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La RAE and US Spanish
By Mari D. González
I completed a translation project over the weekend and felt satisfied to deliver my work before the deadline. My client who does not speak Spanish fluently celled immediately to ask me to edit my work because she had found a mistake.
She discovered that in previous translations I have used “1ro” to abbreviate “first,” but this time I used “1.o” instead.
Why the change?
I wanted to follow the Royal Spanish Academy‘s (Real Academia Española-RAE) standard. In doing so, I confused my client and it is very likely that I’d have confused the intended audience who are more familiar with “1ro” too.
While in Mexico the agreed abbreviation for “primero [first]’ is “1o” without the dot or the “r” in between, in the U.S., the most common abbreviation is “1ro” which emulates “1st.” Both deviate from La RAE’s standards to accommodate to national preferences.
Because in intercultural communication as in translation meaning matters more than literal interpretation, I corrected my translation to follow not La RAE’s recommendations, but my client’s suggestion.
When Translations Drift Away from Meaning
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.
Social Media Is Changing Translation
By Mari D. González
Keynote speaker Jaap van der Meer, TAUS Director, addressed “Translation in the 21st Century” at the 2011 FIT World Congress in San Francisco.
Jaap spoke about the changes to and implications of the translation process as new translation technologies and online communication become more prevalent and accessible. He emphasized that translation is one of the basic needs of human civilization, thus we need the help of computers.
Topics and questions Jaap discussed include:
- Translation companies, like other businesses, are in need of a new strategy.
- How do incoming text messages get translated?
- Does “one translation fits all” still apply?
- The consumer is involved by asking and getting responses from each other.
- Translations are being supplemented with volunteers or done via “crowdsourcing,” in which a project is “outsourced to the crowd.” People respond to an open invitation to collaborate and work as one community. Facebook crowd sourced the translation of its page to different languages.
Jaap concluded that the “top-down globalization, export mentalityis phasing out.” Translating is no longer a requirement fulfilled by an individual or a specialized team. The new translation process is CIRCULAR, on going, customized, and user driven.
As a result, companies have to take notice of the end user who is generating content, contributing, translating, and adding new vocabulary.
Translation Standards – FIT 2011 World Congress
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.
I. “Quality Standards and the Translator’s Role” presented by Kristen Corridan, LUZ, Inc., Procurement and Quality Manager.
- 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.
II. Translation Quality Standards presented by Jiri Stejskal, U.S; Beatriz A. Bonnet, U.S., Zhang Ciyun, China; and Reiner Heard, Germany.
- 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.