Language TechnologiestranslationTranslation_Tips

A structural approach to translation quality

When I first started translating as a Turkish to English translator, my quality criteria was to understand the document, find the right terminology and send the translation on time. Seriously, it was a huge effort on my side to understand the text. I don’t know how many nights passed with little if any sleep to meet the next urgent job’s deadline. Judging by the posts of junior translators on Facebook, I think young colleagues are going through a similar path.

Well here is a bunch of advice from someone who has been there before.

1. Context vs structure

Trying to understand the context is a must and will make you a better translator. But if you want to be one of the best, you need to master in sentence structure. No kidding. Every language has its own rules for syntax or word order. And you know what, a lot of translators follow word by word; they do not have the guts or skills to transform the source sentence with a new structure in the target language. It takes time to learn sentence structures in your second language. Be patient and focus on structure. If your target language is English, focus on splitting long sentences, reducing relative clauses, replacing nouns with verbs, etc. Books like Diana Hacker’s are full of useful advice.

2. Essentials vs non-essentials

Some words are essential and you have to translate them correctly; some words are not essential and you can either drop them or simply play with them. Take connecting phrases for example; “in accordance with, accordingly, according to, etc.” aren’t they replaceable? The purpose of a connecting phrases is to provide logical and verbal bridge within a paragraph. Your task is to translate the bridge not the bricks. If you excel in filtering essential words, your sentences will flow naturally. And guess what, your clients will pay you more because your sentences will become more fluent.

3. Meaning vs usage

It might mean “to begin” or “to end”, but let’s explore a little bit futher. Perhaps it is more common to use “kick-off” for a campaign, and “terminate” for an agreement. You may think you are translating correctly, and in many occasions, the meaning may be just right. However, proper usage will give you a mature and native sound. Modern English has one million words. Don’t be shy and wield the power of words. Why not try some of our tests on this link?

4. Eyes vs tools

You may have the most meticulous error-eye and be proud for catching every little typo. Does it worth spending hours proofreading for mechanical errors? No, it doesn’t. Discover the power of QA tools. They are good, they are fast. You can even add your own style filters, terminology, TM and many more to some of them. There are some pretty cool stuff out there. Learn how to use them and your clients will love you for consistent and error-free work.

5. Domain vs global

It is a good idea to stay away from massive vocabulary demanding domains; i.e. medicine and law for a few years, until you master in research, structure, style and tools. It may sound a better idea to specialize in one or two domains. But you need to avoid a common misconception; words are not prisoners, they do not belong to a particular domain. I mean, hundreds of words you learn in medical translation, also have other usages. “Toxic” is a good example. There are toxic gases, toxic people and even toxic financial assets. Do not let specialization to compartmentalize your brain. If you can de-compartmentalize your vocabulary, your sentences will read more natural.

Now, if you agree with most of the above and want to develop your skills, focus on clear writing. There are so many resources on the internet and also on our blogs for better writing.

Good luck.

21 thoughts on “A structural approach to translation quality

  1. An absolutely true and realistic approach sounding a brilliant experience coming through years.

  2. It’s difficult to find experienced people about this subject, however, you seem like
    you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  3. I do consider all of the ideas you’ve offered in your post.
    They are very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are very quick for beginners.
    Could you please extend them a bit from subsequent time?
    Thanks for the post.

  4. Excellent blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?

    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a
    paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused ..
    Any recommendations? Many thanks!

  5. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button!
    I’d definitely donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to
    my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group.
    Talk soon!

  6. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.

    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post
    or vice-versa? My website goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel
    we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to send me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by the way!

  7. It’s very straightforward to find out any matter on net as compared to textbooks, as I found
    this piece of writing at this web page.

  8. Excellent blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to
    find good quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  9. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. Nevertheless think
    of if you added some great photos or videos to give
    your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but
    with images and video clips, this blog could undeniably be one of the
    greatest in its field. Excellent blog!

  10. Hello there, You’ve done an incredible job. I will
    certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

  11. First off I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if
    you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear
    your mind before writing. I have had a difficult
    time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
    I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints?
    Appreciate it!

  12. Hiya very nice site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your web site
    and take the feeds additionally?I’m satisfied to seek out
    a lot of useful info right here within the put up,
    we need develop extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing.

  13. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you
    may be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come
    back someday. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great writing, have
    a nice afternoon!

  14. Just desire to say your article is as astounding.
    The clarity for your submit is simply cool and that i can assume you are an expert in this subject.

    Well along with your permission let me to grasp your RSS
    feed to keep up to date with approaching post. Thanks 1,
    000,000 and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  15. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as
    I provide credit and sources back to your website?
    My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would truly benefit from some of the information you
    present here. Please let me know if this alright with you.
    Thank you!

  16. Wow, amazing blog format! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for?
    you made running a blog glance easy. The total look of your web site is magnificent, let alone the content material!

Comments are closed.