Translating Academic Content: How It Is Done
By: Rabia Tanveer
As the literary world is expanding, we are seeing a huge influx in academic papers, manuscripts and transcripts in a non-English languages. Since literature is a vast field and has no bounds of cultures, languages or lands, more people are coming forward and bringing more material from the outside and changing the literary field. They don’t only pose a great improvement in the research world, but they also allow many students with their research work.
However, there is a slight ditch: as they are in a different language, most of the time these academic material goes unnoticed. Since the times are changing, people are coming forward and having these translated into English more often. Nevertheless, this type of translation requires a little experience and a lot of talent. Not everyone can manage to translate academic content. There are a few things that a translator needs to keep in his or her mind when they are translating an academic paper.
The things one should keep their minds includes:
- Long Sentences
- Sentence Fragments and Order
- Sentence Structure
- Accurate Meaning
The first thing that a translator needs to worry about is the sentences. The longer they are, the more difficult they are going to be to translate. Usually, the academic content is in the form of a document so you can start dissecting as you would any other type of document translation. However, when you are going through it, make sure to mark the long sentences jot them down somewhere else. This will help you peruse it later.
The thing with academic translation services is that these documents have a lot of long sentences. As they are in another language, they often come out as garbled when they are translated. The best way to approach it is by taking them away from the whole document, separate them and try to put them in context before you start translating them.
Along with the long sentences, you need to look out for sentence fragments that have literary jargon. As every language has its own jargon and phrases, you need to be careful when you translate them. The best way to approach them is by taking them away from the document, look for their meanings on the internet and encyclopedia and then translate them accordingly.
While translating long sentences, the translator has to look out for the sentence structure. With so many punctuations like comma, dash, colon, ellipsis, hyphen, parentheses and semicolon in a single sentence, you need to make sure that the sentence structure of the sentence is proper, adhering to the English grammar and at the same time, it needs to be true to what the original author has said. This is indeed a hard thing to translate, so in order to do it right, you must break the sentence down into little segments and fragments and translate them separately.
For example, take the below mentioned sentence:
Maintes et maintes fois, moi aussi, me suis senti si plein de torrents lumineux que je pourrais éclater - rafale avec des formes beaucoup plus beau que ceux qui sont présentés dans des cadres et vendus pour une fortune puante.
Once translated into English it will come out as:
Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst-burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune.
To make it read better in English, we have made the addition of “I”, “that”, “I Could” and “Which” to make the sentence read better. The essence of the sentence remains the same, but it reads better in English. If we take a word-for-word translation of this sentence, it would read like:
Time and again, too, felt so full of bright torrents I might burst - burst with forms much more beautiful than those presented in boxes and sold for a stinking fortune.
But our main focus is to make the sentence read more naturally and that is we add these few articles and connectors to make that happen. Find the most accurate meaning of the word is the first step, but you will need to find a word in the target language to make sure that the meaning remains the same and the sentence looks aesthetically good.By following these simple steps you can make sure that your academic translation is not only good, but is useful for your readers.