Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Report From the FIT Congress -- Part II

Last week, I summarized the first three of six sessions at the congress of the International Federation of Translators. Here are the remaining three summaries.

Nicholas Hartmann "The Beginning of Wisdom: Some Practical Aspects of Technical Translation"

As a service provider, the translator is not only expected to provide a quality product on time, but also needs to be flexible and adaptable in terms of the client's terminological preferences and deadlines. Technical translations into German are frequently reviewed at the client's by German-speaking professionals with very good English skills, but not native fluency in English. This sometimes gives rise to "educated German disease": the belief of German third-party reviewers that their English is superior to that of the native-speaking translator. Coupled with the tendency of large companies to develop their own in-house terminology/terminological preferences, this poses a challenge for the translator. When working through an agency, it may be difficult to have that terminology clarified, since access to the client and its subject-matter experts will be restricted, if not impossible. For this and other reasons, translators should aspire to work for direct clients, rather than agencies. However, such terminology discussions and potential evaluation/revision of source text, if that text is unclear, do take time for which the translator ought to be compensated. One way to do so is to charge a per-project fee. Another is to try to charge a higher per-word fee to incorporate that extra work.

Rosana Wolochwianski "Threat or Opportunity? The Emerging Role of Machine Translation Post-Editing"

Historically, machines have increasingly replaced repetitive human tasks, and machine translation is no exception here. However, machines cannot make ethical decisions, so a human post-editor is still required to ensure that the machine output is accurate. There are three types of post-editing of machine translated text: full editing fixes stylistic issues and makes the text read smoothly, minimal/partial editing renders the document understandable and rapid editing only removes the most blatant/significant errors. End users' expectations of the quality of the text are frequently lower than the expectations of experienced translators. Translators working as post editors must lower their quality standards, particularly when asked for partial or rapid editing. Such constant exposure to flawed language, however, may affect the post editor's linguistic development in the long term. I would add that minimally edited machine translation, among other issues, also promotes acceptance of lower-quality text in the general population who keeps reading/hearing ungrammatical or confusing language in various media.

David Rumsey "The End Game: Knowing Your End Client"

Freelance translators are at the end of the chain from end client via agency to the translator. But the agency's contact at the end client has his/her own supervisor, who also has a supervisor, ... Each person in that chain has his/her own needs and perceptions of the translation process. This means different players in this chain emphasize a different pillar in the service matrix: speed, quality or price. To meet these competing demands, the translator must remain flexible, particularly when dealing directly with end clients. By understanding the client's own system -- i.e., what steps precede the translation, how the completed translation will be used -- the translator can provide a better product and ensure smoother collaboration with the end client. Such information about the end client is, however, usually not available when working with agencies. Translators should therefore try to work directly with end clients as much as possible. In the ensuing discussion I also noted that there are also stakeholders beyond the end client, namely the audience for the completed translation, such as the readers of a manual for an electronic device. (See also my guest post about audiences on the ATA Science & Technology division's blog ).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment. I will review comments weekly, so please be patient if you are expecting a reply. - Barbara