God taught and blinded you with crosses."

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:29 am

A few more examples of overused quotation marks that would not be out of place in a Dilbert comic strip.
"the customer's point of view"
"strong teamwork"
"technological capabilities"
"marketing capabilities"
"service capabilities"

All from the first two paragraphs from the same document. :ack:

SamhainP8: :cheers: If only I were working on stuff about beer.

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:54 pm

Abbreviations and symbols in Japanese are another pitfall for the translator. Do you know what "W/W" means in English? It doesn't mean shit, so I'm pissed off the translation was submitted to me like this. W/W is used in Japanese to mean "worldwide" or "global." If it's not a known abbreviation in English, don't use it!

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:24 pm

Nit picking: I'm quickly developing an allergy to translating 取り組む as "tackling" something, usually tackling one's work. It seems that I see this translation on a daily basis. There has to be a better way to approach things than "tackling" them. :smash:

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Nagasakijin » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:27 pm

The problem is that business Japanese is strewn with 取組 and 取り組む, you could probably find at least four or five usages a paragraph let alone a page. On the one hand, as native speakers, we want to translate them with different words, because written English abhors monotony (or should do, at any rate). But the Japanese who check the transalations (damn them!) always want to have one word for one translation (何でも統一). Instead of tackling, you could use working towards, engaging in, involved in, making efforts to ... I'd probably use "engaged / engaging in" more often than not. Tackling seems a bit too rugby-oriented for me.
Agree with you about stuff like W/W and so on. Sometimes I think written Japanese is designed to confuse rather than enlighten the reader; why else would they use abbreviations in English with no explanation and just assume people know what they're talking about? It must be all that in-group / out-goup soto-uchi stuff....

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:53 am

Yeah, it's definitely a term that has me making good use of a thesaurus. The abbreviations are understood by everyone except the translator. :P I think it's more a case of being unfamiliar with the jargon than an uchi vs soto thing. Every group has their own jargon. Remember when the Microsoft Zune came out and Ballmer was talking about "squirting" pictures and data to friends? :roll: OK, that one didn't catch on, thankfully.

I think my favorite abbreviation in Japanese is NHK's unfortunate use of BS, which gives us classic howlers like "BS News" and "Power up! BS!" :mrgreen:

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Are they the lemmings? » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:04 pm

That's right. I pay a few bucks each month for the privilege of watching a load of BS!
Ahead! Groove factor five! Yeah!

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:01 pm

Are they the lemmings? wrote:That's right. I pay a few bucks each month for the privilege of watching a load of BS!
Correction: I got the BS punctuation wrong. It's Power Up !! BS!!! :rotfl:

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:53 pm

OK, that's it. I'm going to shoot the next "translator" I catch slavishly putting everything in quotes and using ※ in their work. That's the only way to fix this problem. :guns:

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Wed Sep 15, 2010 5:55 pm

Another word for me that has become stale is "boost." It's usually a translation of 強化 or 引き上げる. It's not a bad translation, but my problem is when I have 30 pages of people all saying the same thing. We need to boost our sales, boost our organization... :blah: Fortunately, boost, 強化 and 引き上げる are lend themselves to creative writing. :cheers:

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:06 am

Here's another translation to watch out for that I caught this morning. Japanese companies don't like to say who their clients are, so they try and mask them by referring to them as 米国T社, for example. Translating this as "T Corp in America" doesn't strike me as being very elegant. Instead, write around it: A company in the U.S., a major American manufacturer (if you know what kind of company they are), an American chip maker, and so forth.

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by allblacks » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:50 pm

What about "company X"?

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:14 pm

allblacks wrote:What about "company X"?
Still too abrupt and would cause readers to wonder why the company is being hidden. Writing around it and calling Company X a "major US-based maker," for example, doesn't make the reader wonder who the company actually is.

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by allblacks » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:25 am

Shawn wrote:
allblacks wrote:What about "company X"?
Still too abrupt and would cause readers to wonder why the company is being hidden. Writing around it and calling Company X a "major US-based maker," for example, doesn't make the reader wonder who the company actually is.
company xyz from the US then

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:20 am

PanicInducingGaijin wrote:What, you don't boost stuff from work yourself?
Ha! I saw that coming from miles away!

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by redbar » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:31 pm

Shawn wrote:OK, that's it. I'm going to shoot the next "translator" I catch slavishly putting everything in quotes and using ※ in their work. That's the only way to fix this problem. :guns:
Yeah but for internal emails/memos I like keeping the full-width symbols since they are prettier.
①first item
②second item
③third item
※note 1
☆note2
★note 3

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:11 pm

redbar wrote:Yeah but for internal emails/memos I like keeping the full-width symbols since they are prettier.
①first item
②second item
③third item
※note 1
☆note2
★note 3
I suppose for internal memos that stuff will fly, but in the world beyond the office, double-byte characters probably would not be a good idea. :thumbsup:

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by Shawn » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:39 pm

Another potential false friend: メンバー。 It's tempting to just translate it as "member," but when the context is a workshop or lecture, would it make more sense to call them participants, instead?

:anger: Gripe: Write in the ACTIVE VOICE! I know that the Japanese is in the passive voice, but tell me what that means in plain English! :guns:

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Re: A Thread for Translators

Unread post by allblacks » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:54 pm

Shawn wrote:Another potential false friend: メンバー。 It's tempting to just translate it as "member," but when the context is a workshop or lecture, would it make more sense to call them participants, instead?

:anger: Gripe: Write in the ACTIVE VOICE! I know that the Japanese is in the passive voice, but tell me what that means in plain English! :guns:
Japanese people are passive aggressive. There. All done!

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