Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Translating At Three Levels

For the past week, I’ve been translating. At three different levels.

1. Translating documents for submission to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario by a Spanish doctor wanting to go for specialized training in Canada. I don’t do much Professional Translation these days, but I do come out of retirement for cases like this one because the translations have to be certified by an Expert Translator accredited in Canada. (It sounds crazy, but certified translations by translators accredited officially in Spain aren’t accepted. Tit for tat, the Spanish authorities don‘t accept my translations.)

2. The catalogue for an exhibition of musical instruments (see image). I think I did it satisfactorily, but it could have been done more efficiently by a Native Translator with a background in music or better still musicology. As a text, it was very simple; but I had to spend a lot of time researching technical terms that a bilingual musician would probably have had at his or her fingertips. (Notice that I introduce the concept of efficient translation to take into account the time needed. A translation may be very good by the norms of quality, but not time or cost effective.)

3. For some German tourists and the driver on a bus in Valencia. The tourists could speak neither Spanish nor English. My spoken German is rudimentary. If they’d had a German/Spanish bilingual child with them to act as their Language Broker, I’m sure that child would have done as well as me.

A full week.

Image: Centre d'Artesania de la Comunitat Valenciana

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