Translation & Interpreting

The Way I Translate

I’ve just finished translating part of a text I’m going to deliver in the next few days (the deadline is on the 10th), and I was reflecting on how I usually translate a written text. I go through these steps:

  1. Read the whole text before translating it  (I had to translate 34 pages once, I tried to translate the text paragraph by paragraph not knowing what came next, but it didn’t work for me);
  2. Translate a sentence (I use monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, a collocations dictionary and other online translation resources);
  3. Read the source language sentence to make sure that I translated everything;
  4. Read the target language sentence to make sure that I translated it correctly and used natural Italian (unless it’s for a university assignment, I only translate into my mother tongue);
  5. Translate the rest of the text in the same way;
  6. Proofread the target language text, preferably on a printed version of it.

What about you? Do you use a different method?


3 thoughts on “The Way I Translate”

  1. Ciao Ilaria! As you know I write a blog in Italian to improve my language skills. I always write in Italian and try not to think in English. When I have doubts about how to convey something I check the internet and use Italian and English dictionaries and Garzanti for synonyms.

    Recently I have started to translate my blogs into English. I started this upon the request of my husband because he wants to follow my blog but doesn’t understand Italian. I used to say to him…”just use google translator to translate the blog”.. but then I realized that while adequate to convey general concepts, it really doesn’t capture the nuances of my thoughts and often creates such crazy translations that it is almost laughable. I realized that I really needed to translate my thoughts myself in order to best convey idioms and a special turn of a phrase. I am also finding that there are some things that are just not translatable from one language to the other. The challenge of a translator I am finding, is to also be a cultural interpretator!

  2. Hi Melissa! Thanks for your comment! 🙂
    Thank goodness machine translation isn’t reliable, otherwise translators and interpreters would have to get another job!! 😉
    Yes, machine translators don’t understand the context of a text and the intentions of its author.
    At the very beginning, my blog was fully bilingual, but since writing the same post in two languages takes time, I write single posts in English or in Italian. The language choice depends on which language I feel like using and also on the kind of potential blog readers.

  3. I have just discovered your blog – it is very inspiring. Being a translator myself, I always enjoy other people’s views about this field. What’s more, I started learning Italian recently, and it is so rewarding to read about subjects I’m interested in (it’s better than any coursebook). Thanks for your Italian entries.

    Printing for proofreading: yes. After about 20 books, I still print my literary translations, the mistakes show immediately.

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