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Some Practical Issues in Translation

Paragraphing & Sub-paragraphs

Retain the original paragraph divisions

+ unless there are very strong reasons to change

– not just because you ‘feel like it’

Retain any sub-paragraphs / dot-points

+ also retain any identifying numbers / letters

Titles & Headings

• All NAATI test passages have headings

+ many also have sub-headings

+ these are part of the text & must be translated

+ try to imitate the general layout of the source text

Transference of SL Words

• Some SL words may have no TL equivalents

+ differences in geography / culture

+ new technology

+ borrowing from SL to fill gaps in TL vocabulary

• These may require transferring the SL word into the TL

+ ie, the SL word is not translated

+ but a translator’s note may be required

+ requirements when SL & TL use different scripts

– may require transliteration

Names of People, Places etc (1)

• Particular cases of ‘transference’ are names of:

+ people (eg, Quentin Bryce)

+ places (eg, Riverview)

+ organisations (eg, Medicare)

+ positions (eg, Student Welfare Coordinator)

• Even when they can be translated, they should not be

• Names widely known in the TL usually have equivalents

+ eg, United Nations

+ but not those specific to SL country, eg Newstart

Abbreviations & Acronyms

• Some SL documents may use:

+ abbreviations, eg Kodam = Komando Daerah Militer = Military Area Command

+ acronyms, eg NAATI = National Accreditation Auth- ority for Translators & Interpreters

• These may also be handled by transferring the SL word

+ but a translator’s note may be particularly useful

+ some TL scripts may not allow separate letters for acronyms

– may require full translation

Names of People, Places etc (2)

• Translation of position names depends on type of document:

+ if TL readers will need to know SL term

– ‘transfer’ SL word, then explain in a TN

+ in other cases, translate using suitable equivalents

Punctuation & Capital Letters (1)

• Punctuation in translated text should reflect the original

+ but should be ‘converted’ to reflect normal TL usage

+ eg, English use of comma [,] for thousands / millions

+ many languages use full stop [.] for this purpose

• Quotation marks in SL should be reflected in TL

+ eg, to indicate quoting of exact words / unusual meaning

• Use of round brackets ( ) should also be reflected in TL

+ ie, to indicate a parenthesis

Punctuation & Capital Letters (2)

• Insertions by translator must be in square brackets [ ]

+ emphasises information not in original document

• Upper-case / lower-case letters

+ if TL writing system allows for these:

– capitals in SL must be reflected in TL

– but only as consistent with normal rules in TL

– in English, capitals must be used when required, even if SL did not have them

Translator’s Notes (1)

• Typical situations:

+ information that TL readers do not know

‘Pancasila [official state philosophy] Education’

+ information the translator does not know

‘loss of 1 laptop, 3 [word illegible], 2 watches’

+ mistakes in the SL document

‘pay the sum of $125,000 (one hundred and twenty thousand dollars) to the other party’

‘moved from Melbourne to Sidney to seek work’

Words of Unknown / Uncertain Meaning

• Sometimes meaning of SL word:

+ cannot be found (not listed in available dictionaries)

+ is genuinely ambiguous (original badly expressed)

• Translators must alert their readers to this

+ if possible, indicate what intended meaning might be

+ don’t just leave blank space

+ this is what translator’s notes are for

Translator’s Notes (2)

• Typical situations [cont]:

+ for clarity in legal documents

– information not stated in SL, but required in TL for grammatical reasons

‘he stated [that he] had once met this man’

– in most types of texts, this will not be required

Over-use of TNs in NAATI tests may be penalised