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Why do YOU translate into a non-native language?
Auteur du fil: TranslationCe

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:55
Membre (2018)
français vers anglais
I don't Feb 18, 2016

My French is fine. Like any foreigner I get gender mixed up every now and then (like "moustique", I know it's masculine but it just sounds like a feminine word to me, rhyming with boutique for example) when I'm speaking but when I write I know it's flawless.

But my brain is wired to translate into English and I find it hard to work the other way. I haven't needed to think in English then translate my thought into French for so long that it just doesn't happen any more.

... See more
My French is fine. Like any foreigner I get gender mixed up every now and then (like "moustique", I know it's masculine but it just sounds like a feminine word to me, rhyming with boutique for example) when I'm speaking but when I write I know it's flawless.

But my brain is wired to translate into English and I find it hard to work the other way. I haven't needed to think in English then translate my thought into French for so long that it just doesn't happen any more.

Tell me a word in French, I'll tell you the equivalent in English immediately unless I've had a glass or two of wine in which I'll tell you I'm off duty. But tell me a word in English, I might be able to tell you what sort of translation I use it in, but the French just won't come unless I try very hard. With millions of dictionaries to hand on Internet my brain doesn't even want to try.

BTW I don't spend much time on Kudoz at all (partly because of what I have read in discussions here) but if I did I would feel perfectly qualified to help someone translating into French in one of my specialist subjects.
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564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Danemark
Local time: 23:55
danois vers anglais
+ ...
Because I can and because I enjoy it... Feb 18, 2016

I am a native Dane, and I translate mainly into English.

Why:

1. I enjoy it more than translating into my native language, Danish.
2. I am 100 % certain that I understand source texts written in my native language.
3. I trained for translation in both language directions.
4. I have the necessary experience, i.e. many years of 'cultural immersion' in England as well as many years' experience as a translator.
5. My direct (Danish) clients seem to
... See more
I am a native Dane, and I translate mainly into English.

Why:

1. I enjoy it more than translating into my native language, Danish.
2. I am 100 % certain that I understand source texts written in my native language.
3. I trained for translation in both language directions.
4. I have the necessary experience, i.e. many years of 'cultural immersion' in England as well as many years' experience as a translator.
5. My direct (Danish) clients seem to prefer to deal with a native Dane. I offer my services in both language directions, but most of my clients need translations into my foreign language, not my native language.

I wouldn't dream of claiming to be a native speaker of English, as I am not. That doesn't stop me from believing that I have the ability and every right to translate into English, though.
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TranslationCe
Local time: 23:55
italien vers anglais
AUTEUR DU FIL
Askers, not answerers Feb 18, 2016

DJHartmann wrote:

TranslationCe wrote:

I just had a quick look at the first 50 Kudoz questions in this combination.


I believe this is where you're pretext is wrong. I often answer Kudoz questions and get scored correctly for English-Thai. I list this combination on my profile but would never accept a job into anything other than my native English.




I'm not talking about non-native answerers but non-native askers. I know that some translators work from Italian to a less common language and sometimes ask questions in the Italian to English section to help them understand the meaning of the Italian, as there are more active translators answering there.

I did make the point at the beginning that I understand that non-natives work in combinations where there are not enough natives to meet demand. I suppose I was hoping for non-natives who translate say Italian to English or Spanish to English to reply.


 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:55
anglais vers polonais
+ ...
b/c Feb 18, 2016

Because I travelled to an English speaking country at the age of ten, completed elementary school there, then graduated from high school, then went to and graduated from university, then lived there for a while more, then went back to a non-English speaking country effectively feeling more comfortable with English than with my "native" language", because I (still) think in English, because I work with native English speakers on a daily basis and....................


..........
... See more
Because I travelled to an English speaking country at the age of ten, completed elementary school there, then graduated from high school, then went to and graduated from university, then lived there for a while more, then went back to a non-English speaking country effectively feeling more comfortable with English than with my "native" language", because I (still) think in English, because I work with native English speakers on a daily basis and....................


..........because I like it.



[Edited at 2016-02-18 14:32 GMT]
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Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 22:55
Membre (2009)
néerlandais vers anglais
+ ...
agree with Gerard Feb 18, 2016

Gerard de Noord wrote:

Hi Jenny,

Because I never translate from Dutch to English commercially, I feel free to answer this question on behalf of Dutch colleagues who do. In the Dutch to English language pair the demand exceeds the offer. Not enough English native speakers are able and willing to translate from Dutch.

Cheers,
Gerard


That's it in a nutshell, at least in my pair/direction (Dutch>English).

I hardly ever outsource, but when I do, it's damn near impossible to find a native speaker of English to translate from Dutch into English. Also, since most of the stuff I/we do is fairly prosaic (business correspondence, IT, basic contracts, etc.), you can often get away with using a Dutchie who knows the subject area well.

On a related note, I think there is a veritable gat in de markt for native English-speaking proofreaders who specialise in fixing up the special form of English produced by all these Dutch translators translating into English. Hell, there's even a great book about it (which I highly recommend!): Righting English That's Gone Dutch written by Joy Burrough-Boenisch.






 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 22:55
russe vers anglais
+ ...
In memoriam
Like Tom et al., I don't Feb 18, 2016

When I'd only been freelancing for a couple of years, I thought more highly of my abilities than I do now, and I undertook the translation into Russian of a manual for the MiG-21, which was in my specialty field of aero engineering.
I looked at it again a few years later and was appalled by how bad it was. I didn't get paid in full for it, not because the agency thought badly of it, it was just an unreliable agency. But it served me right! It was a weird job anyway, it had been translated
... See more
When I'd only been freelancing for a couple of years, I thought more highly of my abilities than I do now, and I undertook the translation into Russian of a manual for the MiG-21, which was in my specialty field of aero engineering.
I looked at it again a few years later and was appalled by how bad it was. I didn't get paid in full for it, not because the agency thought badly of it, it was just an unreliable agency. But it served me right! It was a weird job anyway, it had been translated from Russian into Arabic and from Arabic back into Russian. You'd think they could at least have found the original Russian.
But in the years I have been in ProZ I have come across a few native Russian speakers who really can produce perfect English, so I'm not against the idea in principle.
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Adieu
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
suédois vers anglais
+ ...
To be contrary? Feb 18, 2016

Y'know, having grown up with a Greek father, a Chinese/Thai mother and a Dutch/Venezuelan stepfather mainly in Russia, Turkey, India and Switzerland, it stands to reason that my preferred translation pair is Swedish to English.

Adieu
 

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 23:55
Membre (2011)
espagnol vers anglais
+ ...
I do the same Feb 18, 2016

Christine Andersen wrote:

I do it for friends who can't pay.
I live in it and speak it more in daily life than my native language.
It feels to me like a second native language.
I do actually seriously do it as an exercise, because it improves my translation the other way.

But OK, calm down everyone, I never do it for my professional clients.


[Edited at 2016-02-18 15:31 GMT]


 

philgoddard
États-Unis
Membre (2009)
allemand vers anglais
+ ...
This is not a representative sample. Feb 18, 2016

This is a great question, and we've already had some convincing arguments in favour of non-native translation. But they've all been from people who are close to totally bilingual, and written in perfect or near-perfect English.

I'd be really interested in hearing from the many people who are useless at translating out of their mother tongues, but who still seem to make a living out of it. Shame that's not going to happen...
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This is a great question, and we've already had some convincing arguments in favour of non-native translation. But they've all been from people who are close to totally bilingual, and written in perfect or near-perfect English.

I'd be really interested in hearing from the many people who are useless at translating out of their mother tongues, but who still seem to make a living out of it. Shame that's not going to happen
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Ben Senior  Identity Verified
Allemagne
Local time: 23:55
allemand vers anglais
I don't either, but ... Feb 18, 2016

I'm English and my wife is German. I do just DE>EN and she does EN>DE. Then comes the but. We work together on both directions, answering questions that we have and afterwards proof reading (in the non native speaking direction) to see that the sour text was correctly understood. Teamwork is the way translation should be done, but most freelances just don't have the opportunity to do it.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 22:55
Membre (2007)
anglais
+ ...
Then why have it on your profile? Feb 18, 2016

DJHartmann wrote:

TranslationCe wrote:

I just had a quick look at the first 50 Kudoz questions in this combination.


I believe this is where you're pretext is wrong. I often answer Kudoz questions and get scored correctly for English-Thai. I list this combination on my profile but would never accept a job into anything other than my native English.

If I were to work into my non-native language, I could never guarantee its accuracy, it would take too long to be financially viable and I really wouldn't enjoy it as much.

Answering Kudoz on the other hand is great fun!

Your profile clearly says that English to Thai is one of your working language pairs, so presumably it's misleading. It's also possible to list non-working pairs and then get notifications of KudoZ questions etc. So perhaps that's what you should be doing? I sometimes answer EN>FR questions (although I more often comment on others' answers or use the discussion box), but I would never put it as a working pair. I've just added ES>EN too as I have a great interest in the pair, but my Spanish is nowhere near good enough yet to translate from it.


 

The Misha
Local time: 17:55
russe vers anglais
+ ...
And another bunch of because's Feb 18, 2016

PAS wrote:

Because I travelled to an English speaking country at the age of ten, completed elementary school there, then graduated from high school, then went to and graduated from university, then lived there for a while more, then went back to a non-English speaking country effectively feeling more comfortable with English than with my "native" language", because I (still) think in English, because I work with native English speakers on a daily basis and....................


..........because I like it.



[Edited at 2016-02-18 14:32 GMT]


Because this is the language of the country I have lived in for most of my adult life.
Because this is the language I used to learn pretty much everything I know professionally.
Because this is the language I am most comfortable with and use it daily for all kinds of purposes - from writing original fiction to communicating with my children to bickering with my wife, when it comes to that.
Because at this point it is so infinitely harder for me to go the other way around, and I am nowhere near as good at it.
Because I can.
Because that's what I want.
Because I don't think I need anyone's blessing or permission to do it.

Now, not to put too fine a point on it, how is this anyone's business, except mine and my clients'? Why does this keep on popping again and again? Why do some feel so anxious to save the world, "the translation industry," and all of us poor sinners from ourselves?


Chiara Foppa Pedretti
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 22:55
Membre (2007)
anglais
+ ...
@ PAS and The Misha Feb 18, 2016

Nobody criticises those with native-equivalent abilities, AFAIK. I don't think you should feel concerned by the criticism: you know you can provide excellent translations in English. But you too must come across countless examples of translators translating into English when they can barely construct sentences in the language. I doubt that there's the same problem into your native languages of Polish and Russian respectively.

 

Laura Kingdon  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:55
Membre (2015)
français vers anglais
+ ...
I don't, but... Feb 18, 2016

It's far more common for native Korean speakers to translate into English than for native English speakers to do so, and that's almost entirely because there just aren't enough native English speakers who also speak Korean. I think there's also often a preference among Koreans for giving their work to other Koreans. What happens often is that a native Korean translates into English and then the translation is proofread by a native English speaker, who may or may not speak Korean. This often lead... See more
It's far more common for native Korean speakers to translate into English than for native English speakers to do so, and that's almost entirely because there just aren't enough native English speakers who also speak Korean. I think there's also often a preference among Koreans for giving their work to other Koreans. What happens often is that a native Korean translates into English and then the translation is proofread by a native English speaker, who may or may not speak Korean. This often leads to appalling results.

As for me, it takes me much longer to write in a language other than English even if I understand it perfectly, so I'd have to charge more for translations I did into either Korean or French to make them worth my time, and then I know I'd make some mistakes in my writing since I do not have native speaker-level writing skills in either language, so the client would effectively be paying more for a lower-quality translation. That's not a great deal for either of us, so I don't offer those services.
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Jacqueline White
Autriche
Local time: 23:55
hongrois vers anglais
+ ...
Query about Scandinavian languages Feb 18, 2016

Would you say that native-English speakers who have mastered, say, a Scandinavian language are at a significant advantage on the market?

In the case of Hungarian, I feel being a native English speaker has enabled me to get more interesting jobs (but rates in general tend to be lower than for German to English, for example, so I actually work relatively little in that pair).


 
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