Re: Preparing a translator test

Subject: Re: Preparing a translator test
From: sinico -at- nbnet -dot- nb -dot- ca (H.Durstling)
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2000 10:20:05 -0400

Hi Folks,

As has been suggested by others a test probably is most useful as a first
stage selection tool to weed out the obviously unqualified.

Real-world translation is full of grey areas. These require judgement on
the aprt of the translator. which is a quality that does not lend itself to
identification by testing.

For example I once translated a consumer goods catalogue from German into
English. One item was a set of insulated oven mitts. The German headline
read something like "These Colourful Potholders..."

I translated that as "Come To Grips With a Hot Pot"

That would have certainly failed the test, but, as a catalogue headline, it

Similarly, the German technical brochure for a medical gas system used the
English language term "ARDS - Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome." I didn't
think that was right, but the client said that it had to be, having come
directly from their medical science department. I still thought it should
be "Distress Syndrome" rather than "Disease Syndrome", and suggested a few
phonecalls to make quite sure. As it turned out, "Distress Syndrome" was
indeed the proper designation.

Again, what test is going to reveal that kind of disposition to go one step
further & make sure it's exactly right, even in the original?

Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada

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