ホーム  >  Tips/コラム:プロ通訳者・翻訳者コラム  >  ジェフリー・A・クロフト先生のコラム 第2回:『Translators and bilinguals―a translation primer』

Tips/コラム

プロ通訳者・翻訳者コラム

気になる外資系企業の動向、通訳・翻訳業界の最新情報、これからの派遣のお仕事など、各業界のトレンドや旬の話題をお伝えします。

ジェフリー・A・クロフト先生のコラム [1998年-現在] フリーランス・社内翻訳者
学術文献・研究論文・技術機関紙等の翻訳、契約書等の法律文書の翻訳、説明書・規格書等の技術文書の翻訳、手紙・通信文・企業案内・広告・ホームページ等の翻訳に精通。
[2001年-2002年] フリーランス通訳者
日英・英日同時または逐次通訳(主な顧客:富士通, ソニー, TBS等)
[学歴] 学士号:カリフォルニア大学、バークレー校 修士号:モントレー国際大学

第2回:『Translators and bilinguals―a translation primer』

This is a reflection and expansion on the fundamentals of translation as expressed in the American Translators Association (ATA) article: Translation: Getting it Right.
Professional translators are writers, producing texts that read well in the target language. They are usually fluent in their source language(s) as well. But they are above all effective bridges between the languages they work in; they can render the message of the original text, with appropriate style and terminology, in their native language.
Bilingualism is something else. Bilinguals speak two languages fluently, but are not necessarily good at moving information between the two, especially in writing. And many people described as bilinguals overestimate their communication skills altogether.
Lina’s, a pricey French sandwich chain, advertised for franchisees abroad with a text concocted by a self-proclaimed bilingual employee. Slogan: “Tomorrow, we will expect on your dynamism.” Response: zero.
Bilingualism on its own is not a guarantee of written fluency or skill in translation.
  p. 22

Passion and pain: labor of love

This article, written for non-linguists, is a series of truisms that deserve reflection. The first four words cannot be overemphasized: professional translators are writers, and professional writing is, above all, a labor of love. In one language alone, writing requires endless passion and diligence. Crafting sentences is no easy task, requiring careful attention to diction and style as well as recursive and resolute revision. Translation involves a much deeper and broader engagement drawing on still more skills and a still greater repertoire, and—as clarified in the ATA article cited above—being bilingual (even truly, and not just self-proclaimed) is certainly no guarantee of special skill in translation, or in writing, for that matter. Just as people do not become excellent writers without dedication, focus, and continued practice, bilinguals do not become skilled translators simply by being steeped in both the target and source languages and cultures. We do not become skilled athletes simply by jogging or accomplished chefs simply by making dinner. Translation is a profession that assumes bilingual skills, knowledge, and abilities as a starting point, with the additional skills of faithfully and skillfully rendering the source text in the target language creating a compelling finished work.

Faithful and cogent

Beyond conveying the meaning of the original text in the target language, professional translation calls for close attention to accuracy, of course, as well as every effort to craft compelling prose through careful choices in diction, techniques like alliteration, and other such aspects of style. While clearly maintaining and conveying the original message of the source text author(s), the professional translator captures and keeps the attention of the reader, in spite of rhetorical and structural differences between the source and target languages, as well as finer points such as terms that may not have close equivalents in the target language.

Precise and pertinacious

In dealing with these micro and macro challenges, translators need to strive continually for the most precise and appropriate terms and phrases, often requiring great focus, and sometimes requiring a great deal of time and revisions—which can create considerable stress when facing pressing deadlines. Like other kinds of professional writers, translators must be dedicated to creating smooth and accurate works of the highest quality through painstaking revision, and retranslation, as necessary.
In the same way that educated adults may incorrectly assume that professional writing is something that they could simply pick up and do, if they were so inclined, some may assume that anyone who is bilingual could simply pick up and work as a translator, but these assumptions are certainly off the mark. Writing is a careful and creative process that requires focus, time, and energy, and translation does all the more so.

Copyright(C) ISS, INC. All Rights Reserved.