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Webinar For Young Translators

RIAN organized its first-ever webinar for young translators on 18th May 2019 and it went successfully. Our esteemed speaker, Dr. Hari Damle, a Japanese language and translation expert with an experience of over 30 years, gave us some concrete insight on what the translation field entails.

The webinar was meant for amateur translators as well as for those aspiring to practice translation professionally.

In the webinar, we covered topics such as basics of translation, translation as a process, precautions that need to be taken when translating, how to use CAT tools to your advantage and how to strengthen your prowess in the field of translation.

Dr. Damle started by explaining what a source and a target language is.

A source language is a language that you translate a text from, and a target language is the one it gets translated in. Together they form a language pair. E.g. ENGLISH – GERMAN

He then went on to explain the process of translation.

He explained that translation is a process of conveying the content written in the source language into the target language in such a way that the original theme is reflected exactly in the translation.

When translating, it is beneficial to keep in mind that every text has a “body” and a “soul“.

The outer structure like words, phrases, idioms, grammar, and style fall under the definition of body while the content or message to be delivered is the soul.  

A translator should always aim towards being able to incorporate both, the body and the soul, in his/her translation to avoid inaccurate translations.

Inaccurate translations can occur when a translation of a highly technical text is done by a non-technical person or when the translator relies heavily on machine translation, retaining just the body and not the soul.

Dr. Damle threw some light on the translation process of translation companies.

In translation companies, the source document is given to the translator and once the translation is complete, it is cross-checked by a person knowing both the languages to confirm that nothing has been left out. They make sure to fix minor bugs like punctuation marks as well as some serious errors like mistranslation.

What about individual/freelance translators?

Dr. Damle listed the steps of the translation process that individual translators should follow:

He advised the translators to take a quick look at the text of the source language to understand the theme. They should then start translating sentences one by one. If the translated sentence doesn’t sound good in the target language, don’t hesitate from changing the style of the text or using domain-specific terms.

Make sure that the meaning intended by the author is accurately conveyed in the target language. Details like dates, numbers, quantities, names of persons, names of places, etc. need to be accurately transferred into the target language.

It is possible that the translator might add something on their own that is not mentioned in the source text. Try sticking to the given text as much as possible and double-check at the end.

Text present in graphics like diagrams, tables, charts, photographs, as well as their captions is easy to miss when translating. Make sure to translate them in a way that they correspond with the remaining matter.

If the translation is required in American English or British English, in a particular font or format, remember to follow those instructions.

Check your spellings, grammar, headers, footers, etc. and for one last time, check that nothing is left to be done.

The translation is now complete.

The translation may be complete, but the process is still far from over.

Editing/Checking: The tips mentioned above will help translators achieve the right structure of the translated text.

To make sure the soul has been appropriately conveyed, read the whole text once. It should appear as a consistent and integrated text.

Get it edited by a person knowing both the languages or at least the target language. The translation should not “smell” like the source language.

He mentioned a few precautions that need to be taken when translating.

Names of institutes, government organizations, companies, etc. should not be translated. You can find their official name in the target language from the internet or Wikipedia. If you don’t find one, leave it as it is.

Avoid literal translation when translating cultural terms, proverbs or idioms of the source language at any cost. Make use of the internet to learn about these terms and the entailed meaning and then translate accordingly.

Consult the internet for domain-specific translation. This especially applies to domains that you might not be very well-versed in.

Making use of the internet for translation does not limit itself here. There has been a huge shift in the translation industry because of CAT (Computer-aided translation) tools and Mr. Anandsagar Shiralkar, CEO of Vizitech Solutions and FTB Communications briefly introduced our viewers to RIAN, a leading file translation tool.

Busting the myth

Mr. Anandsagar explained how the widespread belief of machine translation (M.T) taking over human job opportunities is a myth. Using Dr. Damle’s analogy, he talked about how M.T can only provide with the body of the text and how human intervention is acutely needed to be able to bring out the soul.

He insisted that translators use CAT tools in order to leverage their translating speed while maintaining the quality as well. He sees CAT tools as the ultimate way to go about translation in the 21st century and explained how RIAN was created for the same purpose.

RIAN as a collaboration between machine and human translation

Mr. Anandsagar quickly demonstrated the numerous translation benefits RIAN has and how translators can use this tool to their advantage.

After Dr. Damle resumed the session, he spoke on ways to improve translation skills.

In order to gain a deeper insight into the language and its etymology, he recommended that translators take a short course in linguistics.

Reading newspapers daily is a good practice to keep yourself updated. This will make translating articles, news and sports pages, easier. It also gives you information on the newest technological developments which in turn might be beneficial to your work.

Make a conscious effort to read package inserts of prescribed medicines, information on the backside of instant food packs, electronic products as well as their manuals. This will help you to learn the style of writing for such domains.

Last but not the least, he mentioned making the most of CAT tools like RIAN but advised using these cautiously.   

At the end of the webinar, Dr. Damle recommended a few links which might come in handy:

The free dictionary for finding the etymology of new words: www.thefreedictionary.com

Acronym Finder for abbreviations: https://www.etymonline.com/

Daily Grammar for improving proficiency in English: www.dailygrammar.com

Daily writing tips for getting better at content writing: www.dailywritingtips.com

We created this post to give young translators a glimpse into what the translation field has in store for them. You can also download Dr.Damle’s PowerPoint presentation for the webinar by sending us a quick E-mail at rian.webinar@gmail.com. We’d be more than happy to share it with you!

Lastly, here are a few key takeaways that we hope stick around with you:

  1. Mind your language!  (Use domain-specific terms/language & style).
  2. Reduce the gap between recognition vocabulary and active vocabulary. (Try to incorporate words that you already know)
  3. Never stop learning (Stay up to date on new technology, trends & methods)
  4. Be innovative (Improve your performance with innovation)
  5. Use media for learning translation (Pay attention to TV ads, medical inserts & manuals)
  6. Use the internet (Actively seek out the abundance of knowledge available online)
  7. Waste is valuable for you! (Collect leaflets, manuals of appliances and cartons)
  8. Play with words (Learn the etymology of new words and don’t be afraid to experiment with them)
  9. General knowledge is important for you
  10.  Have a global vision.