Volunteer Translator Orientation Creation

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Enjoy yourself, don't forget why you are doing this.

Translation is an art form that you are about to enter... Just because you speak the language does not mean you can translate. You need translation skills.

Understand what you want to translate and how it should be translated:

  • If you do not understand the subject or a sentence, you cannot translate.
  • Understand the culture of the audience that you are trying to reach. Understand the context of the original text.
  • Understand the style to which the audience is used to. Don't even think of a word-by word translation.
  • Do you know the subject matter and understand its lingo? Ask if there is a glossary of terminology that is usually used by translators for this subject. If you do have a glossary, create your own to be consistent among your translations.
  • Understand and maintain the formal/informal style of the source text.
  • You must stay true to the original text, without reinterpreting it with your ideas.
  • Make sure that you understand the technical limitations and requirements of the translation that you want to do.
  • Understand that it is very hard to translate to a language that is not your mother language.
  • Try to understand how long is the project that you want to undertake, and think if you want to commit to it. Calculate how much it will take. A page of text might take from 1 to 3 hours for a beginner or volunteer (1 or less for a professional). For software, you can do 100 messages per day at the beginning, and up to 200 when you have experience.

Prepare yourself

  • Get the tools and resources that you can use: glossary, TM, spell-checker, dictionaries, thesaurus, encyclopedias.
  • Read the instructions if you have them, Don't be afraid to ask for them if you do not have them.

While you do it...

  • After you write each paragraph, read it to make sure it makes sense.
  • Don't over do it, there is not such a thing as a perfect translation.
  • Follow the instructions if you receive them.
  • Use the bloody spell-checker, track changes or any other tool that yo have access to.

And don't forget to:

  • Don't be afraid to ask for attribution/credit for your work.
  • Look at the license.
  • Think of the author(s) and how you should treat the text and use it in a polite way.