Back in February last year, I asked you all to answer some questions about translation qualifications in a survey. I kept extending the deadline because I was hoping for more responses. And then when I should have being doing a write-up of the results, Brexit and the UK general election, family issues and the ever-present threat of the climate emergency filled my head and my spare time leaving me with no energy or enthusiasm for the blog.
Now that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, my work has all but come to a halt so at least I can finally get around to thanking everyone who took part in the survey and giving you the results. As there were only 59 respondents and I imagine this post might make some colleagues want to give their views, I have reopened the survey and will continue accepting responses until the end of July 2020.
It’s survey time again on My Words for a Change. Back in 2015 I ran my first survey on adverts on translation blogs (TLDR: don’t have any adverts on your blogs!). The following year I ran one on revisions (thus combining two of my favourite subjects). I spared you all my intrusive questions in 2017 and last year I ran a survey on whether blogging is dead (TLDR: no, it isn’t yet, but it really depends on the blog).
This year I want to quizz you about qualifications. As you probably know if you’re a regular reader, lots of guest posters have written about their experiences of MAs and MScs in translation for this blog, and the vast majority of them have been positive. But taking out a year or two to study a degree at university, even if it’s a distance-learning course, isn’t an option for all of us.
Once you’ve started a blog, how do you keep it going? What can get in the way of posting regularly? The majority of the survey respondents (59%) admitted they didn’t update their translation and/or interpreting blogs at least once every six weeks. In this fourth and final part of the results, we’ll gain some insights into why some bloggers find it hard to publish posts frequently.
The most obvious and most frequent explanation for not writing more often was time constraints.
In Part 2 of these results we looked at the many reasons why people do and don’t blog. Unless you’re running a blog to improve your writing skills and keep a record of your ideas, you need readers. And to attract readers, you have to write about topics that interest them. Nearly 85% of the survey respondents read translation and interpreting blogs. Let’s find out why they read them and what puts the other 15% off.
As expected, the top response in favour of reading blogs was professional interest:
Back in 2013, when I first started My Words for a Change on Blogger (before moving to WordPress in 2015), the pressure on freelance translators and interpreters to blog was quite intense. We were constantly being told that blogging was a must for marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes and to attract clients (as we learned in Part 1 of these results). I felt positively guilty for months because I had nothing to say (hard to believe now, I know, because once I started, I couldn’t stop) and felt that launching myself into the blogosphere was quite scary.
Judging by the responses to the translation & interpreting blog survey, I’m not alone in feeling compelled to blog:
Back in early January 2018, I decided to create the translation and interpreting blog survey because I wanted to find out whether blogging was a worthwhile activity for colleagues and myself. I’d noticed that many blogs listed in my blogroll had disappeared completely (so I had to remove them) and others hadn’t been updated with new posts for months and in some cases years.
It had also been suggested that Facebook, with its immediate exchanges and discussions taking place in a large number of groups ranging from general (Watercooler, The League of Extraordinary Translators, Things Translators Never Say) to specific (Tourism Translators, Translators who use Speech Recognition, memoQ Users), was the new preferred hangout for translators and interpreters.
In 2017 I noticed that a number of blogs listed in my blogroll had been closed down and that no entries had been made on several others for months and in some cases years. 2018 has begun with some blog writers announcing they will no longer publish any posts.
After years of being told that running a blog was a must for our business, it now seems that it might not be such a good idea (I explored some reasons for this in this post a couple of months ago).
So is blogging dead? And if colleagues no longer read blogs, where have they gone instead?
If you are a translator and/or interpreter, I would be grateful if you could complete this survey to help me answer these questions. I will keep this survey open until the end of February and publish the results on this blog.
Thank you for your input!
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The word is out: having your translations revised is THE way to grow as a translator. If you continue to work in your bubble without any feedback, you’ll make the same mistakes again and again, your word choices will remain narrow, you’ll never learn to think outside the box and your translations might never ever sing.
“I am not sure that one gains too much useful knowledge from a course on revision. Experience of being revised (whether monolingually or via translation) and revising is what makes you a better revisor. The interaction involved in close translator/reviser collaborations on big projects can be an abundant source of learning.”
“I work in a team of three where one person translates, another revises the translation (and the translator accepts/rejects the changes) and a third colleague does a final proof. This system generally works well and we all learn from each other too.”
“My case is special, because we are essentially an in-house team (some of us off-site), working for a host of departments/divisions as our ‘clients’. We have the same cycle for nearly all projects: translator – content reviser – translator – language reviser – translator – final approval (head of team). Therefore the translator has the final say in what to accept or reject from the reviser’s changes. But again, it is generally based on discussion and consensus.”
The very last question in my revisions survey (answered by 229 of the 232 people that filled it out) focused on finding out what, if any, training colleagues have in revision techniques. Out of the 80 people who responded yes to this question, 77 went on to give me the details (thank you!).
The third section of the revision survey switched to focusing on the perceived quality of a revision and satisfaction with a reviser’s job. But it kicked off with asking respondents whether they were aware of the definitions of reviser and revision in the standard ISO 17100:2015, and two thirds are apparently not.
It’s quite simple, really. A revision is the comparison of the source text and the target text (i.e the translation) by a second person, the reviser (and, therefore, revision does not refer to the check the translator makes of his/her own work). Click on the above link for more definitions of terms used in the translation process. I have also written about the differences between revision and proofreading here.