How to Check Your Own Translation like A Pro!
By: Rabia Tanveer
Not everyone can translate like a professional from the very beginning of their career. Some people are gifted, while others need a little practice to get there. Translation is not as easy as people think it is. Languages like Chinese and Japanese take extra patience because they tend to have a lot of run-on sentences and that does not look good in their English translations. English language translation requires a certain level of fluency and aesthetic appearance to make it readable and understandable.
So what can you do to make it look good, but still stay true to the original text? And more importantly, how can you check your own translations to make them look good? Here are a few things that every translator must do in order to make their translations perfect.
Use “/” in between run-on sentences at first. Translate the whole document and then come back to add English pronouns and conjunctions to make it read better.
“/” is your friend, especially when you are translating an old or complicated document. Use it wisely and frequently. They will help you understand the sentence better and help you construct it in a better way too. You will have to rearrange parts of sentences to make sense of it in the other language anyway, so make the process easier for you and save time. This way, the ideas can be translated perfectly and you will not have to read and reread them to make sense of the sentence when you are giving it a final proofreading.
There is no shame in taking help when you need it. Although, I would never suggest using Google Translation for a translation project, but I will definitely recommend using it to find meanings of words you are not familiar with. You will need outside force and help to understand trend words and jargon. Once you know their meaning, you can use the appropriate word for it in the other language. Trust me, this will make your work a whole lot easier and help you breathe easy.
Google is your best friend. Remember the days when you would sit with your translator friends and mock good old Google and its hazards to the translator community? Well, it is time to take all that back because you are going to frequently visit Google until you can enhance your vocabulary. Why is that? Because there are a lot of words that you will not find in the common dictionaries. Sometimes you will have to rely on a language specific dictionaries, like French-to-French dictionaries. Or you can use Google or Wikipedia to get their exact meanings.
Always create drafts of the translated work before you can be ready to hand in the final version. It is best to create 1st, 2nd and 3rd drafts. These could be your initial translation version, the filling-in version and proofreading version respectively. As big chunks of the documents are translated, you will start to understand what is going on in the document and you will be able to finish the project much quicker than you anticipated.
It all comes down to understand the document and its context. You will need to understand what is going on and what is being said before you can make it perfect in another language. You are not a super human, you are a mere mortal (and a translator), so have some mercy on your brain and try to decipher the meaning of the document before you jump in and start the “making sense of the document” process.
Read the document through once, highlight the things that do not make sense at all and come back to them later when you have translated the big parts of the document. Trust me, you will know what those words were by the time you are done with the rest of the document.