When I first started translating professionally in Spain over 20 years ago, I was extraordinarily wet behind the ears. Although I’d studied literature translation at university as part of my BA language degree course, it was not an appropriate preparation for a career as a translator.
Common Mistakes in Papers for Publication Part 5 – Numbers (3)
This is the third and final post on numbers (see below for links to the previous two posts).
Whether to write numbers as figures or words, put abbreviations before or after them, or leave spaces between symbols preceding or following them is all far more complicated than we might at first imagine.
It’s also easy to get confused as style-guide rules and recommendations can differ and many non-native speakers writing or translating into English simply copy usage in their own language, which is often not correct. As a translator and editor, I’ve written these posts on numbers to highlight errors I’ve come across in my work and also to clear my own confusion between source usage and UK and US English preferences.
Common Mistakes in Papers for Publication Part 4 – Numbers (2)
Common Mistakes in Papers for Publication is a series within the Bite-sized Tips series.
In the first and second instalments, I presented some common errors I find in the academic papers I revise or edit. Although they are generally made by non-native speakers of English in the texts I see, a lot of them can trip us up as well, especially as there are often differences between US and UK usage and everything can become quite muddled.
In the third instalment I looked at some issues with numbers. As it’s a vast, complicated area and lots of mistakes crop up, I’ve divided the focus on numbers into three parts. This is the second of those parts on dates and currencies.
Common Mistakes in Papers for Publication Part 3 – Numbers (1)
I spend a lot of my work time improving academic texts. This can involve revising the translations that authors have produced of their own work or editing their non-native efforts at writing directly into English. Unfortunately, the results are never error-free and, as I mostly revise and edit articles and papers written by Spanish speakers, I repeatedly come across the same mistakes.
In the first instalment of this series within a series, I highlighted ten of these common mistakes including the use of etc. and et al.
In the second, I focused on whether to use data is or data are, some punctuation problems and issues with capitalisation.
Way back in 2015, I asked my blog readers whether the purchase order I’d produced was merely a pipe dream or a document I could actually use with my clients. The general consensus was that my overly long PO would prove daunting for direct clients and unnecessary for agencies. After tweaking it a bit based on the many suggestions I received, I instead came up with a purchase order checklist. The idea was to fill it in ourselves using the information we gleaned in negotiations with clients and for it to be a handy reminder of what questions we should be asking.
A recent tourism editing job had me scouring through many translated websites of hotels (Spanish to English, my pair) and I was appalled to see the same mistakes made again and again.
Of course, this might be because the company used machine translation (MT) or non-native speakers for the job. Because a lot of people think tourism texts are so simple that MT will be good enough.
Unfortunately, that’s why many in the sector refuse to allocate a high enough budget to translating their marketing material. The less they are willing to spend, the more likely their translated text will fail.
Cette version française de mon article de blog Revision: a Can of Worms? a été traduite par Élisa Marcel dans le cadre de sa formation de Master TSM (Traduction Spécialisée Multilingue) à l’université de Lille. Cette traduction était publiée à l’origine sur le blog MasterTSM@Lille.
Quand est-ce qu’une révision va trop loin ?
Quand est-ce qu’une traduction n’en est pas une ?
La révision est un sujet très épineux, comme je l’ai déjà mentionné dans mon premier billet sur le sujet. Elle peut engendrer beaucoup de sentiments négatifs si vous pensez que les changements apportés à votre travail n’étaient pas utiles et si l’opinion du réviseur pourrait vous faire perdre un client.
Cette version française de mon article de blog Warning about Google Translate a été traduite par Emma Le Barazer dans le cadre de sa formation de Master TSM (Traduction Spécialisée Multilingue) à l’université de Lille. Cette traduction était publiée à l’origine sur le blog MasterTSM@Lille.
Je me retrouve souvent à réviser des textes rédigés en anglais par des locuteurs non natifs (le plus souvent par des Espagnols, car j’arrive à déchiffrer ce qu’ils essayaient de dire). La plupart du temps, j’apprécie cette activité car les sujets sont intéressants, la qualité de la langue n’est en général pas trop mauvaise, et cette tâche ne m’oblige pas trop à taper au clavier (et mes bras se reposent un peu, alors que je souffre depuis peu de troubles musculosquelettiques).
According to the back cover of Don’t Trust Your Spell Check, “Everybody makes mistakes”. Unfortunately, its author, Dean Evans, is no exception. In a book that promises “pro proofreading tactics and tests to eliminate embarrassing writing errors”, nothing could me more disappointing than finding some of the latter in the body of the text and the tests. Given that this is an independently published book, I guess there was no money for a copy editor and/or proofreader, which is a shame.
Having said that, as an experienced editor and content writer, Evans describes strategies and gives explanations that are well worth noting. And the many tests in the second half of the book are extremely helpful as a training exercise. Although it would be more useful to discuss differences of opinion in person with an experienced tutor, tackling the tests is far better than doing no practice at all.
Three of the most popular posts on my blog over the years have explored the relationship between translators and agencies: ‘18 reasons why an agency might stop working with you’; its sequel, based on feedback on the original post, ‘22 more reasons why an agency might stop working with you’; and a post looking at this relationship from the opposite perspective, ‘Thirteenish reasons why you might stop working for an agency’.
Today’s post is a sequel to the latter based on comments made on the original post, my own experience and opinions I have read in forums or discussed with colleagues in person.