Monday, May 16, 2011

Four Steps to Translation Quality

Luciano Monteiro has a blog post about the four steps to translation quality. I think this is a really good post. Well I would, wouldn’t I, because these are exactly the four steps I use. I could have written his post if I were a better blogger. Please go and read it.

I used to feel inadequate because I had read many times that the translation process should start with reading the entire text (perhaps making terminology notes) before translating, but I could never do it. Once I start reading, I must set down all my ideas on how I will translate it, and it turns into a draft. The function of the read-through is subsumed into the draft, step one in Luciano’s four steps. Recently, I’ve talked with other translators whose work I respect and admire who also don’t do a preliminary read-through. I am glad to have it confirmed that I’m not the only one that plunges straight in to the translation.

This is not to say that I think that skipping the read-through and beginning with the draft is essential or even superior. There is more than one path to quality. The final steps are the most important ones. How many times have I thought a translation was flawless, only to catch errors with a final spellcheck! Every time! This motivates me never to skip that last check.

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