by englishpen

The prevalence of online free translation benefit countless communicators who may be professional translators or merely foreign web page browsers whose English is not good enough to access the relative information. However, depending on the online translation too heavily sometimes leads you to the opposite direction. For example: when you feed the sentence: The insurance was invalid for the invalid. (UyYiu<3/4/aH,,) into the Google translation box the counterpart version appears as Yi/aH,,aH. Anyone who has even the least knowledge about insurance will feel amused by the amusing translation.

Of course we can not fully deny that the translation software can do nothing with the translation process. To me the Trodos is quite helpful. Here I do not mean to discuss or compare the advantage and the disadvantage that Trodos and Google own respectively. What I want to say is that any software however powerful it may be is only assistance in essence. However, the internet has changed translators’ mental habit when they work on a translation project. The contemplation that used to come naturally is become a struggle. I am worrying that the style of translating that promoted by the internet, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading and translation. In this money-worshiping world, academic excellence seems to have been relegated to a role of secondary importance. The translator, a kind of intellectual, tends to become “mere decoders of information”, instead of weighing our words when we translate. And the hustling and bustling to routine life makes deep-reading and intensive study a kind of luxury.

Sometimes I really wonder that whether the fundamental reason that so many hardworking translators haven’t been replaced thoroughly by those stiff machines so far is the flexibility of human language or not. The complicatedly-built language structure therefore has to be decoded by the genuine masters. As a translator with a decade of experience I ever never surrender myself to any machinery servant but to boost its utilization to the utmost. I used to proofread a Chinese- English translation project about cooking equipment overseas marketing. In my opinion, decent product launch is the first step to success and an eye-attracting pamphlet with delicate pictures and stirring words is critical to publicize their products. The first translator completed the task with a dumbfounding speed and quality— 20,000 words within 3 days. You can hardly imagine how poor the translation quality it was, it was nothing but piling of English words throughout the pages. Another victim of auto-translation! Finally, I re translated it at the cost of 5 long days. Actually, it is the incidence that made me pay much more concerning about the online translation. I have to say the online translation is like a double edged sward, and if you have the ability to link all the fragment information together or grasp the substance meaning from the strange-looking sentences, the online translation is okay. But to those more demanding customers, only human talent and the sense of responsibility will show their prowess in bridging culture and ideas.

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