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Results 1 to 10 of 221 (page 1 of 23)

10 interesting facts on translation and translators

A blog post containing 10 interesting facts on translation and translators to mark International Translation Day.Every year on September 30, we celebrate International Translation Day. Why on that date? Because it coincides with the Feast of St. Jerome, who was one of the first translators to translate the Bible into Latin. International Translation Day is about celebrating translators and the work they do. To mark the occasion, I’ve compiled 10 interesting facts on the fascinating world of translation! Some translation stats 1) The 5 most translated languages in the world are English, French, German, Russian and Italian. 2) The Bible, which can be read in nearly 650 languages, is thought to be the most translated publication (and at least one of its books has been translated into 3,225 languages). Next is the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is available in more than 500 languages. 3) Certain literary classics have also been translated into many languages, such as The Adventures of Pinocchio (available in 260 languages) and The Little Prince (available in 300 languages). Translated into 70 languages, the Harry Potter series still has a way to go! 4) About 330,000 people practise translation as a profession, and that doesn't include those who do it informally. 5) According to a UNESCO database called "Index Translationum," which lists all of the books translated in the world, the top 3 most translated authors are Agatha Christie, Jules Verne and William Shakespeare. The work of translators 6) The English verb "translate" comes from "translatus," a form of the Latin verb "transferre," meaning "to bring over, carry over." 7) The translation profession is more than 2,000 years old! That's right: the Old Testament is thought to have been translated into Greek in the 3rd century BC, in which case it would be the oldest recorded translation. 8) Scientific knowledge has long been shared through translation. For example, Émilie de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet, an 18th-century physicist, was the first person to translate Isaac Newton's law of universal gravitation into French. 9) Translators are known for inventing alphabets, the precious tools that allow us to share our knowledge. Mesrop Machtots invented the Armenian and Albanian alphabets. Saint Cyril invented the Glagolitic alphabet, the precursor to the Cyrillic alphabet, which bears his name. The Cyrillic alphabet is used today to write many languages, including Russian, Bulgarian and Serbian. And a little closer to home, we have James Evans in Manitoba, who invented Cree syllabics, which are used to write the most widely spoken Indigenous language in Canada. 10) Translators play a key role in providing access to foreign literature. Portuguese writer José Saramago, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, expressed this reality so well when he said, "Writers make national literature, while translators make universal literature." What do you think of Saramago's quote? Have you discovered authors you love through translated works? If so, share them with us in the comments below! Translated by Natalie Ballard, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 66,267

Translation: Let’s trust the professionals

An English blog post outlining the reasons you should use the services of a professional translator.Like you, I wouldn’t ask a friend to fix my car just because he likes to tinker, or ask someone to prepare my income tax return just because she’s good with numbers. It’s the same with translation: it’s crucial to entrust your English texts to a professional translator. I live in Toronto, where there are few Francophones and even fewer fluently bilingual people. This state of affairs can result in some pretty comical situations in everyday life, but especially at the office. There are pros and cons of machine translation Reluctant to bother me for “simple” translations, my Anglophone colleagues are increasingly relying on machine translation tools to come up with a quick translation for a sentence. Just hearing the words “machine translation” makes me cringe. Let’s get something straight: machine translation has its advantages, but it has a lot of limitations, too. The software just needs to misinterpret one word, and you end up with a sentence that’s completely absurd. Of all the nonsensical things I’ve ever seen, my favourite is still a website’s home page button, which had been translated into French by the word Domicile instead of Accueil! As you can well imagine, my eyes almost popped out of their sockets when I saw that mistake! Asking a Francophone for help may not be a good idea Maybe some of your colleagues, acquaintances, neighbours and friends speak French as a mother tongue, but that fact doesn’t make them translators! In fact, knowing how to speak French is one thing, but knowing how to write it correctly is something else. And we all know that the French language is full of subtleties, exceptions and traps that turn it into a minefield for anyone who hasn’t mastered it. Bilingual Francophones are not necessarily capable of translating a text, and they don’t necessarily want to, either. Translation isn’t just replacing one word with another We’ve all seen bad translations before. And no one appreciates poor-quality service, even if it was inexpensive. That’s why it’s important to make an informed choice and opt for an experienced translator, with genuine expertise. Canada is lucky enough to have excellent translation associations, including the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario and the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agréés du Québec, as well as many others. I recommend that you use them to find a professional! What does it mean to be a professional translator? What are the characteristics of professional translators? Here’s a short list for your enlightenment, but note that translators do not have to meet all the criteria below to give excellent service. They have studied translation or have equivalent training. They are members of a professional translators’ association. They translate into their mother tongue and have an excellent knowledge of spelling, grammar and syntax. They are experts who translate texts on subjects and in fields they are familiar with, whether architecture, engineering or the arts. This expertise means that they are proficient in a technical language that uses very precise vocabulary, rather than approximate terms. For example, you wouldn’t ask a literary translator to translate a financial statement. They choose correct terminology by using data banks such as TERMIUM Plus® and the Grand dictionnaire terminologique (in French only). They use a wide variety of writing tools. My favourite tools in French are Clés de la rédaction, the Rouleau des prépositions and the Dictionnaire des cooccurrences. They ask questions about the text to make sure they have understood it correctly, and they sometimes find inconsistencies in the source document. And what about you? I’m sure you’ve come across some bad translations yourself … So share some gems with me in the comments section. I’m looking forward to reading them! Translated by: Josephine Versace, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 22,439

Multicultural Book Club: An ambitious task

An English blog post about a book club created in collaboration with the Ottawa Public Library to give participants an opportunity to discuss their cultures through translations of the books selected.As a translator with more than 25 years’ experience, I consider translation to be a bridge between cultures. It mirrors linguistic and cultural diversity. Throughout the history of the world, since the development of the first writing system recorded on stones or papyri, translation has played a silent yet crucial role in transferring cultural knowledge. It helps cultures to come into contact and learn about each other. Supposedly, the purpose of translation is to promote understanding; however, sometimes it leads to misunderstanding and miscommunication, and that is the basis for the book club. As a book lover, I’m used to browsing the bookshelves of libraries and mostly focusing on books in different languages. The books in other languages at the Ottawa Public Library sparked the idea to have a book club in which all Ottawa-based communities would be able to discuss their cultures. It may seem an ambitious project; however, the library gave me the opportunity to launch, manage and present the book club under the name Multicultural Book Club. I aim to prove that diversity doesn’t need to end in misunderstanding, rivalry or hatred, but can instead lead to dialogue, debate, discussion and knowledge about others. Since October 2015, book club members have been gathering at the library to discuss multiculturalism. The discussion focuses on books written in one language and translated into others. There are many questions that arise, such as: how the book has been received in the source and target languages what feedback it has gotten in other cultures which side of the story has been highlighted in other societies which parts have been censored and why whether the reason for the censorship was social, cultural or political Although we don’t find answers to all of these questions, the book club discussion is an effort to encourage communities to talk about their cultures through the books. The books selected are written by authors who speak different languages and come from different countries, such as Canada, France, Arabic-speaking countries, Spanish-speaking countries, Turkey, Germany, Russia and Portugal. Every session has two parts: the first part is an introduction of the author and the book; the second part is a discussion of the book’s translations. In some cases, the book covers of the translations help me to understand which part of the novel has been highlighted for a particular society. I’m also going to make a podcast called Multicultural Book, in which, after introducing the author, I talk about the novel, explain its literary genre and discuss its translations into other languages. You can find more information about the book club on my Facebook page and my blog. I would love to continue the discussion right here with you! Tell me, which culture-related questions come to mind when you read translations of some of your favourite novels?
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 15,555

What Gallicisms are and why we use them

An English blog post on Gallicisms.“I filled up on hors d’oeuvres earlier, so I think I’ll just order from the à la carte menu rather than having the table d’hôte.” What do you notice about that sentence? Probably that it contains 3 French expressions, right? You probably also noticed that the sentence didn’t sound strange to you. That’s because “hors d’oeuvres,” “à la carte” and “table d’hôte” are French expressions that we commonly use in English. Did you know that there’s a name for the French words and expressions that people use when speaking other languages? They’re called “Gallicisms,” which comes from the word “Gallic,” meaning “French.” And we use them for a number of reasons. Let’s explore a few together. 1. Cultural ties Certain words and expressions may be so rooted in a culture that it would feel strange to use the English equivalent (if there even is one). In parts of Quebec, such as Montreal and Gatineau, where English and French co-exist, words like “dépanneur,” “cabane à sucre,” “autoroute,” “guichet,” “stage,” “Régie,” “terrasse” and “chalet” are part of everyday speech, because they’re so tied to the province’s culture that using them is natural and maybe even necessary if we want to fit in and be understood. To put it into perspective, when we think of “going to the chalet,” we automatically think of the Laurentians. When we think of “going to the cottage,” our minds shift to the Muskokas or the Kawarthas. 2. Language mixing If we’re bilingual or multilingual and speak French often, we’ve likely used a French word or phrase in the other language. Maybe a word simply came to mind in French first either because that word, or to be more precise, that concept, is more common in the French culture. Or maybe we’d just returned from a full day at the office with mostly French-speaking co-workers, and we were still thinking in French. Whatever the reason, when we speak French and one or more other languages regularly, the constant contact between the languages makes it easy to use a French word or phrase unintentionally instead of the equivalent in the other language. 3. Lack of a suitable word or expression Sometimes, there’s just no suitable word or expression in another language to express a certain concept. For example, English has no equivalent for the French expressions “je ne sais quoi” and “joie de vivre.” Sure, we can find English words or phrases to describe the same concepts. For “je ne sais quoi,” we could say that something has an “indescribable quality” or “a certain something.” And for “joie de vivre,” we could say that someone has a “love of life.” But none of those phrases fully convey the meaning of the French expressions. So when we’re faced with such a gap and a French expression can fill it, we borrow it! 4. Literal translation Gallicisms can also occur when we translate a French expression word for word into another language. The temptation to do this can be strong if we’re fluent in French and can’t think of the right way to say something in another language. “Close the light” (rather than the idiomatic “turn off the light”) is a perfect example of a literal translation of “fermer la lumière.” For examples of other common Gallicisms that result from literal translations, such as “opening hours” and “providers of service,” check out the section of the University of Ottawa’s writing guide called Translation problems. Do you notice yourself using Gallicisms in everyday speech? If so, which ones do you use and why? Let me know in the comment section below!
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 15,274

3 stylistic differences between English and French

An English blog post to help translation clients understand three basic differences between English and French.You have a translation in front of you, from English to French or from French to English. From the very first line, nothing seems to match. So how do you know if you have a good translation? An awareness of some of the stylistic differences between English and French may provide some helpful insight. 1. Word order English first qualifies something and then names it, as in the case of “Chinese food,” where “food” expresses the main concept and “Chinese,” the category. In French, the equivalent would be mets chinois. Here, the main concept is expressed first and then qualified. What are we talking about? Food. What type of food? Chinese. The same difference can be observed in a sentence like “He ran downstairs.” French would say il descendit l’escalier en courant. In this example, English expresses the action with the verb ran, while French expresses the action with the complement en courant; the order is therefore reversed. So when you’re assessing a translation, it’s normal to feel as though you have to “read backwards.” 2. Prepositions French uses more prepositions than English. In English, a noun can qualify another. But in French, this practice is not as common; in most cases, a preposition is needed to combine two nouns. For example, “ball gown” wouldn’t be translated as robe bal, but as robe de bal; “management report” would become rapport à la direction or rapport de la direction; and “knitting needles” would be translated as aiguilles à tricoter. Furthermore, French and English do not always use the same prepositions. Here are a few examples: Examples of differences in English and French prepositional usage English prepositions Equivalent French prepositions A report by the chief financial officer (not of) Un rapport du dirigeant principal des finances (not par) This order is payable on receipt (not at) Cette commande est payable à la livraison (not sur) I was waiting for the bus (the preposition cannot be omitted) J’attendais l’autobus (not pour) 3. Gender It’s well known that English, unlike French, does not use grammatical gender, a fact that can cause headaches for those learning English but most especially for those translating it. In French, since the masculine form prevails over the feminine, the translator may choose to change the word order or use a synonym to simplify agreement between an adjective or a participle and the word it qualifies. So a phrase such as “relevant results and data” could be translated in different ways, depending on the context. Ways to translate “relevant results and data” and explanations of the strategies used Possible translations Strategy Résultats et données pertinents The French adjective pertinents is masculine plural. However, since it comes immediately after the French noun données, which is feminine, the Francophone reader might wonder if there is an agreement error. Données et résultats pertinents The feminine noun données changes position so that the phrase ends with a masculine noun, making the agreement more natural. Résultats et données utiles The adjective utiles is used because it has the same form in both genders. On the other hand, in the last example, going from French to English, the translator could decide to use “relevant” rather than “useful,” since agreement is not an issue. As you can see, English and French don’t work the same way. For that reason, it’s very difficult to assess the quality of a translation without understanding the stylistic differences between the two languages. Ultimately, it all depends on how much confidence you have in your translator. For more information on this topic, I recommend reading the post “Translation: Let's trust the professionals (opens in new window),” also published on this blog. Don't hesitate to ask your translator questions and explain your needs. In return, be prepared to answer your translator’s questions. The more you collaborate, the better the translation will be. And in the process, you’ll be sure to discover other stylistic differences. Feel free to share them in the comment section below. View bibliography Delisle, Jean. La traduction raisonnée: Manuel d’initiation à la traduction professionnelle de l’anglais vers le français. 2nd ed. Ottawa: Ottawa UP, 2003. Canada. Translation Bureau. Clés de la rédaction (opens in new window, French only). Canada. Translation Bureau. Writing Tips Plus (opens in new window). Eastwood, John. Oxford Learner’s Grammar. New York: Oxford UP, 2005. Québec. Office québécois de la langue française. Banque de dépannage linguistique (opens in new window, French only). Vinay, Jean-Paul, and Jean Darbelnet. Stylistique comparée du français et de l'anglais. Montreal: Beauchemin, 1990. Translated by Josephine Versace, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 8,668

My love for translation, interpretation … and Acadia

An English blog post in which the author shares her love for translation and for Acadia, and then recounts how she went back to school to become a translator or interpreter.I’ve known from a very tender age that being bilingual is a privilege. My mother’s family is Francophone; my father’s, Anglophone. And let me tell you, family visits were quite interesting, particularly with my cousins’ non-existent French and our garbled English. I think that’s when I first began to dream of becoming a translator. Not because I love words (as I often hear others say when they’re asked “Why translation?”), but because I love communication. To me, it’s vital that the message be understood on both sides of the invisible but very real language barrier. So now, at age 51, I’m in my second year of translation studies, and I love it! Even when my marks aren’t as good as they should be, even when I have to study until midnight on weekdays, I LOVE IT!!! Going back to school hasn’t been easy, but thanks to my young friends, it has been much easier than I thought it would be. At the University of Moncton, young people come from all over the Francophonie, including Africa, Europe, Quebec (students from Quebec get to shave a year off their studies) and New Brunswick. It’s very interesting to hear the din of conversation between classes, with all the varieties of French being spoken. To give you some background, I spent my childhood in the Outaouais region and then moved to Montréal when I was 12. Nearly 20 years later, I decided to relocate to New Brunswick. So my linguistic heritage comes from two distinct regions: the Outaouais and Montréal. Nothing prepared me for Acadian French, and I must say that I fell in love with Acadia, with the people and with the language, which is very rich and colourful. I love the Acadian accent, which differs from one region to another. Its lilting cadence and archaic words make for some amusing conversations at times. Here are some examples of words that surprised me the first time I heard them: Examples of Acadian words and their equivalents in standard French and English Acadian word Equivalent in standard French English translation of Acadian word Examples in a sentence English translation of examples berlandeux indécis indecisive Il est berlandeux. He’s indecisive. / He can never make up his mind. couler glisser to slip La glace m’a fait couler le pied. My foot slipped on the ice. espérer attendre wait Espère-moi. Wait for me. galance balançoire swing On va sur la galance. We’re going on the swing. hardes vêtements clothes On lave nos hardes. We’re washing our clothes. mitan milieu middle; halfway point On se rejoint au mitan du chemin. We’ll meet at the halfway point. For more words, see the Glossaire acadien by Pascal Poirier, which is available for free on the Internet (in French only). We should never be afraid to ask for clarification about things we hear people say, because it can lead to some very entertaining stories. I’m very happy to be living in an Acadian environment. I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to learn a variety of French that has managed to survive over the centuries (Acadians have been here for more than 400 years). But to get back to what I was saying, although I have Québécois roots, I’m an Acadian at heart, and my love for the language just keeps on growing. I’m studying to be a translator, but I’m not much of a purist, which will cause me problems (I’m sure of it!). Right now, I’m still learning. Actually, I’d like to be an interpreter, since I’ve had several opportunities to interpret from Spanish to English and from Spanish to French, as well as from English to French and from French to English. I was always keenly aware that the message (the content) was what was most important, not necessarily the words. I had to stick as close to the meaning as possible and act as a bridge between two worlds that couldn’t understand each other. Translating orally from one language to another is such a wonderful profession! I don’t like to say “interpreting,” because the meaning might be misunderstood: we don’t interpret words, we deliver the message in another language. But, in fact, that’s what interpreting is, so who am I to change the name of such a beautiful profession? Wish me luck in my studies, and tell me if you have any funny stories about your experiences with a variety of your language. Adapted by Josephine Versace, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 7,161

8 French words I miss in English: Untranslatable words chez les Anglais

An English blog post about French words that have no single English equivalent and their many possible interpretations.Ever since the Norman conquest of England in 1066, English and French have been intimately linked by centuries of word-sharing and a common vocabulary of Romance words. As a Canadian who attended French school from kindergarten, I discovered the similarities between the languages and quickly caught on to my lessons. But there are still words in French that I miss in English. Some words just don't have an equivalent! I end up using these words in English conversations, although whether I’m understood is another question... 1. Si Si is a little word with a lot of meaning. Its main translations are “if,” “so,” and “yes.” In French, si is a special word, because it means both “yes” and “no.” However, si has to be used properly and in the right context: Si answers a negative question or statement in the affirmative. Example Tu n'aurais pas fait la lessive? / You wouldn’t happen to have done the laundry? Si! J'ai déjà rangé les vêtements propres! / Yes! I already put away the clean clothes! As a child, when I first learned this word, my English-speaking self was blown away with the possibilities. Call me a linguistics nerd, but it was exciting! In French, there’s a tendency to formulate questions in the negative; hence, the word si is indispensable. In English, we like to ask questions in the affirmative, which may be why the language doesn’t have an equivalent word. I often get stuck in English looking for a word to contradict a negative statement, and I end up uselessly blathering a muddle of “si, si, si!” 2. Chez The preposition chez is different from any English preposition. Chez commonly translates to “at,” “for,” “among,” or “in.” It usually refers to a place, home or business but is also often used as part of an expression. Example Je t'appellerai une fois que je serai chez moi. / I will call you once I get home. Chez means “at the place that belongs to,” and by the wordiness of that expression, you can sense that no perfect one-word translation exists! 3. Tartiner Tartiner means “to spread something,” especially onto a tartine (piece of toast). Given the prevalence of cheese and bread in French culture, it’s no surprise this unique verb exists! There’s just something about saying tartiner (it almost sounds like its meaning)! However, its non-existence in English won’t stop me from asking someone to pass the caramel au beurre salé so I can tartiner my toast! 4. Bof Bof is a French staple, up there with wine, shrugging, and exclaiming “n’importe quoi!” When indifferent or opposed to a statement, French speakers use the interjection Bof! The exclamation doesn’t translate precisely into English, because it represents displeasure or disinterest. The most similar words in English would be “whatever!” or “meh!” and they don’t quite have the same ring to them. Bof! I’m going to keep using the French! 5. Voilà Voilà is another single word that carries so many meanings: it works as an expression, with multiple English translations (for example, “here/there,” “this/that,” emphasis, filler or affirmation). In French, voilà simply encapsulates them all. Voilà is a combination of the verb voir and adverb là, so it literally means “see here/there.” Example T’as vu mon téléphone? / Have you seen my phone? Sur la table, le voilà! / It's on the table; here it is! Voilà is a particularly useful filler word, and can be inserted at the end of a sentence, like a synonym of the French expression en effet (in effect). It’s an all-around essential word, voilà. 6. Bref Bref, which is related to the adverb brièvement, translates to “brief” and signals a short span of time. Often, bref, enfin bref, and bon bref are used in speech as filler or a way to wrap up an idea. When used orally, bref almost translates to “in a nutshell,” “to make a long story short,” “basically,” or “anyway,” but in English, those options don’t sound as snappy as the French. Bref, it sums things up really well, and I miss it in English! 7. Flemme I hope you don’t have la flemme to continue reading! Avoir la flemme literally signifies “having laziness or a lack of energy.” La flemme is often used with the verb avoir. Put together, the phrase avoir la flemme translates to something like “I don’t feel like it.” Sure, we can say “I don’t feel like partying tonight,” but isn’t it more fun to say you can’t because you have la flemme? With the noun flemme, we also have the verb flemmarder, my favourite word to describe lazing around. 8. Spleen I may have saved the best word for last. Like la flemme, spleen gained popularity in 19th century French literature. It describes a melancholic feeling that comes on for no apparent reason. Le spleen and la flemme have certain similarities, and both are quintessential French feelings without English equivalents. Voilà, bref! Those are 8 words I miss in English, as a French speaker. What French words do you miss in English?
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 7,051

Tricky-to-translate terms and expressions

An English blog post discussing equivalents for French terms and expressions that are challenging to translate.Many French terms that appear quite similar to English and therefore straightforward can actually be tricky to render in English, even for seasoned translators. Here are a few that might be lying in wait for you. Don’t let them trip you up! Acteur When “actor” is used to mean “participant,” it doesn’t sound very English. Try “player” or “stakeholder.” Le Canada est un acteur mondial dans le secteur de l’énergie. Canada is a global energy player. Confiance We translate both “trust” and “confidence” as confiance in French. However, in English there’s a slight difference in meaning between trust and confidence. Trust means you put faith in someone; confidence is having faith in yourself. Climat de transparence, de confiance et de respect Climate of transparency, trust and respect Engager (1) Some years ago, “engage” became a popular buzzword meaning to attract and hold someone’s interest. Engager les employés et communiquer Employee engagement and communication Engager (2) “Engage” versus “commit”: Among other things, “engage” means to hire, to interact socially or to enter into, while “commit” basically means to pledge oneself to do something. Engager un avocat Engage a lawyer [especially British English; in Canadian English, “engage” is often used with “the services of”: engage the services of a lawyer] Engager une conversation Engage in conversation Engager le combat Engage in combat Le gouvernement s’engage à prendre des mesures concrètes. The government is committed to taking concrete action. Inviter Be careful when translating inviter as “invite.” Inviter is very commonly used in French, but “invite” is not as common in English unless there’s a real invitation involved. Je vous invite à prendre connaissance du rapport. I encourage you to read the report. Participer and personne “Participate” in English indicates active participation, so “attend” is a better bet when you don’t know the details of the situation. Perhaps the attendees only listened and didn’t ask questions or interact. Please also note the translation of personnes by “people” (more general, as opposed to “persons,” which is more specific) in the following example: L’an dernier, 195 personnes ont participé aux ateliers et aux formations. Last year, 195 people attended workshops and training. Présenter Be careful as well about translating présenter as “present.” Like inviter, présenter is very commonly used in French, but that is not the case with “present” in English unless there is a real physical presentation of something in front of someone. Je vous présente mon frère Robert. I would like to introduce my brother Robert. Est-ce que vous voulez vous présenter l’année prochaine? Are you going to run next year? Veuillez vous présenter à la succursale. Please visit the branch. Elle présente des inconvénients. It has disadvantages. Nous présenterons les résultats au Conseil d’administration jeudi. We will present the results to the Board of Directors on Thursday. [The presentation will be in person.] Produire “Produce an advertising leaflet or text” may be appropriate in a production environment, but if it doesn’t sound very English to you, try substituting “prepare” or a synonym. Produire un dépliant ou un texte publicitaire Prepare (or write) an advertising leaflet or text Réaliser or organiser une exposition To update your text, why not use the verb “curate”? According to TERMIUM Plus®, this term is derived from “curator” and thus applies well to exhibitions. Please note that “organize” is also correct in English in the following example, whereas “realize” would not sound very English. Organiser une exposition Organize or curate an exhibition Territoire “Territory” is not a common word in English, so try to avoid using it. Remember that you don’t need to translate territoire if it doesn’t add any additional meaning. Avis d’évacuation immédiate sur un secteur du territoire municipal Immediate evacuation notice for a sector of the municipality I’m sure you’ve come across many more faux amis, by which I mean French terms and expressions that look like English words but that are tricky to translate. I’d love to hear about them!
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 6,883

Translation and technology: Where things stand

A blog post about how technology and the computer revolution have changed the way translators work.“One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” (Elbert Hubbard, American writer, 1856 to 1915) The robots are coming! The robots are coming! Or so the media keep telling us. In jobs ranging from assembly line worker to lawyer, robots are starting to outperform humans and will soon replace us. And yes, translators are among those on the robot hit list. But does that mean we’ll all be out begging for bread in a few years? I’m not so sure.   The leisurely evolution of machine translation Back in the 1950s, some of the first computer scientists looked at the code-breaking successes of the Second World War and thought that those techniques could be applied to translation. Languages are just another type of code, they reasoned. These scientists figured they could find the Holy Grail (the Babel fish or the universal translation machine) within a few years, and no one would ever need an interpreter or translator again. 70 years later, they’re still working on it. But that doesn’t mean nothing has changed in the world of translation because of their work. Indeed, almost everything has changed. Computers and then the Internet have revolutionized the field, increasing both the amount a human can translate and the quality of the translations. A before and after view Let’s do a quick comparison of translation in a government context before and after the computer revolution. The first column describes the step in the translation process. The middle column shows how things used to work, based on what I’ve heard from my … how shall I put this delicately? … more experienced colleagues. The last column is current practice. A before-and-after view of how the computer revolution has changed translation Step in the process Stone Age Silicon Age Delivery of document to the translation division The client sends a typed paper document by internal mail to the translation division. The client uploads a digital document to the translation division’s server or submits it by email. Storage and consultation of previous versions of the same document The translator opens his or her filing cabinet to find similar texts or previous versions of the same document and props them up on a document holder for consultation. A computer program searches the document text and compares it to a database of previous translations. Exact matches can be automatically inserted into the translation. The translator can consult the database and see the texts aligned side-by-side. Use of dictionaries The translator looks up words in paper dictionaries. The translator types words into digital dictionaries. Use of terminology banks The translator consults a terminology bank by thumbing through a card catalogue. The translator searches for terms in an online terminology database. Consultation of reference materials The translator visits a reference library to consult a limited selection of authoritative sources and comparable texts. The translator uses the Internet to access an almost infinite range of information and comparable texts. Revision The translator types out a draft translation on a typewriter and revises it on paper. The translator types out a translation in a word processor and revises it onscreen. Preparation of the final version The marked-up paper copy is given to a typist, who types up the final version. The final version is saved digitally. Delivery of translation to client The finished translation is returned to the client by internal mail. The client is notified that the translation is ready and can download the file from the translation division’s server or receive it by email. The advantages for translators today This list illustrates only a few of the many computerized tools that translators use in their work. I like to think of translation and technology interacting on a continuum from 0 (pen and paper) to 10 (fully automatic machine translation). The greatest achievement of the technological progress of recent decades may simply be the number of positions along that continuum that translators can take. With so many options, we can use the technology that works best for us or for a given assignment. So, while the pursuit of the machine translation Holy Grail gets all the headlines, today’s technology is most often put in service of a human translator, who can make use of the proven advances to produce a better product in less time. In short, the robots are coming, but quite slowly, and our experience tells us they’re friendly. What about you? What do you think is the greatest benefit (or the greatest drawback) of language technology in your life? Share your opinion in a comment.
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 6,857

Comparative revision: An essential step

Blog post explaining the nature and usefulness of comparative revision.Do you or your company produce documents in both of Canada's official languages? How can you ensure that both versions of these documents contain the same information while respecting the style and conventions of each language? By having a comparative revision done. Comparing to ensure that texts correspond The following definition provided by Editors Canada (in French only) explains what comparative revision entails: [translation] “Comparative revision involves ensuring that the content of a translated publication or text corresponds faithfully to the original version.”   Normally, comparative revision is done at 2 different points: when the content is being prepared, after translation when the document has been formatted and is ready to be posted online It involves comparing the original text to the translated text to find and correct any mistakes and ensure that the translated text is correct in terms of grammar and syntax and is faithful to the original. Faithfulness means that the translated text conveys the same message as the original text, with no additions or omissions. In addition to being faithful, it must flow well and be plausible. Ultimately, upon reading the text, the reader should not be able to tell that it is a translation. In other words, the translated text must stick to the original text without being a literal translation. Essential skills Comparative revision therefore requires knowledge of a second language. It is also done by a professional reviser, preferably a native speaker of the language into which the text has been translated. This person must have an excellent command of both of the languages in which he or she is working, in order to be able to grasp the nuances of the different texts. Comparative revision: beyond faithfulness The reviser must also ensure that the translated text is clear and does not contain any mistakes (such as Gallicisms, vocabulary errors, calques). He or she should also pay attention to sentence structure and quality of language. Finally, the reviser has to check bibliographical items, the names of institutions and organizations, and the titles of works, among other things, to make sure that they have been translated correctly or left in the source language if there is no official translation. Thus, comparative revision often requires that the language professional “wear 2 hats,” that of a reviser and that of a translator, because he or she may occasionally have to rework the text. If you make changes along the way to the layout and structure of the original text, the reviser will also have to make the same changes to the translated text to ensure that the appearance of both texts is the same. This includes typography, the layout of certain elements (tables, etc..), and the hierarchy of headings and subheadings. A comparative revision gives you the assurance that your documents are of high quality and that they provide the same information in both French and English. Have you ever had a reviser do a comparative revision? Has a reviser ever saved you or your company from embarrassment? Share your experience with us in the comments. Adapted by Fatima Rizzo, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 5,971