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SarahDevlin

Researching the link between theory and practice of translation

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hello all,

My name is Sarah Devlin. I am a freelance translator who is also in the process of procuring her Masters in translation. For my dissertation, I am looking at the applicability of theory for translators of all areas and origins and as such have designed a short survey. I have heard that Fuwanovel has great voluntary/activist translators (i.e. translating pro-bono for a cause they believe in) and as such I would really love to hear some of your opinions.  The survey has 5 questions and takes on average less than 60 seconds to complete. If you could participate, I would be very grateful.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/W5VW33W

Thank you!
All the best,
Sarah
 

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There is a science to making surveys. Random questions will usually give you very little while carefully thought out questions can provide a lot. First of all, every single word in each question needs to be considered because it's important that it's precise and that all readers agree to the meaning. I don't think you are doing well in this regard. Also keep in mind that not everyone here are native English speakers and there are translators, who translates to something other than English. This can make using academic English even worse.

 

"1. Which of the following areas best describe where your translation practice falls?"

What does this mean? If it how you practice to make you better, how you practiced in the past or the kind of of translation work you do now?

The answer activist is not good either. I view activists as people who likes to cause obstructions. I think something like "unpaid hobby translator" is more in line with what you are thinking.

You also entirely miss the unpaid translators, who work to produce something they hope can be used to get a paid job later.

 

"2. Which of these pathways best describes how you began your translation practice?"

Since you post here, an obvious answer is missing, which is starting out with visual novels, meaning it falls into the category of hobby. Again the word practice might not be read identical by all people. Also what covers academia? You could have foreign languages in school where you have translation assignments. This is in fact mandatory to learn English in most non-English speaking countries. Some schools offer Chinese or Japanese as optional for 1-2 years and I bet you that people going through that will be nowhere near the level needed to translate when they are done. Some people could say academia due to having Japanese at school for one year while others require attending a university or similar studying the language. This will again make the replies less useful than wanted.

 

"3. How often do you engage in personal reading / research on translation?"

I assume this is studying and not "how often do you do translation work?". You might want to ask both because weekly means something different if the person works daily or weekly. Also how is reading/research defined? Looking up in a dictionary? Looking up kanji? (I think all translators does that in each translating session). It could also be something other than that, like studying grammar. How about running each sentence through tools like jparser or jisho?

Also I have come across both people who translates on all 5 weekdays or only during the 2 days of the weekends, neither of those can be answered clearly with the options you provided.

 

In fact mentioning kanji and the tools related to it, does your survey even take into account that it's Japanese and that the character sets themselves (all 3 of them) are a challenge? This adds an issue you don't get when translating between two languages using the same character set, like the Latin characters.

 

I will skip the control questions to counter the bias from not asking a representative demographic of translators. You have none of that, which is usually quite bad, but at the same time your demographics are so unknown that I wouldn't even know where to start to make such a correction. It's like like political surveys where correction questions can be as simple as "who did you vote for last time".

 

Another obvious question for visual novel translation is if the translator works alone or in a group and if it's in a group, is it done in a way where translators can learn from each other? Single person translations of VNs are actually fairly rare meaning ideas and insights spread from person to person, both regarding work organization and the work itself. How the work is organized and how the text is available matters for the resulting quality. For instance the same text can be worked on by 3 people, first translation, then editing to get a more natural English flow between the lines, then translation verification done by a translator other than the first one (checking both translation and if editing altered the meaning by accident). Interaction between people here can provide useful feedback.

 

I hope you don't mind that I might have been a bit harsh on your survey, but I did it mainly to put focus on the quality of the survey itself, hence how useful the results are. I would actually be interested in the result, particularly if you do something to improve the quality.

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On 8/24/2017 at 10:58 AM, tymmur said:

There is a science to making surveys. Random questions will usually give you very little while carefully thought out questions can provide a lot. First of all, every single word in each question needs to be considered because it's important that it's precise and that all readers agree to the meaning. I don't think you are doing well in this regard. Also keep in mind that not everyone here are native English speakers and there are translators, who translates to something other than English. This can make using academic English even worse.

 

"1. Which of the following areas best describe where your translation practice falls?"

What does this mean? If it how you practice to make you better, how you practiced in the past or the kind of of translation work you do now?

The answer activist is not good either. I view activists as people who likes to cause obstructions. I think something like "unpaid hobby translator" is more in line with what you are thinking.

You also entirely miss the unpaid translators, who work to produce something they hope can be used to get a paid job later.

 

"2. Which of these pathways best describes how you began your translation practice?"

Since you post here, an obvious answer is missing, which is starting out with visual novels, meaning it falls into the category of hobby. Again the word practice might not be read identical by all people. Also what covers academia? You could have foreign languages in school where you have translation assignments. This is in fact mandatory to learn English in most non-English speaking countries. Some schools offer Chinese or Japanese as optional for 1-2 years and I bet you that people going through that will be nowhere near the level needed to translate when they are done. Some people could say academia due to having Japanese at school for one year while others require attending a university or similar studying the language. This will again make the replies less useful than wanted.

 

"3. How often do you engage in personal reading / research on translation?"

I assume this is studying and not "how often do you do translation work?". You might want to ask both because weekly means something different if the person works daily or weekly. Also how is reading/research defined? Looking up in a dictionary? Looking up kanji? (I think all translators does that in each translating session). It could also be something other than that, like studying grammar. How about running each sentence through tools like jparser or jisho?

Also I have come across both people who translates on all 5 weekdays or only during the 2 days of the weekends, neither of those can be answered clearly with the options you provided.

 

In fact mentioning kanji and the tools related to it, does your survey even take into account that it's Japanese and that the character sets themselves (all 3 of them) are a challenge? This adds an issue you don't get when translating between two languages using the same character set, like the Latin characters.

 

I will skip the control questions to counter the bias from not asking a representative demographic of translators. You have none of that, which is usually quite bad, but at the same time your demographics are so unknown that I wouldn't even know where to start to make such a correction. It's like like political surveys where correction questions can be as simple as "who did you vote for last time".

 

Another obvious question for visual novel translation is if the translator works alone or in a group and if it's in a group, is it done in a way where translators can learn from each other? Single person translations of VNs are actually fairly rare meaning ideas and insights spread from person to person, both regarding work organization and the work itself. How the work is organized and how the text is available matters for the resulting quality. For instance the same text can be worked on by 3 people, first translation, then editing to get a more natural English flow between the lines, then translation verification done by a translator other than the first one (checking both translation and if editing altered the meaning by accident). Interaction between people here can provide useful feedback.

 

I hope you don't mind that I might have been a bit harsh on your survey, but I did it mainly to put focus on the quality of the survey itself, hence how useful the results are. I would actually be interested in the result, particularly if you do something to improve the quality.

Did you have to bring him down like a falling tree? 

 

 

 

 

 

Jk love you

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