דפים בנושא:   < [1 2 3] >
Off topic: Disagreement with translation professor
מפרסם התגובה: artspan

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
גרמניה
Local time: 12:44
מגרמנית לאנגלית
I don't have any problem with "sings," but I guess the water could "whisper" ... Feb 25

That would stay related to the "speaking" of the stones and you would have a double alliteration as a substitute for all the a's in the Spanish version and the relationship at the level of content would also be maintained. I would only question the stones' "speaking" and the water's "singing" if the Spanish phrases really are extremely standardized, like "babbling brook," otherwise both English choices seem obviously pretty good.

Overall, it seems like your teacher's theory generall
... See more
That would stay related to the "speaking" of the stones and you would have a double alliteration as a substitute for all the a's in the Spanish version and the relationship at the level of content would also be maintained. I would only question the stones' "speaking" and the water's "singing" if the Spanish phrases really are extremely standardized, like "babbling brook," otherwise both English choices seem obviously pretty good.

Overall, it seems like your teacher's theory generally seems to be in the right place, but her practical suggestions seem fairly bizarre.

Like you, I don't like "brooks babble": As you said, it's hackneyed and, as your teacher said (albeit by way of the bizarre detour of her claim that babbling suggests boiling), it is not really associated with peace and tranquility.

I also think adding a subject ("the pilgrims" or "no one") does improve the second half of the sentence. Maybe with "to make themselves understood."

(And just because I can't help myself: I can't speak Spanish and don't have the context, but is that right that it's the pilgrims and not the stones and water that don't need words to make themselves understood?)

The rest of her comments seem more clearly problematic: Of course people often use "contrasts" in the sense you've used it. "Journey of culture" might be slightly awkward, but then something like "A cultural journey full of contrasts" would be far better than "cultural diversity," which is decisively different from what the Spanish says, might actually be negatively connotated for a significant portion of your viewers, and is factually wrong (the pilgrims are an international group and some of the people there are probably just hikers, but it is a Catholic pilgrimage route through a Catholic country).

And "losing yourself" and "finding yourself" works very well in a spiritual context, and the Spanish is elegant and important enough that it would be wrong to ignore it for no good reason. Maybe "in which to lose yourself" to make the positive connotation clearer (vs. becoming lost) or "in which to immerse yourself", but I wouldn't know how to finish either of those sentences elegantly. (And it's also important to avoid any embarrassing unintentional puns in the context of hiking.)
I also don't see how any viewer could need any help understanding that this is meant spiritually, and why didn't she complain about "be found," which really would miss the point about a journey of self-discovery?

So, again, the concrete criticisms and suggestions seem very problematic, but at least she is using these bad examples to point to real issues.

If you want to talk with her about this, it only makes sense if you can keep the conversation from being about her competence in English. If there are some places where you think she has good points or would genuinely like her to elaborate, start the conversation there and see where it takes you. If you are supposed to revise your work, then ask her what you should do to support your choices where you disagree with someone's suggestions (because you know that is a skill you will need to have for the future). And hope she doesn't see this discussion.
Collapse


artspan
 

artspan
ארצות הברית
Local time: 05:44
מספרדית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
What to do when standing your ground doesn't work? Feb 26

Vera Schoen wrote:

I don’t speak Spanish and English isn’t a working pair of mine, so I won’t venture an opinion on the actual translations (yours and your professor’s). But when I read your post I think of what happened to you as a perfect opportunity to practice something that will inevitably happen to you during your work as a translator: that a client, who does not master the language in question, requires you to make changes to a good translation you delivered. I don’t believe there is a single translator who has not been exposed to this. In such a case it’s important that you can politely and respectfully stand on your ground and defend / explain your choices. So, see it as a great opportunity to practice something you will have to master as a working translator anyway.


Yes, I was thinking this would end up being a challenge with clients someday as well. I just hope it's not something that happens every single time. I think I have politely and respectfully stood my ground and defended/explained my choices to my teacher, but her response was to basically repeat her original points. For instance, I explained that in English we do use "to lose yourself" as well as "to find yourself" in a spiritual sense, and even gave as an example the very famous song "Amazing Grace" ("I once was lost, but now I'm found.") She read my comments, but subsequently just repeated in another comment that in English we don't say "to lose yourself" or "to find yourself" in a spiritual context. Either she doesn't believe me, or she just can't lose face. It went the same with my other arguments. She has politely disregarded/ignored my points.

I think I will start another post/thread because I do have questions about what to do when this type of situation comes up in the course of working as a translator. I had a similar experience as a volunteer translator.


 

artspan
ארצות הברית
Local time: 05:44
מספרדית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
Amount and extent of comments is great; the content, not so much Feb 26

Gitte Hovedskov wrote:


If her job is to help you render Spanish texts into localised English, I think she is a goldmine for you. How many teachers take the time to comment on practically every sentence in a translation with such detail? Remember that SHE is a native Spanish speaker, not you. So, when she comments on so many of your sentences, it must be because she feels that your translations do not quite hit the sentiment of the Spanish sentences.



She is certainly one of the most thorough and conscientious teachers I've had and I appreciate that she takes the time to give so many comments. I'm not at all shocked by the amount or the extent of her comments. She is a native Spanish speaker so I'm sure she understands the Spanish side of it better than I do, but I am the native English speaker, and English is the target language. The problem is that some of her suggestions would sound fairly bad and unnatural in English, and she doesn't seem to be aware (or maybe able to acknowledge) that she doesn't have a feel for what sounds right in English. She's authoritatively telling me things about English usage and connotations that are simply wrong.

Her overall intent and strategy about being more creative and free and trying to maintain the poetic tone, I understand. That's not the issue. You told me I should communicate with her instead of sulking on here. I am communicating quite a lot with her and I'm not sure why you'd assume I'm not.


 

artspan
ארצות הברית
Local time: 05:44
מספרדית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
I hope I will learn a good strategy for dealing with it Feb 26

Christine Andersen wrote:

A client once complained about a colleague of mine who had called a crystal chandelier immaculate. The client thought this was close to blasphemy, and only the Virgin Mary could be immaculate…
even though we found several examples of other things, we had to find another word to describe the chandelier. The client went for 'brilliant', which was a safe choice, but somehow did not quite have the same sparkle!

You will find that happens again and again…


I bet it will happen again and again, I just hope it won't be taken to an extreme. I think I can handle it if they have a strong objection to a particular word and I have to choose another word that's adequate but maybe not my first choice. It's different if they have 25 objections and insist that I change it to something that I know is incorrect or sounds horrible. Therein would lie a sticky problem.

Thank you for sharing the Lord Tennyson poem. I didn't know that was the origin of "babbling brook." I thought it might be from Lewis Carroll or maybe Shakespeare.


 

artspan
ארצות הברית
Local time: 05:44
מספרדית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your response Feb 26

Anton Konashenok wrote:

Regarding the specific examples you provided, I think the most important positive lesson contained in your professor's critique is that being too literal is usually bad. Indeed, inexperienced translators tend to stay too close to the source much more often than depart too far from it. On the other hand, the proposed "journey of cultural diversity" looks like a tacky cliché to me - but again, this is only my personal opinion.


Being too literal can be bad, but there do exist cases in which being fairly literal is also the most natural and idiomatic way to express it in the target language. English and Spanish are not hugely distant languages and I feel like if the author has expressed it in such a way that a literal rendering sounds perfectly fine and conveys the same sense, why change it? Why reinvent the wheel? I hear you though, I understand that we translators with less experience have a strong tendency to stay too close to the source. I can appreciate the spirit and intent of what my professor is saying, just not the specifics of her suggestions. I agree that "a journey of cultural diversity" sounds like a tacky cliché. When I said I didn't much care for it, she said, "We may not like it, but that phrase is in fashion now."


 

artspan
ארצות הברית
Local time: 05:44
מספרדית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
I most heartily agree!!! Feb 26

Robert Rietvelt wrote:


I don't advocate literal translations. I am a supporter of translating more freely, but please stick to the content and don't come up with your own fabrications, or become a writer.

By the way, "you can't use 'babble' because it is associated with boiling' What does your professor think about 'ringing'? My first association is a telephone.

[Edited at 2020-02-25 11:47 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-02-25 11:50 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-02-25 11:51 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-02-25 11:52 GMT]


Yes! I agree with you completely. In studying translation I've been noticing more and more translations that have gratuitous changes in content. I believe a translator should be creative if the genre calls for it or if matching the tone or true meaning necessitates a bit of adaptation to the target culture, or if there is some other concrete justification for it. But I think a translator needs to put their own ego aside and resist the urge to leave their personal touch at every opportunity. I just want to be a conduit so that people in the target language can understand exactly what the author wanted to express, and in the way they wanted to express it, or as close as I can get.

I don't like "Here rocks ring" either, because I had never even heard that collocation in English until she made me search for another word. I still don't think it really should count as an established collocation in this context. "Ringing rocks" isn't to my knowledge ever used in poetic/personification kind of way. I just looked up "rock sounds" and found that "ringing rocks" are a geological phenomenon. Some rocks produce an audible tone when struck. But now that I've mentioned it to my teacher, she seems excited about it. She likes it, so I'm probably stuck with it. Only she wants me to say some grammatical atrocity like "Here rocks ringing."


Robert Rietvelt
 

artspan
ארצות הברית
Local time: 05:44
מספרדית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
My reasoning for not putting "pilgrims" Feb 26

Michael Wetzel wrote:

Like you, I don't like "brooks babble": As you said, it's hackneyed and, as your teacher said (albeit by way of the bizarre detour of her claim that babbling suggests boiling), it is not really associated with peace and tranquility.

I also think adding a subject ("the pilgrims" or "no one") does improve the second half of the sentence. Maybe with "to make themselves understood."

(And just because I can't help myself: I can't speak Spanish and don't have the context, but is that right that it's the pilgrims and not the stones and water that don't need words to make themselves understood?)



Thank you for all these thoughtful suggestions. I couldn't agree more with most of what you said. Your suggestion of "water whispers" may prove very useful for me, except I suspect she may reject it since "whisper" isn't an already-established "water sound" in English, just as "sings" isn't. I don't know that the water singing part is extremely standardized in Spanish, but the "stones speak" is at least not unheard of (although I don't think it's extremely standardized either.) I'm pretty stuck on the rock issue because she won't let me say "stones speak" (which sounds pretty good to me), and I am hard-pressed to find an already-established word for a sound that a rock makes which implies communication or any sort of personification. As far as I know we don't have that in English. It looks like I'm stuck with "rocks ring" because the professor took a liking to it.

I don't like "brooks babble," but I do think it is associated with peace and tranquility...

The reason I don't like adding "pilgrims" to the second part: The original in Spanish literally translates to: "Here, stones speak and water sings, and no words are needed to understand one another." As you can see, they are talking about the stones and water communicating, but it's an obvious metaphor drawing a parallel to how the people walking the trail also need no words to understand each other (i.e. they may not even speak the same language, yet they feel a sense of camaraderie.) I believe that by changing the second half of the sentence to "pilgrims" (or creating any active subject other than the rocks and water), it destroys the effect of this rhetorical device. It would render the first half of the sentence pointless and a little crazy-sounding. Yes, we are really talking about the pilgrims, but I think the point is obvious enough, I don't want to beat it into people's heads with a sledgehammer. It would sound dumb. In my opinion. It would take something kind of clever and beautiful and chop its legs off.


 

artspan
ארצות הברית
Local time: 05:44
מספרדית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you. Feb 26

Michael Wetzel wrote:


If you want to talk with her about this, it only makes sense if you can keep the conversation from being about her competence in English. If there are some places where you think she has good points or would genuinely like her to elaborate, start the conversation there and see where it takes you. If you are supposed to revise your work, then ask her what you should do to support your choices where you disagree with someone's suggestions (because you know that is a skill you will need to have for the future). And hope she doesn't see this discussion.



This is good advice. I certainly won't go to her with any criticism that she doesn't know English as well as she thinks she does, but I've found out that defending/explaining my choices isn't going to go anywhere with her. I laid out my thoughts/opinions/justifications, and her response to all of that was to simply repeat her initial suggestions. I have put a lot of effort into explaining and advocating for my choices, but I'm out of energy for that. I'm just going to take as many of her suggestions as I can possibly stand to, and then if she docks me points in my final grade because I failed to re-create the exact version she is imagining (or more likely her own translation that she has already rendered), I'm just going to try to forget about it. How this will all play out in the work world, on the other hand, I'm really not sure.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
צרפת
Local time: 12:44
חבר (2018)
מצרפתית לאנגלית
. Feb 26

artspan wrote:

Vera Schoen wrote:

I don’t speak Spanish and English isn’t a working pair of mine, so I won’t venture an opinion on the actual translations (yours and your professor’s). But when I read your post I think of what happened to you as a perfect opportunity to practice something that will inevitably happen to you during your work as a translator: that a client, who does not master the language in question, requires you to make changes to a good translation you delivered. I don’t believe there is a single translator who has not been exposed to this. In such a case it’s important that you can politely and respectfully stand on your ground and defend / explain your choices. So, see it as a great opportunity to practice something you will have to master as a working translator anyway.


Yes, I was thinking this would end up being a challenge with clients someday as well. I just hope it's not something that happens every single time. I think I have politely and respectfully stood my ground and defended/explained my choices to my teacher, but her response was to basically repeat her original points. For instance, I explained that in English we do use "to lose yourself" as well as "to find yourself" in a spiritual sense, and even gave as an example the very famous song "Amazing Grace" ("I once was lost, but now I'm found.") She read my comments, but subsequently just repeated in another comment that in English we don't say "to lose yourself" or "to find yourself" in a spiritual context. Either she doesn't believe me, or she just can't lose face. It went the same with my other arguments. She has politely disregarded/ignored my points.

I'm glad you reacted to Vera's comment which was very pertinent.
This is one of the things I have learned over the years. The client is always right, except when they're not, and there are plenty of times when they are not, especially when your target language is not their native language. And of course everyone speaks English so they think they can criticise your work. You need oodles of patience, and to provide one if not several instances to demonstrate usage for each term they are quibbling with. Your example from Amazing Grace is fine and should have done the trick. Are you sure she read that comment?

I have twice had clients who ask loads of questions. Once, it was a company that had had a bad experience with incompetent translators. After a few months of asking questions, they learned to trust me, and the company became one of our best clients. The other company read the answers to their questions and wrote back to the PM saying that I obviously knew what I was talking about and that from then on they wanted me to do all their translations because I also had a much richer vocabulary than previous translators working on their files. One of the best compliments I've ever had about my work, and right at a time when the PM was acting like I must be incompetent since they were asking so many questions about my work.

So it's definitely worth it to learn how to counter stupid criticism.


artspan
Christine Andersen
Vera Schoen
P.L.F.Persio
 

Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
שוודיה
Local time: 12:44
חבר (2008)
מגרמנית לשוודית
+ ...
Off topic: to stand one’s ground Feb 26

I don’t want to hijack this thread, but since you asked:

I always start by thanking the client fort his/her input. That relaxes them and shows I’m open for discussions. Then I explain my choices by providing examples to prove my point. I always use “genuine” sources (i.e. the Swedish National Encyclopaedia or, like your example, a well-known text). I try to be as pedagogical as possible to make sure the client gets my point. And to be honest, that almost always does the tric
... See more
I don’t want to hijack this thread, but since you asked:

I always start by thanking the client fort his/her input. That relaxes them and shows I’m open for discussions. Then I explain my choices by providing examples to prove my point. I always use “genuine” sources (i.e. the Swedish National Encyclopaedia or, like your example, a well-known text). I try to be as pedagogical as possible to make sure the client gets my point. And to be honest, that almost always does the trick, and the client appreciates that I took the time to explain. Then there are those who don’t want to change their view. That, thankfully, happens very seldom (twice in my 15 years long career). In those cases, I let the client know, that I’m perfectly willing to make the change, but that I advise strongly against it. If that doesn’t work, I make the changes but add a statement (in bold text), that I only did the change on the clients expressed request.

And don’t worry, this doesn’t happen all the time, but often enough to require a strategy. 😊
Collapse


artspan
Kay Denney
Christine Andersen
 

Gitte Hovedskov
דנמרק
Local time: 12:44
מאנגלית לדנית
+ ...
Apologies Feb 26

artspan wrote:

Her overall intent and strategy about being more creative and free and trying to maintain the poetic tone, I understand. That's not the issue. You told me I should communicate with her instead of sulking on here. I am communicating quite a lot with her and I'm not sure why you'd assume I'm not.


I agree and apologise, my mistake in assuming something about you that I could not know.


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
גרמניה
Local time: 12:44
מגרמנית לאנגלית
You're right about "babbling" ... Feb 26

You're absolutely right about the connotations of "babbling" and it fits better with "singing." I'd gotten sidetracked by my "whispering" alternative.

The "pilgrims" issue seems like a very nice example for a significant translation problem: Preserving an original text's lack of clarity in our translations can be very important and it can be very difficult - particularly when the author's intentional ambiguity is clear, but the phrasing doesn't even work that well in the source lan
... See more
You're absolutely right about the connotations of "babbling" and it fits better with "singing." I'd gotten sidetracked by my "whispering" alternative.

The "pilgrims" issue seems like a very nice example for a significant translation problem: Preserving an original text's lack of clarity in our translations can be very important and it can be very difficult - particularly when the author's intentional ambiguity is clear, but the phrasing doesn't even work that well in the source language. (Preserving ambiguity can also be an important practical skill in our work: sometimes the original's ambiguity seems unintended, but there is no way or no reasonably efficient way to resolve which possible reading was intended).
The phrasing of your original attempt at dealing with this issue seemed awkward to me and beating this sentence into shape might be a nice exercise, even if your professor doesn't care and seems to have overlooked the issue that led you to push the boundaries of English syntax in the first place.

In my experience, it is very rare (once per at least several dozen clients) that someone engages in the kind of thing your professor is doing. And generally, when something tending in that direction occurs, their comments include a substantial number of genuinely helpful insights or clarifications to accompany the headscratchers.

Vera and Kay have already talked about their experiences for the worst-case scenario, so I'd just like to something about the normal-case scenario.

I think that most people fairly quickly arrive at and embrace the golden rule of editing:
(1) As editors, we should not change anything unless it is clearly wrong or our change makes it clearly AND significantly better. (2) As people whose work is being edited, we should not reject or comment on any suggested changes unless they are clearly wrong or they make things clearly AND significantly worse.

And then there is the iron rule of editing:
If we explain why a change seems clearly wrong or bad and the client still wants to go ahead with that change and pay us in full, then we should defer to their wishes. In the end, it is their text and they also have more knowledge and a better understanding of the larger context, which means that they could very well be right.

And in a translation studies program, it seems like having everyone translate the same text and then going through issues like this and discussing alternative solutions as a whole class (or in smaller groups) would be a much more productive way of doing things. It would also be much more efficient for your professor, who is clearly very dedicated to her work, but who is probably killing herself trying to provide far less productive individual comments on a never-ending pile of exercises.
Collapse


artspan
Anna Jaffe
 

artspan
ארצות הברית
Local time: 05:44
מספרדית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
inspiring story! Feb 27

Kay Denney wrote:

Your example from Amazing Grace is fine and should have done the trick. Are you sure she read that comment?


I thought I was sure, but now I am starting to wonder if she may have missed it. I think I'll check on that if I have time.

Kay Denney wrote:
I have twice had clients who ask loads of questions. Once, it was a company that had had a bad experience with incompetent translators. After a few months of asking questions, they learned to trust me, and the company became one of our best clients. The other company read the answers to their questions and wrote back to the PM saying that I obviously knew what I was talking about and that from then on they wanted me to do all their translations because I also had a much richer vocabulary than previous translators working on their files. One of the best compliments I've ever had about my work, and right at a time when the PM was acting like I must be incompetent since they were asking so many questions about my work.

So it's definitely worth it to learn how to counter stupid criticism.


Wow, thanks for sharing your story. That's really encouraging and valuable for me to remember. I think I'll be saving some of the responses from this thread so I can refer to them in the future. That would be really worrisome having the PM think you're incompetent. If I were in your place I'm sure I would have been tempted to either give up or doubt myself. What a validation and a great lesson learned.


 

artspan
ארצות הברית
Local time: 05:44
מספרדית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
What a relief! Feb 27

Vera Schoen wrote:

I don’t want to hijack this thread, but since you asked:

I always start by thanking the client fort his/her input. That relaxes them and shows I’m open for discussions. Then I explain my choices by providing examples to prove my point. I always use “genuine” sources (i.e. the Swedish National Encyclopaedia or, like your example, a well-known text). I try to be as pedagogical as possible to make sure the client gets my point. And to be honest, that almost always does the trick, and the client appreciates that I took the time to explain. Then there are those who don’t want to change their view. That, thankfully, happens very seldom (twice in my 15 years long career). In those cases, I let the client know, that I’m perfectly willing to make the change, but that I advise strongly against it. If that doesn’t work, I make the changes but add a statement (in bold text), that I only did the change on the clients expressed request.

And don’t worry, this doesn’t happen all the time, but often enough to require a strategy. 😊


Whew! What a relief!!! That really takes a load off my mind. I was worried it would be like this almost every single time in the work world.

I like your procedure for making client-requested changes. That clears up some of the confusion I've had in the back of my mind for a long time regarding how to maintain a distinction between your own translation work and someone else's (the client's) translation work. Your statement in bold text is a good way of protecting the integrity of your own work while satisfying the client's need. Even though I know it's a good and professional solution, the idea of doing it feels kind of intimidating to me (for fear that they may be offended or something.) Nevertheless I think it's the right approach so I will work myself up to it when the time comes.


 

artspan
ארצות הברית
Local time: 05:44
מספרדית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Feb 27

Gitte Hovedskov wrote:

I agree and apologise, my mistake in assuming something about you that I could not know.


No apology needed, but thank you.


 
דפים בנושא:   < [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Disagreement with translation professor

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »



ProZ.com Headquarters
235 Harrison Street Mail Drop #22
Syracuse, NY 13202
USA
+1-315-463-7323
ProZ.com Argentina
Calle 14 nro. 622 1/2 entre 44 y 45
La Plata (B1900AND), Buenos Aires
Argentina
+54-221-425-1266
ProZ.com Ukraine
6 Karazina St.
Kharkiv, 61002
Ukraine
+380 57 7281624
מתרגמים אלו מתאמים את תרגום ProZ.com ל-עברית

Team Coordinators: Addie Ney
נא שים לב שלא כל האתר תורגם. לוקליזציית האתר היא תהליך המתבצע בכמה שלבים, כאשר תחילה מתורגמים האזורים הפעילים ביותר שבאתר. אם אתה מוצא שגיאה בתרגום של חלק כלשהו באתר שכבר תורגם, נא עדכן את אחד ממתאמי הלוקליזציה שלעיל.
לקבלת מידע אודות האופן שבו באפשרותך לסייע לתהליך הלוקליזציה של האתר, אנא לחץ כאן.

Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • חיפוש מונח
  • עבודות
  • פורומים
  • Multiple search