Fun with back translation

Reverse translation refers to translating out of your native language into a foreign language, an activity that many interpreters do but not many professional translators. An excellent active knowledge of the foreign language is required, no doubt. Professional interpreters do this more than written text translators, and this is acceptable for a variety of reasons. In part, because interpreting is context driven and, usually, single use. Also because oral errors somehow seem less serious than written ones.

But this is not to say that reverse translation or writing in a foreign language is impossible, just that it is difficult. Previously, in Tradiling, we have mentioned eminent writers that published directly in a second or third language.

Back translation in the title of this article does not necessarily refer to writing or translating into a second language. What I am referring to here is re-translating any translated text back into its original language (without knowledge of the original). This activity is sometimes used in professional contexts as a quality indicator in translation processes, as described here:

Back translation and reconciliation services give you additional quality and accuracy assurance for your most sensitive translation and localization projects. Both back translation and reconciliation become important when you have high value content that you need translated across languages with as much certainty as possible that the exact meaning is conveyed.

From The What And Why Of Back Translation And Reconciliation, Language Scientific

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Sunset for Google Translator Toolkit

Image by Ralf Beck from Pixabay

How do you translate? Do you use any particular platform? Or are you still using a word processor and a dictionary? These days most professional translators work in a web editors of one kind or another in a platform that is totally online. The immediate work context of the translator is just a window into an online database containing the original and the translation, as well as other data of interest (such as terminology, format codes). Translators are often heard complaining about this way of working, in particular because of the lack of context when translating segment by segment. But the productivity gains are enormous. Translators can no longer easily undermine the structural integrity of translation documents and files by manipulating the overall format of a data file. Translation work can be mined for future benefit. Quality control mechanisms can detect all kinds of common issues automatically. The list goes on. Continue reading

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Terminology for translators

Tradiling has frequently had occasion to refer to the translator’s friend, the Inter-Active Terminology for Europe (IATE) database. Here are links to our previous articles: 06.10.201410.05.201702.10.2017, 12.11.2018. Next week, IATE fans and inquisitive minds can get an update on IATE from Paula Zorrilla Agut, IATE manager at the EU Translation Centre, who will be speaking at Scaterm, the Institut dels Estudis Catalans (IES) on Monday 7th October (10:30 – 13:00), under the provocative title “La IATE: un recurs útil per a la traducció?”. Continue reading

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Is Britain’s democracy under threat?


George Hodan. CC0 Public Domain

For centuries Britain’s Parliament has been respected as one of the oldest and most reputable democratic institutions in the world. However, recent events have put that status in grave doubt, and there is huge uncertainty about what will happen in the next few months. Britons and concerned citizens are watching anxiously to see what happens next.

You would have to be the most isolated of hermits not to be aware of the crisis in the UK caused by the Brexit referendum that took place in mid-2016. By a small margin the UK voted to end its 43-year relationship with the European Union (EU). Some commentators put this result down to the rise of English nationalism. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain and Wales was less pro-Brexit than England. Continue reading

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WIPO Pearl

This is a guest article by Jost Zetzsche. (See the end of the article.)

Years ago I rather briefly mentioned the impressive terminology repository WIPO Pearl,but after meeting Geoff Westgate of WIPO recently, I was once again reminded that it might be one of the most underused tools in our arsenal. I imagine it’s relatively widely used by translators specializing in patent translation (after all, “WIPO” stands for the World Intellectual Property Organization, and their 170-million-word-a-year translation efforts are mostly related to patents), but that doesn’t mean that the use of this term gem (how is that for a rock band name?) is limited to those translators. In fact, as the following graphic shows, if you are working in any of these fields (which extend to hundreds of subfields if you click on them), you are well-served with this terminology resource (not a great name for a rock band!).

Wipo subjects

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