Rivers of ink are written about and because of translation. A huge number of texts are translated daily, and many reflections have been made on translating too.
What should we expect from translators?
Nowadays the translation subject is studied following a descriptive approach. Traditionally, reflections were made on how to properly translate a text, drawing a line between right and wrong translations to that end. More recently, however, translation has been studied as a process. Translating is not choosing between what is right and what is wrong when dealing with difficult texts, but rather choosing among an undefined number of options according to whom the text is addressed. Being able to choose between more or less appropriate options involves developing the translation competence. This competence enables translators, who must demonstrate their knowledge and skills in taking decisions (strategy), using documentary sources (instrumental skills), gaining awareness on subjects that initially are alien to them (encyclopedic knowledge) and, obviously, mastering the involved languages (linguistic awareness).
When clients order translations they expect the highest linguistic quality from the text for which they pay. A great linguistic competence is indeed on the base of the translators’ education and professional experience. In this regard, there is a circumstance that must be stressed: translating into the mother tongue does not equal to translating into a foreign language. For this reason, translators make a distinction among their working languages: The A language is the mother tongue, and the B and C languages are their first and second foreign languages respectively. The A language entails a proficiency level. For the other two languages, a distinction is commonly made between linguistic comprehension (direct translation) and production (inverse translation). The second type involves translating into a foreign language, an activity that is in no way like performing a direct translation.
This is a matter for debate, and there are those who think that these language professionals should not translate into a foreign language. Such an ideal circumstance, however, cannot always come true.
There is a market for inverse translations too. Those who translate into a foreign language know that their level of linguistic competence cannot be the same as in direct translation. Within different levels of proficiency, nevertheless, a reasonable linguistic quality is expected. Also, this level should meet the requirements of the translation brief, which means that some assignments may take priority over others. For instance, cookbooks with receipts should be easily addressed by non-natives, while bestsellers better suit native translators.
Automatic proofreading at your service
Is it possible to reach a sound level of linguistic quality for inverse translation? Were translations direct or inverse, they always welcome revisions on their linguistic quality, and it becomes even more evident in the latter. Native proofreaders would ideally perform this task, however, this is not always possible – tight deadlines or work environments force translators to meet a proper standard of linguistic performance without the aid of human proofchecking.
Thus, the automatic proofreading technologies are really helpful in such circumstances. Assuming that technology cannot substitute human proofreaders, automatic proofreading can be added to translators’ knowledge of foreign languages for inverse translation jobs.
STILUS, which is the automatic proofreading software developed by Daedalus, can be useful in an end stage of the translation process. Let’s see how some of its features would be beneficial to translators:
– Spell checking of general language words, plus proper names and specialized terminology.
– Grammar checking to detect syntax errors, such as wrong concordances or prepositional usages.
– Style checking to detect too long sentences or lexical misuses (e.g. foreign words to be avoided, or wrong transliterations).
If you work as a professional translator, we invite you to use STILUS, the proofreading tool developed by Daedalus.