This is the title I chose for the November hosted session of the Group Translation Chats (GTC). Besides two coffee-break chats per week, which are drop-in meetings anyone in the group can attend, we hold one moderated chat on a particular translation-related topic every month.
I’ve always been interested in editing and revisions. Not only do they account for a large chunk of my workload, I’m also now a member of a RevClub and an Edit Club, meeting with my colleagues on alternate weeks to discuss texts we’ve translated with the aim of improving them and learning from each other.
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.”
Today’s guest post is by Nancy Matis and was first published on the sadly now-defunct blog of The Alexandria Library. It ties in nicely with a new theme on revisions on my blog, since I will be writing more about this topic in the near future. If you would like to write a guest post on the subject of revisions, proofreading or editing, please get in touch.
I’ve never been a brilliant translator myself. But I do think I’m quite good at revising others’ translations. This is probably because I started my career working as a language reviser.
Revision is a very thorny subject, as I mentioned in my previous post on the topic. It can generate a lot of bad feeling if you think the changes made to your work were unnecessary and if the reviser’s opinion could mean you lose a client.
But what if the reviser screams “too literal” at every turn and changes the sentences so drastically they not only no longer resemble the original translation, but barely reflect the author’s ideas either?
Receiving a translation back covered in tracked changes and comments is never a nice experience because it mainly signals that the client is unhappy with your work. A mistake is a mistake and has to be owned up to and corrected. It’s something you have to learn from to improve your skills and ensure you don’t repeat. And you have to hope that the consequences won’t be too serious and that you don’t lose the client as a result.
But when there are no errors and the red highlights differences in opinion between the translator and the reviser/editor, it’s a whole other ball game. The ensuing argument can turn into a battle between who is right and who is wrong. And although one may emerge the victor, as in table tennis, points can be won by either player along the way.