Tuesday, November 22, 2005

ATA Conference in Seattle

In some ways, it was a better conference than usual: an interesting city, good fish restaurant, some interesting presentations, and the chance to meet again with old friends.

The hotel was not the best, given the number of people that came this year: the elevators were always overcrowded and took forever, and many of the conference rooms were way too small.

As usual, the presentations were a mixed bag: most had either too narrow a focus to be of interest for most people, or were slanted too much towards beginners... for example the presentation on using word macros was, in my opinion, way too basic, as was the one on XML.

Other presentations were much better. Of those that I attended the best was definitely the presentation and seminar on legal translation from Italian into English. Also very interesting and topical was the presentation on "Neutral Spanish" (and why such thing does not exist and is totally unnecessary).

Our own presentation was fairly well received; I did not present very well - I was nervous, and it showed, but Franco did much better in his part of the presentation (as well as in his presentation with Microsoft on MT).

Probably the best part was meeting again with Masaki, our partner that now works at Microsoft: we went twice with him at an excellent fish restaurant: especially the first evening we had an excellent time, the four of us remaining at our table for ours, talking about translation, Microsoft, and the "good old times" at J.D. Edwards.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Our presentation at the ATA

We gave our presentation ("Translation Quality measurement in Practice") at the 46th ATA Conference, in Seattle.
You can download a pdf version of the presentation from our web site devoted to translation quality: TranslationQuality.com.

Friday, November 04, 2005

TranslationQuality.com and Translation Quality Blog Now Up

Our new web site, devoted to translation quality issues (at present mainly our work on the measurement of translation quality), is now up.

You can visit it at TranslationQuality.com.

Also active is our new blog, Translation Quality Blog, which we intend as an open forum for questions regarding traslation quality and translation quality improvement.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

ATA conference coming... with our presentation

Our presentation, "Translation Quality Measurement in Practice", will be on Saturday morning, at 8:30.
We have quite a few new things to present after a one year absence, including our practical experience implementing TQI at Lionbridge.
Anybody who is interested in translation quality is cordially invited to our presentation.

See you in Seattle.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bulgarian Invents Unique Translation Method

from Sofia News Agency

Very short on details ("Koycho Mitev's invention uses digits to record speech and automatically transfer it into whatever other language") and I'm afraid I'll believe it when I see it.

From what it says here, it might be a variation of a word for word translation: "word = n. 23 in English, n. 23 in Italian = parola".

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Link Between Global Markets and Translation

(from PRWeb)

"L'industria della traduzione: realtà e prospettive del mercato italiano", a book by Gianni Davico, "focuses on the impact that globalization has made on the translation industry in Italy, while stressing the importance of communication across borders and cultures".

For a short review of the book, see this previous entry.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The downside of project memories

I find project memories fairly useless: it is true that they include fuzzy matches, and permit a translation company to limit the size of the memories sent to translators, but they are of very limited usefulness as regards terminology, since the concordance feature will only find terms that are in either the 100% or fuzzy matches, but will miss any term that appears in segments where the fuzzy threshold is not reached.

Post script:
One thing that was probably not clear in my original post: I think that project memories are almost useless, but cerainly not translation memory. Project memories are created by analyzing a project against an existing (full) translation memory, so that they may contain only the segments from the full memory that match (either 100% or as fuzzy matches) the segments contained in the text to be translated.
My issue with project memories is that any term contained in a segment of the full translation memory that is not similar enough to a segment in the text to be translated as to be included in the project memory is not going to appear in the project memory, and will, therefore, not appear in a concordance search.

...for example, like...

The ubiquitous "like" has, long taken over most illiterate conversation here in the United States.

Now it's rearing its ugly head even in technical writing, where the writers (one would think) are supposed to know better:

"There are a few things, for example, like some editing functions and the Help files, that are only available in the xxx program on the desktop."

Either use "...for example, some editing functions...", or "...like some editing functions...".

"...for example, like..." is redundant.

Monday, August 29, 2005

One reason I believe the sooner Trados disappears, the better...

...is the very poor quality of their matching engine. For example, I'm currently translating a list of software strings for a telephony system.

For the following string:

468:"Enable DUALmode"

I get a 62% fuzzy match, the original SL of which was:

451:"New building"

Very useful: the number "4", the colon and both quotes are, indeed, identical.

Even better:

For the string:


I get a 74% fuzzy match, the original SL of which was:


Hopefully, SDLX will be a change for the better.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Interesting Book on the Italian Translation Market

Gianni Davico has written an interesting book: L'industria della traduzione, Realtà e prospettive del mercato italiano.
This is the first book on the Italian translation market. High spots of the book are interviews with Rodrigo Vergara of Logos, and other players in the Italian translation industry. Also interesting is Davico's analysis of the emerging division of the translation market between high-end and low-end, with a shrinking share of the market left in the middle.
The book is very useful as an up-to-date introduction to a subject that has not been dealt with at book length before.
Even though aimed at the Italian market, most of its contents and conclusions hold true for other markets as well.
Among the trends examined in the book there is the continuing expansion of the translation market, which is closely linked, however, to a trend towards lower and lower rates.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

New York Times' Review of Gregory Rabassa's Memoir

The Interpreter, by William Deresiewicz

An interesting review of "IF THIS BE TREASON, Translation and Its Dyscontents. A Memoir", By Gregory Rabassa.

"If translators are the anonymous heroes of contemporary literature, its anonymous superhero is Gregory Rabassa.
The contempt for translation partly reflects a desire to keep literature away from the grubby hands of the great unwashed, who don't know how to appreciate it anyway.
It is also a gesture of monumental bad faith. Has there ever been a writer who actually preferred not to be translated?"

Monday, May 23, 2005

Interesting article on Google Translator

Google Blogoscoped (Philipp Lenssen) has an interesting article on the current state of the Google machine translation system: Google Translator: The Universal Language.

The article was followed by some lively discussion, and was followed by another interesting article on the Qwikly.com blog.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

How to use wildcard and format searches in MSWord to make sure all your numbers are formatted correctly

(c) Riccardo Schiaffino, 2005

Introduction: The Problem

A known drawback of translating using Trados is that segments which contain only numbers cannot be opened in the translation memory tool.
This can be a problem when the document to translate contains tables of numbers: for example, you might be translating English into Italian, and you want to make sure that all numbers are formatted correctly, with a comma to separate decimals and a dot to separate thousands.

Makeshift or wrong solutions

Of course, once you have completed your translation, you can go back and manually change all those dots into commas, and the commas that separate the thousands into dots... but unless it's only a question of just a few numbers, this is a very boring and error-prone activity (are you sure you are not leaving anything behind? ... there were several pages with numeric tables: are you really sure?)
Next you might think that a simple search and replace may solve your problem: Search for ".", replace with "," and... wait a minute: this would really mess-up punctuation everywhere, wouldn't it?

A better approach: regular expressions

Maybe a more refined search?
We are on the right track, now: a good solution would be to use a regular expression search (which, in MS Word, is called a "wild card" search).
Regular expressions are wild card on steroids: When we think of wild cards, we normally think of "*" to mean "multiple characters", and "?" to mean "any single character" (for instance, if you search for file in Windows and your search string is *.doc, you'll find all files with a "doc" extension, while if you search for "?and.doc" you may find "wand.doc", "land.doc", etc.). With regular expressions you can do that, and much more.

A simple regular expression search

As an example of a regular expression (or "wildcard") search, if we go back to our original problem, we can perform the following search:
  1. In the Find field type "([0-9]).".
This means "any digit, followed by a dot".
  1. In the Replace field type "\1,".
This means "replace whatever digit you have found with the same digit, but followed by a comma instead than by a dot".

A few necessary refinements

First of all, we don't want our search to also find numbers in the source language segments or in segments that we translated: the source language segments should be left as they are, and in the translated ones we have presumably already taken care of correctly formatting the numbers embedded in the text.
Add color to your search
One good way to achieve this is to add color to your search: if we have set Trados up so that different types of segments use different colors (for instance blue for source language text, dark green for 100% matches, etc.) we can limit our search and replace operation to text that uses the default ("automatic") font color: this would be the part of the documents that have not been opened by Trados, i.e., our numeric tables.
  1. In order to do this, in both the Find and the Replace field, add a Format search:
  2. Click the More button, if your Find and Replace is not already expanded
  3. Click the Format button
  4. Select Font in the drop down list
  5. In the Find Font dialog, click on the Font color drop down list and select "automatic" as the color
  6. Click OK
Refine the wildcard search
Besides changing the decimal dot used in English into the comma used in Italian, we also need to change the English thousands separator (the comma) into the Italian one (the dot), in order not to end up with something like "1,411,12".
If for example a line of the numbers we need to reformat is as follows:


In order to do this, we need to perform our search and replace in three stages:
First search for all the thousands separators, and replace them with an arbitrary symbol (not yet a dot):

  1. In the Find field type ",([0-9]{3})", i.e., "search for a comma, followed by three digits"
  2. In the Replace field type "##\1", i.e. "two '#' characters, followed by the three-digit number we found" (you can, of course, use other symbols instead of "##", so long as they are not likely to be used in the document where you are performing your search.)
At this point our example line will be as follows:
Then search for the decimal dots, and replace them with commas, as we did in our simple regular expression search above:
  1. In the Find field type "([0-9]).".
  2. In the Replace field type "\1,".
Our example line will have changed to:
Finally, search for our arbitrary character "##" and replace it with the correct thousands separator (the dot):
  1. In the Find field type "##([0-9]{3})", i.e., "search for two '#'s, followed by three digits"
  2. In the Replace field type ".\1", i.e. "a dot, followed by the three-digit number we found".
Our example line is now correct for Italian:
It is fairly easy to change the above searches so as to format your number to suite your target country's standards.

Another wildcard search: how to exclude 100% matches from editing

Another occasion when I find wildcard searches useful is when I have edit some file that my customer sens me already pre-translated in Trados (but not X-Translated), with the indication that 100% should not be touched (and will not be paid).
In this case I use the following search string to find only 0% or fuzzy matches and skip the 100% matches:
This tells Word to search for a "<}", followed by a one- or two-digit number (but not a three-digit number), followed by "{>"
With this search string Word will find all the delimiters between SL and TL, but only in segments up to 99% match, while skipping all 100% matches.

If you decide to use this search string (or a similar one) while editing files translated with Trados with Workbench open, be aware of a bug: if you open the segment in Workbench before first closing the Find window, the segment will be opened with corrupt characters ("-{}-") at the beginning, and it will not be possible to close it (error message: "no segment appears to be open").
My workaround for this is:

  1. Do all corrections possible without opening the segments in WOrkbench
  2. When a segment has to be opened, be sure to close the Find window first.


I hope to have given you an idea of the kind of things you can do with regular expression searches, and of how useful they can be.
There is a lot more that you can do with regular expression searches in MS Word (and in other tools). You can find a good introduction to wildcard searches in MS Word on the following web page: http://word.mvps.org/FAQs/General/UsingWildcards.htm. A good introductory book is "Regular Expressions in 10 minutes", by Ben Forta (Sams teach Yourself series); it covers regular expressions in general, of which Word wild card searches are only a subset.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Sunday, April 03, 2005

New translation portal launched

from PR Leap

Babelport.com Is a new translation portal, launched in February 2005. It has been developed and is maintained by cpi service of Leipzig, Germany.
I have visited the site. It looks professional and interesting. however, I have some doubts about how many such portals may remain viable, especially given the huge lead that such portals as ProZ seem to have as regards the number of members already signed.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Interpreters lost in translation

KBCIfrom Idaho 2 News

"It's really important to know that just because you speak two languages doesn't mean you can be an interpreter"

I'm sick and tired of "Lost in Translation"

Not the movie, which I haven't seen, and that, to all accounts is well done.

I'm really tired to see that so many news pieces that may have to do or not with translation, drag in that movie's title, whether it is appropriate (seldom) or not.

Just from the last few days:
  • "Market insight: Lost in translation" (on a piece that tells how the weak dollar has wiped out gains made on foreign transactions)

  • "Interpreters lost in translation" (about the fact that in order to be an interpreter, being bilingual is not enough)

  • "Nothing lost in translation in Pollack's 'Interpreter'" (about a new movie set at the UN)

  • "Lost in Translation" (about a TV show)

All of this just in the last couple of days. Enough already!

TRADOS grows in Language Service Providers market

from marketWIRE

"TRADOS attributes the industry-leading growth to its continuing focus and investment in this important market."

Full-time Spanish-speaking interpreter job approved in San Jacinto

from PE.com (registration required)

ENLASO Joins GALA (Globalization And Localization Association)

from Yahoo Finance

Monday, March 28, 2005

Transperfect Creates New Transcription Division For Medical, Legal, And Corporate Clients

from Business Wire

"TransPerfect Translations announced the establishment of a new division to expand the company's existing transcription service offerings. "

New Revision of CiyaTran MT, Machine Translation Software for Farsi, Dari and Pashto<>English

from marketWIRE

"CiyaTran MT automatically supports correction/adjustment of spelling errors, morphological variations and syntax deviations, and detects format, encoding language and domain of the input text. "

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Software learns to translate by reading up

from New Scientist

This looks interesting, although the press release is over a month old. It describes a new technique for machine translation.
I just stumbled on it while I was searching for other information on a Microsoft blog.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Most useful tool for translators

Search and Replace, an unassuming utility program from Funduc software, must surely be one of the most useful tool for a translator.

For instance, right now I'm verify the translation of some software against a glossary and the translation memory provided by the customer, and against the Microsft glossaries.
By saving the customer glossary and translation memory to txt format, I'm able to do all my searches on the reference material using Search and Replace.

Since it supports regular expressions, I'm able to create complicated searches, such as for words followed on the same string by a certain different word, or words not followed by another on the same string, etc.

Very useful, and highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Interesting article on MT post-editing

Jeff Allen has begun an interesting thread on ProZ by linking to a new article on his on machine translation post-editing (What is Post-editing?).

According to Jeff post-editing of machine-translated text would permit to reduce translation time by up to 70%, while producing professional high-quality translations.

In order to achieve such gains, a good procedure needs to be in place, so that the necessary terminological work be done before the MT stage.

Furthermore,the post-editing should be done by a fully qualified professional.

I think this is very important, as it points to a future in which MT translation becomes another tool (although maybe the most important one) in a professional translator's kit: just like, in the past twenty five years or so, our profession has been revolutionized first by the coming of the personal computer, and then by CAT programs.

Friday, March 18, 2005

LingvoSoft Translation Dictionaries

from SymbianOne

LingvoSoft publishes a range of translation products for desktops, PDAs and smartphones. Their extensive product line includes full text translators for the desktop.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

PROMT announces new version of translation software

from eMediaWire

"The software will be presented for the first time at the largest IT & computer exhibition of the year, CeBIT 2005 that will be held on March 10-16 in Hannover".

Call center offers phone-based translation service

from KRT Wire

The story is about the services provided by Language Line Services, "the world's largest over-the-phone interpretation firm".

AllPosters.com to market in foreign languages through SDL autmoatic translation tool

from InternetRetailer.com

USP to publish U.S. Pharmacopeia - National Formulary in Spanish

from Pharmaceutical Processing

"The USP - NF provides standards of identity, strength, quality, and purity for prescription and non - prescription drug ingredients and dosage forms, dietary supplements, medical devices, and other health care products. "

Friday, March 11, 2005

Philosophy lost in translation

from The Oracle

...discussed how the meanings of words can be easily lost in translation: "Our own uses of language can lead us to all kinds of assumptions"...

Iverson Nominated for Translation Industry Award

from eMediaWire

"Iverson Language Associates, Inc., has been nominated for a 2005 ClientSide Excellence Award for its work in managing document translation. Client Side News, the publication presenting the award, is a monthly news magazine focused on the language and translation industry."

Young Translator Helps Interpreting the Written Experiences of Japanese Immigrants

from SFGrate.com

"Some people had large boxes full of diaries they called me to translate, " says Nicole, 17. "I told them I'd love to, but there's no way I could get through even half of that."

When Translations Leave for Cheaper Markets

from Business Week online

An article that deals with problems that are all too common for most of us, nowadays:

"When one market begins to dry up, try adding the value of expertise. For a couple of linguists hit hard by online outsourcing, going upmarket may be the only solution"

One answer (given by Chris Durban), is certainly interesting... I don't know how feasible it is, though, for most translators:

"The key in translation services is to segment, segment, segment. The problem with most translators is that they make themselves too small. They have stuck with 12 cents a word for far too long. The top of the market is 50 cents or 60 cents a word -- and it's empty! There is very little competition at that level."

Chris Durban, however, has more to say on this topic in his own column, The Bottom Line (certainly worth checking out, though "cum grano salis").

E-Z-MRP Seeks Spanish Translation & Distributor for Exclusive License Agreement

from MediaSyndicate

E-Z-MRP is an integrated manufacturing system that includes all the functions needed to control manufacturing operations.
It was designed to make it easy to add and support foreign languages. With the success of the Chinese translation project E-Z-MRP is seeking to add additional foreign languages to the system through cooperative ventures with distributors in foreign countries.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

"Tasking the Translator" conference

from Cornell Chronicle

Anne Carson, winner of the 2001 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, will be keynote speaker for a conference titled "Tasking the Translator," to be held March 11 and 12 at Cornell. The conference features artists and scholars from the United States and abroad, including a presentation by Barcelona-born multimedia artist Antoni Muntadas.

"Globalization produces rich new possibilities for linguistic innovation and experimentation, as well as threatening the continued existence of a wide array of linguistic and literary practices, translation is bound up with our modes of transmitting knowledge and the past, as well as our very ability, as global intellectuals, to address each other."

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Translation Device for Emergency Zones

from Wired

"...the U.S. military is refining a handheld voice-translation device that will soon be used by police and emergency-room doctors back home."

Suit against translator rule is dismissed

from SignOnSanDiego.com

"A federal judge in San Diego dismissed a lawsuit yesterday that challenged a federal policy requiring hospitals and doctors to provide translators for patients who speak little English. [...] The rule applies to doctors and hospitals receiving federal funding."

New Full-text G>E E>G MT Program

from Presse Portal

"To avoid the most obvious mistakes resulting from the incorrect translation of terms with several different meanings, the Full-Text Translator 5.0 has been equipped with subject areas to limit the possible choices right from the start."

Which, as far as I know, is standard on most other MT translation packages.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Lost in translation?

from the Kansas City Star (registration required)

Yet another public administration relying on automatic translation to provide multilingual information to non-English speakers.

"Translations done by computer are not always accurate..."

Which would imply that most of the time they are... or am I missing something?

The Dispiriting Experience of a Translator

from: Corriere della Sera

"Ora i casi sono due: o l'autore e l'editore si aspettano che io lo corregga e operi i tagli necessari, ma io non sono in grado di farlo..."

"Either the author or publisher expect that I correct and cut the text as necessary, but I cannot do that..."

How many times, as translators, we end up ranting against whomever is responsible for the (perceived?) poor quality of the text we are working on.
I wonder, though, how many times we look at the quality of our own efforts, instead.

It is always easier, I think, criticizing others, more difficult to see with an objective eye our own work.

When (Medical) Translation Goes Wrong

from: NWAnews.com

A few concise but serious examples of problems of various kinds in medical translation and bilingual communication.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Business - i-Free Launch SMS Translator

from the St. Petersburg Times

"A professional translator, who asked not to be named, saw the service as possibly useful as entertainment, but not as a working tool."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Guantanamo Translator Sentenced

from Wired News

Text Messaging Gets an (Automatic) Translator

from Business 2-0

"Unlike electronic phrase books, the software understands natural language"

I rather doubt that it does, actually.

Translation Software That Learns by Reading

from Slashdot

Incorporating Multilingual Glossaries into Translation and Localization Systems

from e-releases

A webinar hosted by ENLASO (translate.com).

"Viable" Alternative to Translation Memory Products

from i-Newswire.com

"this is so clients need not hire staff to maintain text databases and also to be sure that reused text is not out-of-date or lack unification. The aim was to eliminate the TM department and let DTP operators handle text reuse."

I don't know anything about the details of this new technology, but I rather doubt that DTP operators will be able to handle meaningfully text in languages different than their own.

Monday, February 28, 2005


What does a leading machine-translation company uses to translate their own documentation and marketing material (where they boast of the high-quality translations produced by their own software)?
Human translators, of course, not their own much-publicized product.
But the irony doesn't stop there... the (human) translators that work on these texts may very well take advantage of some form of machine translation to help them in their task, in addition to the translation memory tools they use all the time.
I think that in the future most professional translators will complement their TM tools with some sort of MT tool. I've already started to do so, at least for certain specific types of text (e.g., software or hardware manuals).

Sunday, February 20, 2005

How the Internet and Google have changed the way we work

I was a full time free lance translators until ten years ago, then came my stint at J.D. Edwards, and now since last January I'm back working full time as a translator.

Yet, how changed is our profession, even in such a short span of time: there was already the Internet, and on-line fora where already active (I used to visit FLEFO regularly... it is still there, languishing with what's left of CompuServe) - but we still relied most of all on paper dictionaries, and on glossaries painstakingly compiled over the years, on paper resources of one type or another.

Now most of the time the information that I need I can find online: documents on all type of machinery, too many online glossaries to count, search engine that permit to verify our guesses with a few keystrokes.

Whole new techniques have evolved to find information on line, such as the way that by searching for the common name of some animal or plant plus the string "scientific name", we can most of the time use Latin, again, as the "universal translator", (albeit in a limited domain).

Still, we can drown in all this information, if we do not learn how to filter it, how to decide whether the page we have found with, seemingly, that hard to translate word we were looking for, is reliable or not.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Stages in a big localization project

Our company is about to start working on a big localization project. We are not the main contractor: we shall only be providing our services to a major translation and localization company.

Unlike many other projects I've seen in the past, this is very well organized, and includes, in the correct order, all the most important activities for such a project:
  1. Creation of a project glossary, translation of the SL glossary into the TLs, approval of the TL glossaries by the customer
  2. Creation of a style guide for each language
  3. Translation of the UI, and approval by the customer
  4. Testing the UI
  5. Translation and editing of the documentation
  6. Publication of the documentation and final proofreading
  7. Generation of the help system from the translated documentation
There are, of course, many more intermediate stages and activities: from the management of translation memories to organizing and implementing a system for answering translators' questions.

It is surprising, though, how many projects do not include some fundamental steps, or do them in the wrong order (such as translating the documentation before the software is translated... or at least stable enough not to cause too many problems during documentation translation).

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Translating into a foreign language

Most everybody seem to think that translations only can be done from a foreign language into one's own native language.
Most translators pay at least lip service to this, and yet...
...there are entire countries where most translations are done, for one reason or another, from one's own native language into a foreign one.
I used to think that this happened only for technical or business translations, but apparently Camilleri has been translated into Portugese (at least in Portugal), by an Italian translator.
Of course, Camilleri's language is difficult enough to understand for non-Sicilian Italians, let alone someone for whom Italian is not even their native language.

What translation is not

Translation is not pairing words or phrases one to one: too many translators (and most customers) seem to think that there is always some word in the target language that is the "correct" translation for a certain word in the source language, and that the same is true for idioms, phrases, and longer pieces of text.

I think that there are various causes for this:
  • not reading and self-editing one's own translation (if translators did, they would more easily realize that it does not make sense, or at least that nobody would say it like that in the target language
  • not understanding what one is translating
  • insufficient knowledge of the industry terminology in the source or target language (or both)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A useful small program for highlighting corrections

ApSIC, a Spanish translation company, has developed a useful small program for highlighting corrections in translated files.

The program is ApSIC Comparator. It generates side-by-side reports of changes made to a translation. These reports can be edited to add comments, and can be very useful to provide feedback to a translator, and also to help evaluating the quality of the translation.

ApSIC Comparator is freeware. I believe that the only thing the company requires is to leave in the reports the name of their company and product, and a link to their website.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Big projects

The problem with big projects is keeping all the information straight: it is not just that there are a lot of words to translate... that, mostly, is the easy part.

The devil, as they say, is in the details: not only getting a glossary of the terminology for the project, but also making sure that the copy in use is the one that is up to date, and not obsolete.

Not only getting or organizing a time line for all the tasks to complete for the project, but also keeping it up to date and making sure that everybody is referring to the same version.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

When the "correct" translation is wrong

Translators should recognize an error in the source language and normally provide the correct translation just the same.

Many English speakers, for example, use "i.e." ("id est" = "that is") when they mean "e.g." ("exempli gratia" = "for instance").

When the meaning is clear, the "correct" translation may very well be the wrong one, so, for example it may be better to translate

"This can be a column title (i.e., 'Item')"


"Si può trattare del titolo di una colonna (per esempio, 'Elemento')",

and not as

"Si può trattare del titolo di una colonna (cioè, 'Elemento')".