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By Mari D. González
Here are two interesting quotes on Nahuatl, the language spoken in what is today Central Mexico and parts of Central America which has given Spanish many words.
“At the conquest, with the introduction of the Latin alphabet, Nahuatl also became a literary language, and many chronicles, grammars, works of poetry, administrative documents and codices were written in it during the 16th and 17th centuries.” Cagner, 1980:13
The article “9 Little Translation Mistakes that Caused Big Problems” by Arika Okrent has clear examples of wrong translations and the implications for intercultural communication, international relations, and marketing.
Interestingly enough, most examples in the article involved translators who translated into their second or third language and not into their native language. Food for thought.
By Mari D. González
I attended the International Federation of Translators – FIT 19th World Congress in San Francisco representing the International Medical Interpreters Association – IMIA and participated in two of the sessions on August 3 and the Key Note Session on August 4. Here are my notes from the two sessions.
- Quality is in the eye of the beholder or defined by what the client wants.
- Standards are the requirements that ensure quality but do not delineate the “how” or “what” in a translation project.
- Standards define and measure the process, customer satisfaction, and the requirements.
- Basic translation job requirements are:
- Must done by a native speaker
- Who is a subject matter expert
- Has a number years of experience
- The translation process should include:
- Client-approved glossary agreed by translator
- ISO(International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards.
- GALA(Globalization & Localization Association) has developed new standards.
- Localization Standards are:
– EN15038 Europe
– ASTMF2575-06 International
– SAE-J2450 Automotive criteria (acknowledged because it taps into terminology and grammar)
In sum, the standards ensure a “process” that is uniform but not necessarily measure the “quality” of the content.
- In Europe, translations are done by a team of professionals that include a:
- Final Verificator
- Standards are overseen by the European Commission and focus on:
- In the U.S., standards are more detailed and include:
– Terminology and tools
– Specifications based on job standards and client’s requests such as:
- The editing and proofreading can be done by the translator.
- Standards are about meeting the expected requirements of the outcome.
- Mr. Ciyun described the current challenges China faces since the demand for translations has grown beyond the capacity to establish a nation-wide uniform translation process.
- The biggest challenged is the conflict between the market share and ensuring quality with the goal on customer satisfaction while working on the urgent need for standardization.
- An important fact he shared was the earnings disparity between a translator and an interpreter. An interpreter can make $1,000 per day compared to $30 per day earned by a translator.
- He spoke of
– A fast growing industry
– Chaotic market orders
– Translations that began as in-house work for which there is no regulation
– 1 million people is involved with doing translations
– Translators are faced with new Chinglish (English and Chinese) terms.