ATISDA Blog (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area)


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Workshop Season in Full Bloom

10690129_674216269350281_208347355399977364_nLast weekend’s English-Spanish seminar on criminal procedure law terminology kicked off a busy workshop season for ATISDA. The all-day event was presented by Sandro Tomasi and Katty Kauffmann at the beautiful UCSD campus in La Jolla and attracted 22 attendees. The speakers addressed the recent legal reforms that have taken place in many Latin American countries and the new legal terms those changes have spawned. Click here for highlights from the workshop. Although last weekend’s workshop was language specific, the next two are not. On Saturday, May 2, Leo van Zanten and Jenae Spry will offer an informative session on CAT tools in Encinitas. The event is aimed at beginners and advanced users alike. It’s free for ATISDA members and $25 for everyone else. If you’re interested, you can find more information on the ATISDA website. In June, ATISDA will present a workshop on the English language, including a look at some of its quirky linguistic features, troublesome grammar issues and a mini refresher course on punctuation. Whether you’re a native or non-native speaker of English, you are sure to learn something new (date and location TBD). And, if that weren’t enough, another Spanish-language presentation is in the works for later in the summer. Stay tuned to ATISDA’s website for announcements on that and many other events.


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What Kind of Translator Are You?

Here’s a question for all you translators out there: What kind of translator are you? I don’t mean your specialties or language pairs. What I’m talking about is the way you go about the process of translating. For instance, do you read a chunk of source text and then just start pounding on the keyboard with the first translation that comes to mind? Or do you plan out which words you will use before you start typing? Does the use of CAT tools alter your approach?

I had never given the translation process much thought until I read Brian Mossop’s book “Revising and Editing for Translators.” According to Mossop, there are three main types of translators when it comes to the drafting phase: architects, steamrollers and oil painters. If you’re wondering which one best represents you, here’s a brief description of each, as described by Mossop:

Slide1Architects do a lot of planning: they consider several possible target-language wordings in their mind before finally picking one and typing it out; they then move along immediately to the next sentence of the source text.

IMG_6130Steamrollers type something as soon as they read the source sentence, and then proceed immediately to the next sentence of the source text.

OilPainterOil Painters type something (often a literal translation) as soon as they read the source sentence, but they immediately revise it, perhaps several times, before proceeding to the next sentence. They translate-by-revising so to speak.

If you’re like me, you identified with one of three types more than the others, but have probably used all three approaches at one time or another. As Mossop points out, translators actually do need to switch their styles based on the situation. For example, he says the use of translation memory software turns architects and steamrollers into oil painters as they are forced to revise the sections of the target-language material that the TM inserts. Oil painters using voice recognition software, on the other hand, are best served by adopting either the architect or steamroller approaches. That’s because you need to know how you’re going to translate a sentence before you start talking. If you begin speaking, then backtrack or pause, voice recognition isn’t going to work very well.

Think about this the next time you translate something to see what your usual approach is and how it changes depending on whether you’re using TM, machine translation, voice recognition software, etc. As for me, I’m a Monet most of the time. But, if using voice recognition software, I can also be a Frank Lloyd Wright. What about you? Let’s hear from all you translators out there to find out what kind of translator you are!