Recensie van "The essentials of translation editing"

"An excellent refresher course for the seasoned professional"

By Diane McCartney

The Essentials of Translation Editing was a one day workshop aimed at Dutch native speakers who translate into English and revise/edit English texts generally written by non-native speakers of English. Having to deal myself with non-natives reviewing my work, I was curious to find out what Ruth and Helen had up their sleeves.

I attended the workshop on April 26 along with 35 other translators/project managers/correctors working at translation agencies, ministries and universities, and running their own businesses like me. There were two native speakers, myself included.

The workshop was broken down into two parts that were given simultaneously: Editing for readability, given by Helen West, and Translation editing, given by Ruth de Wijs. The participants were split into two groups that rotated after lunch.

My group spent the morning with Helen, who had just two hours to explain editing for readability. She started by talking about client expectations and the delivery of quality services and communication: more than anything else, an editor is a communication specialist who makes a text readable and understandable for its target group. She addressed the things that communication specialists need to look out for in texts, such as sentence length and complexity, nominalization, the use of unnecessary words, and poorly structured paragraphs. Helen's emphasis was clearly on raising the status of an editor to that of communication specialist, which can only be achieved if there is communication with the customer and the tools of text writing/editing are mastered. Asking the customer the right questions and knowing how to use the tools is essential to finding the right solutions. After each section that was discussed, we did an exercise in smaller groups and discussed it in the greater group. It was very interesting for me to see what the non-natives focused on correcting in the texts and the solutions they came up with.

After lunch, Ruth talked about translation revision and editing. She explained the difference between a reviser's and an editor's tasks, talked about the different degrees of revision/editing (quality/time), and how to determine what should and should not be changed/corrected. She went through the typical pitfalls of Dunglish, such as punctuation, time annotation, word order, and verb tenses and verb agreement. Like Helen, Ruth emphasized raising the status of a translation reviser/editor to that of communication specialist. After each section that was discussed, we did a few exercises in smaller groups and discussed them in the greater group. Again, it was interesting for me to see where the non-natives' focus lay.

A lot of ground was covered in a very short time, but the message was always clearly in sight: we are not just revisers/editors/correctors, we have to be communication specialists. We have to help customers understand that we have the skills to help them convey their message to their readership as clearly as possible.

This workshop should be attended by all non-native translators/revisers/editors of English. For native-English translators/editors/revisers, this is an excellent refresher course for the seasoned professional and an excellent introduction to the complexity of translation revision and editing for starting professionals.

I hope you will find this information useful. Ruth also promotes a number of books during this workshop and I finally took the opportunity to buy Revising and Editing for Translators by Brian Mossop. It's a very handy book indeed.

Diane McCartney
Cedilla - the language people

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