Madlibs no More

One of the greatest challenges a translator must face are passages out of context. Without reference materials and context, a quality translation may be completely out of reach.

For instance, take the following English phrase: “Crankshaft Line Gantries consist of overhead equipment, such as a Gantry Carriage, Drip Pan, Blow Offs, and Shot Pins.” This short sentence feels like a migraine in the mind of a translator when taken out of context, a relentless splitting headache in the painful light of a deadline. And having references at hand offers no respite, for the translator must look up the items one-by-one and learn what each does before he can translate. Without context unifying the terms and providing hints to their meaning, they may as well be written in Venusian, Zentradi, or Klingon.

Another example is translating web pages. A page written in html, when processed through a CAT Tool, will show its menus as lists of random words, such as, “Subscription, Top, Home.” A carless Spanish translator may turn this page into the world’s dumbest madlib: “Revista (magazine), Arriba (upwards), Mi Casa (my house).” That’s not even funny.

This is why we insist our clients give us as much information as possible about a project. We don’t mean to be a pest, we just want to do a good job.

But often, this information does not lie in the hands of the client, and it becomes the job of the Project Manager to find it. The project manager will have to browse libraries of technical dictionaries, manuals, journals, and on-line publications to provide his translators with the knowledge they require to complete a translation. It’s hard work, but it pays off in better quality and faster production turnaround.

Knowing more about the subject matter of the texts we translate not only guarantees a quality product, but also allows us to write more fluently and clearly about it. The text will be easier to understand and more effective in conveying its message. At Trusted Translations, we are committed to providing this level of quality to our clients every time.