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"Case studies" in translation?

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  • chrisdurban
    I ve just finished an article for a scholarly journal touching upon the subject of case studies in translation courses, and wondered (not quite idly) if anyone
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 29, 2003
      I've just finished an article for a scholarly journal touching upon
      the subject of case studies in translation courses, and
      wondered (not quite idly) if anyone here has any experience of
      same.

      I am not thinking of basic examples and exercises, rather
      something more elaborate and -- why not -- multi-skill or even
      multi-media (oral input features prominently).
      The aim would be to expose students to all or many of the
      various stages that a for-publication text goes through as it
      marches (or straggles) into its final translated form.
      E.g.,
      - source text received from client with client instructions
      - translator 1 draft
      - translator 2 revisions & comments to translator 1
      - client feedback on 1+2 (possibly taped phone conversation or
      interview; it would be important here to highlight the questions
      asked by the translator and *how* these were asked, how
      essential nuances were coaxed out of the client or perhaps
      developed in a back-and-forth process)
      - discussions with layout person
      - proofing of laid-out text
      - final round of client changes and discussion
      - final text

      (NB: My own recollection of translation exercises as a student
      (some 25-30 years ago) involved no client discussion
      whatsoever; I think it would be v. useful for students to see
      exactly how that goes, but also correction of proofs, etc.).

      FWIW, one very specific example I've got in mind is a set of texts
      on "proximité", a term one of my (French) clients has just
      adopted as a "corporate value". There was much backing and
      forthing on precisely how this was to be rendered in English,
      since the English was to serve as the basis for German,
      Hungarian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. etc. translations. Feedback
      included exchanges with execs. in all of these countries, fiddling
      with little blocks of "what we at Company X mean by 'proximité'"
      and so on -- all of which would make for an interesting case
      study in lateral thinking, IMO. Format restrictions included basics
      like length of word/term (to be engraved on glass doors at HQ),
      etc.

      My colleague Bob Blake and I have a number other examples,
      many superficially simple (e.g., a corporate Christmas card with
      in-house references and committee writing), but all useful
      examples of how translators working in the corporate world must
      be prepared to be proactive, rigorous and creative -- again IMO.
      We have not yet taped any interviews but I do not think that would
      be a problem.

      Whence my Q: Do list members use this sort of exercise in the
      classroom? If I were to pursue this, would anybody be interested
      in "testing" my sample case studies?
      (Although I do not teach myself, I would imagine that the related
      exercises would involve about 3 hours of work for each example.
      Some of this could probably done outside class time or on a
      self-study basis.)

      Someone do please tell me if this is hopelessly banal and/or
      already the way translation is now taught around the globe.

      Thank you.

      Chris Durban (Paris)
    • Hannelore Lee-Jahnke
      Dear Chris, I do this very frequently and it is much appreciated by the students although it means a great deal of supplementary work - for them and for
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 2, 2004
        Dear Chris,

        I do this very frequently and it is much appreciated by the students
        although it means a great deal of supplementary work - for them
        and for myself.

        Just before Christmas we finished a brochure on the history of
        the Chancellerie of Geneva - with all the difficult historic features
        of the text and also the layout.

        It will be soon on the Web of the Chancellerie and come out in
        print as well.

        Happy New Year to all

        Hannelore
        _________________________________________

        Hannelore Lee-Jahnke
        École de traduction et d'interprétation
        Université de Genève
        40 boul. du Pont -d'Arve
        1207 Genève, Suisse
        Tél.: 41-22-311-4870
        Fax : 41-22-310-54-10
        http://www.unige.ch/eti/staff/lee-jahnke
        __________________________________________
      • Hannelore Lee-Jahnke
        Sorry, Chris, here I am again. For your Q: I would love to test it. But I do work into German. Best Hannelore ... From: chrisdurban
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 2, 2004
          Sorry, Chris, here I am again.

          For your Q: I would love to test it. But I do work into German.
          Best
          Hannelore
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "chrisdurban" <ChrisDurban@...>
          To: <itit@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: lundi 29 décembre 2003 23:14
          Subject: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?


          I've just finished an article for a scholarly journal touching upon
          the subject of case studies in translation courses, and
          wondered (not quite idly) if anyone here has any experience of
          same.

          I am not thinking of basic examples and exercises, rather
          something more elaborate and -- why not -- multi-skill or even
          multi-media (oral input features prominently).
          The aim would be to expose students to all or many of the
          various stages that a for-publication text goes through as it
          marches (or straggles) into its final translated form.
          E.g.,
          - source text received from client with client instructions
          - translator 1 draft
          - translator 2 revisions & comments to translator 1
          - client feedback on 1+2 (possibly taped phone conversation or
          interview; it would be important here to highlight the questions
          asked by the translator and *how* these were asked, how
          essential nuances were coaxed out of the client or perhaps
          developed in a back-and-forth process)
          - discussions with layout person
          - proofing of laid-out text
          - final round of client changes and discussion
          - final text

          (NB: My own recollection of translation exercises as a student
          (some 25-30 years ago) involved no client discussion
          whatsoever; I think it would be v. useful for students to see
          exactly how that goes, but also correction of proofs, etc.).

          FWIW, one very specific example I've got in mind is a set of texts
          on "proximité", a term one of my (French) clients has just
          adopted as a "corporate value". There was much backing and
          forthing on precisely how this was to be rendered in English,
          since the English was to serve as the basis for German,
          Hungarian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. etc. translations. Feedback
          included exchanges with execs. in all of these countries, fiddling
          with little blocks of "what we at Company X mean by 'proximité'"
          and so on -- all of which would make for an interesting case
          study in lateral thinking, IMO. Format restrictions included basics
          like length of word/term (to be engraved on glass doors at HQ),
          etc.

          My colleague Bob Blake and I have a number other examples,
          many superficially simple (e.g., a corporate Christmas card with
          in-house references and committee writing), but all useful
          examples of how translators working in the corporate world must
          be prepared to be proactive, rigorous and creative -- again IMO.
          We have not yet taped any interviews but I do not think that would
          be a problem.

          Whence my Q: Do list members use this sort of exercise in the
          classroom? If I were to pursue this, would anybody be interested
          in "testing" my sample case studies?
          (Although I do not teach myself, I would imagine that the related
          exercises would involve about 3 hours of work for each example.
          Some of this could probably done outside class time or on a
          self-study basis.)

          Someone do please tell me if this is hopelessly banal and/or
          already the way translation is now taught around the globe.

          Thank you.

          Chris Durban (Paris)





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        • Daniel Gouadec
          Dear Chris, In our version, Tradutech (originally a European program) is a full blown case-study of what goes on in between the time a translation is
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 2, 2004
            Dear Chris,

            In our version, Tradutech (originally a European program) is a full blown case-study of what goes on in between the time a translation is considered and the time it is ready to market.

            Considering the fact that most students found it difficult to coax anyone into giving any kind of information or volonteering any help, the whole thing has now been built around a full set of procedures and two new courses were created in 1999: one on project management, the other on the "language and techniques of negotiation and project management" (given by professional translators in their mother tongue). That has not been easy to set up but it works out beautifully. And I must say the reason why we created the course on the "language of the trade" is we had a lot of feedback from the people in charge of our students during their internships who said there was a quite a deficit in that respect. That has now been corrected.

            We are, naturally, looking for any kind of material that might help along those lines and would most certainly use what you project.

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • chrisdurban
            Thanks for your input, Hannelore -- I ve heard about projects your students do (including subtitles for Pinocchio) and they sound fascinating. Here I m
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 4, 2004
              Thanks for your input, Hannelore -- I've heard about projects your
              students do (including subtitles for Pinocchio) and they sound
              fascinating.

              Here I'm pondering a "pre-" step, however; some kind of
              structured input that would have students reflecting on a genuine
              translation project as conceived and executed by practicing
              translators in tandem with clients. IOW, choices have been
              made & text delivered already.

              The "case study" aspect would involve simply (simply! :-))
              providing *explicit* additional background information so that
              students
              could (1) chew over what had been decided and why -- with luck,
              better understanding the scope for creativity and constraints of
              various types in this type of assignment, and (2) see precisely
              *how* the practicing translators interacted with the client, and
              identify how the translator, by pushing, prodding and explaining,
              influenced client decisions and ultimately translation quality.

              I admit Step 2 is what interests me most right now. (It also came
              up in a round table discussion on translator training at the FIT
              meeting in Vancouver a few years back, transcript at
              http://accurapid.com/journal/23roundtablea.htm).

              Logistics-wise, well, aside from the fact that I myself do not
              teach, i.e., have no student guinea pigs <g>, it would be quite
              difficult -- make that impossible -- to bring an entire class in to a
              meeting with a client. (And while it is not really an issue in our
              market segment, I suppose there is also a point that came up in
              one of Anthony's online seminars re the risk of
              creating/reinforcing the misconception held by some clients that
              translation is somehow a "student job".)

              In any case, when Bob Blake and I have had interns in the past, I
              can't recall taking them along to see clients for specific jobs, but
              they did listen in on phone calls and presumably got some idea
              of how you ask for further information, explain a point, identify
              client uneasiness, tackle that directly or indirectly, deal with
              queries -- some informed, some not; content, form, tone; back off
              in some instances (so as to make a future point more
              effectively), come up with alternative options, etc. etc. Tactics vs
              strategy in moving towards an end product that works.

              Whence a second question (to you and others interested in this):
              on your class projects, how and when do the students interact
              with the text commissioner? (orally, in writing, through teacher
              interface? up front to define parameters of project; after draft one,
              two or three?).

              Apologies again for running on, but the need for *explicit training*
              at this stage, in this section of the market, was brought home to
              me (again) over Christmas week.

              One of our clients had a 90+ page annual report that needed to
              be translated in time for distribution at Davos (love the forward
              planning). A reputable supplier in Paris put together a translation
              team and the job was delivered on time (chapeau! in volume
              terms). The client then asked *me* to review it (gulp). In
              discussing things with the translation team coordinator (= the
              supplier), I was astounded to learn that not a single passage
              had been identified as needing input/clarification from the client.
              This in 90+ pages from a customer known for impossibly
              convoluted committee writing. Perhaps it hadn't occurred to the
              suppliers that they *could* ask questions; certainly in our
              discussions one felt a vague sense of pride that they'd managed
              to "work it all out on their own". Without "bothering" the client.

              I have heard the same sort of (to me) utterly skewed reasoning
              from other translation suppliers and was/am looking for a way to
              demonstrate to students how very counter-productive it is.

              Chris Durban

              PS
              Re multiple versions of a single source text that might be
              suitable for German students to discuss, I've got several
              versions of the German text for "Translation, Getting it Right" (a
              client-education brochure that can be downloaded from iti.org.uk,
              atanet.org, sft.fr and bdue.de in its final version. One was
              produced by a very thoughtful student group at Monterey, another
              by a slapdash copywriter in Germany, a third -- actually, only a
              few pages of nice brainstorming that got cut short by a health
              probem, and the final by Holger Loddeke). Would have to check
              with the originators before distributing these (except Holger's, of
              course), but they might be useful (?). At the very least, the
              students could be expected to understand the *content*
              and thus focus on style issues in some depth. :-)
            • Jean Vienne
              Dear Colleague, Yes I do have the same approach. I don t teach anymore (for over 20 years) through translation exercices but through translation assignments.
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 6, 2004
                Dear Colleague,

                Yes I do have the same approach. I don't teach anymore (for over 20 years)
                through translation exercices but through translation assignments.
                Please have a look to this article published in Meta
                (http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta/1998/v43/n2/004563ar.html) and let's go on
                the discussion.

                Jean Vienne
                Maître de conférences
                Université de Turku
                Finlande
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "chrisdurban" <ChrisDurban@...>
                To: <itit@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 12:14 AM
                Subject: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?


                I've just finished an article for a scholarly journal touching upon
                the subject of case studies in translation courses, and
                wondered (not quite idly) if anyone here has any experience of
                same.

                I am not thinking of basic examples and exercises, rather
                something more elaborate and -- why not -- multi-skill or even
                multi-media (oral input features prominently).
                The aim would be to expose students to all or many of the
                various stages that a for-publication text goes through as it
                marches (or straggles) into its final translated form.
                E.g.,
                - source text received from client with client instructions
                - translator 1 draft
                - translator 2 revisions & comments to translator 1
                - client feedback on 1+2 (possibly taped phone conversation or
                interview; it would be important here to highlight the questions
                asked by the translator and *how* these were asked, how
                essential nuances were coaxed out of the client or perhaps
                developed in a back-and-forth process)
                - discussions with layout person
                - proofing of laid-out text
                - final round of client changes and discussion
                - final text

                (NB: My own recollection of translation exercises as a student
                (some 25-30 years ago) involved no client discussion
                whatsoever; I think it would be v. useful for students to see
                exactly how that goes, but also correction of proofs, etc.).

                FWIW, one very specific example I've got in mind is a set of texts
                on "proximité", a term one of my (French) clients has just
                adopted as a "corporate value". There was much backing and
                forthing on precisely how this was to be rendered in English,
                since the English was to serve as the basis for German,
                Hungarian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. etc. translations. Feedback
                included exchanges with execs. in all of these countries, fiddling
                with little blocks of "what we at Company X mean by 'proximité'"
                and so on -- all of which would make for an interesting case
                study in lateral thinking, IMO. Format restrictions included basics
                like length of word/term (to be engraved on glass doors at HQ),
                etc.

                My colleague Bob Blake and I have a number other examples,
                many superficially simple (e.g., a corporate Christmas card with
                in-house references and committee writing), but all useful
                examples of how translators working in the corporate world must
                be prepared to be proactive, rigorous and creative -- again IMO.
                We have not yet taped any interviews but I do not think that would
                be a problem.

                Whence my Q: Do list members use this sort of exercise in the
                classroom? If I were to pursue this, would anybody be interested
                in "testing" my sample case studies?
                (Although I do not teach myself, I would imagine that the related
                exercises would involve about 3 hours of work for each example.
                Some of this could probably done outside class time or on a
                self-study basis.)

                Someone do please tell me if this is hopelessly banal and/or
                already the way translation is now taught around the globe.

                Thank you.

                Chris Durban (Paris)





                Yahoo! Groups Links

                To visit your group on the web, go to:
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              • Heidi Seeholzer
                Dear Jean Vienne, I enjoyed your comments immensely as this would, indeed, be the ideal situation! Hélas, it isn t in the real world. I am the Director of a
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 7, 2004
                  Dear Jean Vienne,
                  I enjoyed your comments immensely as this would, indeed, be the ideal situation! Hélas, it isn't in the real world. I am the Director of a Canadian provincial Government Translation Bureau and I am a lone wolf so to speak. I have to "churn out" translations with no client interaction let alone interview to clarify certain subtleties and nuances etc. Ah, there is one client, I have to correct that! An intelligent one!

                  We have no in-house translators as the motto nowadays is "the private sector will take care of it" and we have to save money! Luckily, I speak four Romance languages myself and have an astute assistant with a degree in law and intermediate level of Chinese. He will be leaving for Taiwan to pursue his degree in translation at Fu Chen University in Taipei. In case anyone knows whether it is possible to obtain a scholarship for him to study at Fu Chen ( even a tiny one!), it would be appreciated. However, this is just BTW.

                  I believe that it is really important for any university to impress upon young graduates to surround themselves with professional translators and inform the so-called "private sector" that cost cutting measures will not produce the quality they all want with no extra money investing in revisers, terminologists etc.

                  Your comments hit the nail on the head!

                  Regards,

                  Heidi Seeholzer

                  Heidi Seeholzer

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Jean Vienne [mailto:jeavie@...]
                  Sent: January 6, 2004 11:50 PM
                  To: itit@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?

                  Dear Colleague,

                  Yes I do have the same approach. I don't teach anymore (for over 20 years)
                  through translation exercices but through translation assignments.
                  Please have a look to this article published in Meta
                  (http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta/1998/v43/n2/004563ar.html) and let's go on
                  the discussion.

                  Jean Vienne
                  Maître de conférences
                  Université de Turku
                  Finlande
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "chrisdurban" <ChrisDurban@...>
                  To: <itit@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 12:14 AM
                  Subject: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?


                  I've just finished an article for a scholarly journal touching upon
                  the subject of case studies in translation courses, and
                  wondered (not quite idly) if anyone here has any experience of
                  same.

                  I am not thinking of basic examples and exercises, rather
                  something more elaborate and -- why not -- multi-skill or even
                  multi-media (oral input features prominently).
                  The aim would be to expose students to all or many of the
                  various stages that a for-publication text goes through as it
                  marches (or straggles) into its final translated form.
                  E.g.,
                  - source text received from client with client instructions
                  - translator 1 draft
                  - translator 2 revisions & comments to translator 1
                  - client feedback on 1+2 (possibly taped phone conversation or
                  interview; it would be important here to highlight the questions
                  asked by the translator and *how* these were asked, how
                  essential nuances were coaxed out of the client or perhaps
                  developed in a back-and-forth process)
                  - discussions with layout person
                  - proofing of laid-out text
                  - final round of client changes and discussion
                  - final text

                  (NB: My own recollection of translation exercises as a student
                  (some 25-30 years ago) involved no client discussion
                  whatsoever; I think it would be v. useful for students to see
                  exactly how that goes, but also correction of proofs, etc.).

                  FWIW, one very specific example I've got in mind is a set of texts
                  on "proximité", a term one of my (French) clients has just
                  adopted as a "corporate value". There was much backing and
                  forthing on precisely how this was to be rendered in English,
                  since the English was to serve as the basis for German,
                  Hungarian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. etc. translations. Feedback
                  included exchanges with execs. in all of these countries, fiddling
                  with little blocks of "what we at Company X mean by 'proximité'"
                  and so on -- all of which would make for an interesting case
                  study in lateral thinking, IMO. Format restrictions included basics
                  like length of word/term (to be engraved on glass doors at HQ),
                  etc.

                  My colleague Bob Blake and I have a number other examples,
                  many superficially simple (e.g., a corporate Christmas card with
                  in-house references and committee writing), but all useful
                  examples of how translators working in the corporate world must
                  be prepared to be proactive, rigorous and creative -- again IMO.
                  We have not yet taped any interviews but I do not think that would
                  be a problem.

                  Whence my Q: Do list members use this sort of exercise in the
                  classroom? If I were to pursue this, would anybody be interested
                  in "testing" my sample case studies?
                  (Although I do not teach myself, I would imagine that the related
                  exercises would involve about 3 hours of work for each example.
                  Some of this could probably done outside class time or on a
                  self-study basis.)

                  Someone do please tell me if this is hopelessly banal and/or
                  already the way translation is now taught around the globe.

                  Thank you.

                  Chris Durban (Paris)





                  Yahoo! Groups Links

                  To visit your group on the web, go to:
                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/itit/

                  To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  itit-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

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                  http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/







                  Yahoo! Groups Links

                  To visit your group on the web, go to:
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                  To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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                • Jean Vienne
                  Dear Heidi Seeholzer, Merci pour vos commentaires. It seems to me that we leave in different real world. I indeed had to do a lot of work as a translator first
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 8, 2004
                    Dear Heidi Seeholzer,

                    Merci pour vos commentaires.
                    It seems to me that we leave in different real world. I indeed had to do a
                    lot of work as a translator first to convince how important it is for the
                    translator to work in full cooperation with let's say the client (even
                    though it uselly means a specialist working for the client). Then it's only
                    after many years that I could transfer my approach (Translation in
                    situation) into my translation classes.
                    I nowadays use two different kind of translation assingments:
                    a) the ones I have already translated myself. I call it simulated
                    reallife-like exercice (I play the role of the client)
                    b) the ones I ask my students to look for in the real world (usely about 5
                    pages). I call it reallife translation specimen (meaning that the student
                    not only translate the text but write a report on the different phases -
                    including the discussions with the client - of his work and give the whole
                    document to the client so that he can maybe understand what's translation is
                    about). The specimen is free. The student will get credits in his studies.

                    Let's keep in touch.

                    Regards,

                    Jean Vienne


                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Heidi Seeholzer" <heidi.seeholzer@...>
                    To: <itit@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 6:47 PM
                    Subject: RE: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?


                    Dear Jean Vienne,
                    I enjoyed your comments immensely as this would, indeed, be the ideal
                    situation! Hélas, it isn't in the real world. I am the Director of a
                    Canadian provincial Government Translation Bureau and I am a lone wolf so to
                    speak. I have to "churn out" translations with no client interaction let
                    alone interview to clarify certain subtleties and nuances etc. Ah, there is
                    one client, I have to correct that! An intelligent one!

                    We have no in-house translators as the motto nowadays is "the private sector
                    will take care of it" and we have to save money! Luckily, I speak four
                    Romance languages myself and have an astute assistant with a degree in law
                    and intermediate level of Chinese. He will be leaving for Taiwan to pursue
                    his degree in translation at Fu Chen University in Taipei. In case anyone
                    knows whether it is possible to obtain a scholarship for him to study at Fu
                    Chen ( even a tiny one!), it would be appreciated. However, this is just
                    BTW.

                    I believe that it is really important for any university to impress upon
                    young graduates to surround themselves with professional translators and
                    inform the so-called "private sector" that cost cutting measures will not
                    produce the quality they all want with no extra money investing in revisers,
                    terminologists etc.

                    Your comments hit the nail on the head!

                    Regards,

                    Heidi Seeholzer

                    Heidi Seeholzer

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Jean Vienne [mailto:jeavie@...]
                    Sent: January 6, 2004 11:50 PM
                    To: itit@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?

                    Dear Colleague,

                    Yes I do have the same approach. I don't teach anymore (for over 20 years)
                    through translation exercices but through translation assignments.
                    Please have a look to this article published in Meta
                    (http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta/1998/v43/n2/004563ar.html) and let's go on
                    the discussion.

                    Jean Vienne
                    Maître de conférences
                    Université de Turku
                    Finlande
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "chrisdurban" <ChrisDurban@...>
                    To: <itit@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 12:14 AM
                    Subject: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?


                    I've just finished an article for a scholarly journal touching upon
                    the subject of case studies in translation courses, and
                    wondered (not quite idly) if anyone here has any experience of
                    same.

                    I am not thinking of basic examples and exercises, rather
                    something more elaborate and -- why not -- multi-skill or even
                    multi-media (oral input features prominently).
                    The aim would be to expose students to all or many of the
                    various stages that a for-publication text goes through as it
                    marches (or straggles) into its final translated form.
                    E.g.,
                    - source text received from client with client instructions
                    - translator 1 draft
                    - translator 2 revisions & comments to translator 1
                    - client feedback on 1+2 (possibly taped phone conversation or
                    interview; it would be important here to highlight the questions
                    asked by the translator and *how* these were asked, how
                    essential nuances were coaxed out of the client or perhaps
                    developed in a back-and-forth process)
                    - discussions with layout person
                    - proofing of laid-out text
                    - final round of client changes and discussion
                    - final text

                    (NB: My own recollection of translation exercises as a student
                    (some 25-30 years ago) involved no client discussion
                    whatsoever; I think it would be v. useful for students to see
                    exactly how that goes, but also correction of proofs, etc.).

                    FWIW, one very specific example I've got in mind is a set of texts
                    on "proximité", a term one of my (French) clients has just
                    adopted as a "corporate value". There was much backing and
                    forthing on precisely how this was to be rendered in English,
                    since the English was to serve as the basis for German,
                    Hungarian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. etc. translations. Feedback
                    included exchanges with execs. in all of these countries, fiddling
                    with little blocks of "what we at Company X mean by 'proximité'"
                    and so on -- all of which would make for an interesting case
                    study in lateral thinking, IMO. Format restrictions included basics
                    like length of word/term (to be engraved on glass doors at HQ),
                    etc.

                    My colleague Bob Blake and I have a number other examples,
                    many superficially simple (e.g., a corporate Christmas card with
                    in-house references and committee writing), but all useful
                    examples of how translators working in the corporate world must
                    be prepared to be proactive, rigorous and creative -- again IMO.
                    We have not yet taped any interviews but I do not think that would
                    be a problem.

                    Whence my Q: Do list members use this sort of exercise in the
                    classroom? If I were to pursue this, would anybody be interested
                    in "testing" my sample case studies?
                    (Although I do not teach myself, I would imagine that the related
                    exercises would involve about 3 hours of work for each example.
                    Some of this could probably done outside class time or on a
                    self-study basis.)

                    Someone do please tell me if this is hopelessly banal and/or
                    already the way translation is now taught around the globe.

                    Thank you.

                    Chris Durban (Paris)





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                  • Heidi Seeholzer
                    Cher Jean Vienne, Merci également pour vos commentaires. Yes, we do live in different world realities. The life of a translation student is quite different
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jan 12, 2004
                      Cher Jean Vienne,
                      Merci également pour vos commentaires.
                      Yes, we do live in different world realities. The life of a translation student is quite different from the life of a translator working in a professional environment with time pressure, clients who do not understand that the translator is not a mere bilingual translation machine and that his/her computer does not spit out the translated text at the other end!
                      Your teaching approach seems to strike the right balance though and I am relieved to learn that.

                      And yes, let's keep in touch!

                      Heidi Seeholzer

                      Heidi Seeholzer

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Jean Vienne [mailto:jeavie@...]
                      Sent: January 9, 2004 12:41 AM
                      To: itit@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?

                      Dear Heidi Seeholzer,

                      Merci pour vos commentaires.
                      It seems to me that we leave in different real world. I indeed had to do a
                      lot of work as a translator first to convince how important it is for the
                      translator to work in full cooperation with let's say the client (even
                      though it uselly means a specialist working for the client). Then it's only
                      after many years that I could transfer my approach (Translation in
                      situation) into my translation classes.
                      I nowadays use two different kind of translation assingments:
                      a) the ones I have already translated myself. I call it simulated
                      reallife-like exercice (I play the role of the client)
                      b) the ones I ask my students to look for in the real world (usely about 5
                      pages). I call it reallife translation specimen (meaning that the student
                      not only translate the text but write a report on the different phases -
                      including the discussions with the client - of his work and give the whole
                      document to the client so that he can maybe understand what's translation is
                      about). The specimen is free. The student will get credits in his studies.

                      Let's keep in touch.

                      Regards,

                      Jean Vienne


                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Heidi Seeholzer" <heidi.seeholzer@...>
                      To: <itit@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 6:47 PM
                      Subject: RE: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?


                      Dear Jean Vienne,
                      I enjoyed your comments immensely as this would, indeed, be the ideal
                      situation! Hélas, it isn't in the real world. I am the Director of a
                      Canadian provincial Government Translation Bureau and I am a lone wolf so to
                      speak. I have to "churn out" translations with no client interaction let
                      alone interview to clarify certain subtleties and nuances etc. Ah, there is
                      one client, I have to correct that! An intelligent one!

                      We have no in-house translators as the motto nowadays is "the private sector
                      will take care of it" and we have to save money! Luckily, I speak four
                      Romance languages myself and have an astute assistant with a degree in law
                      and intermediate level of Chinese. He will be leaving for Taiwan to pursue
                      his degree in translation at Fu Chen University in Taipei. In case anyone
                      knows whether it is possible to obtain a scholarship for him to study at Fu
                      Chen ( even a tiny one!), it would be appreciated. However, this is just
                      BTW.

                      I believe that it is really important for any university to impress upon
                      young graduates to surround themselves with professional translators and
                      inform the so-called "private sector" that cost cutting measures will not
                      produce the quality they all want with no extra money investing in revisers,
                      terminologists etc.

                      Your comments hit the nail on the head!

                      Regards,

                      Heidi Seeholzer

                      Heidi Seeholzer

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Jean Vienne [mailto:jeavie@...]
                      Sent: January 6, 2004 11:50 PM
                      To: itit@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?

                      Dear Colleague,

                      Yes I do have the same approach. I don't teach anymore (for over 20 years)
                      through translation exercices but through translation assignments.
                      Please have a look to this article published in Meta
                      (http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta/1998/v43/n2/004563ar.html) and let's go on
                      the discussion.

                      Jean Vienne
                      Maître de conférences
                      Université de Turku
                      Finlande
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "chrisdurban" <ChrisDurban@...>
                      To: <itit@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 12:14 AM
                      Subject: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?


                      I've just finished an article for a scholarly journal touching upon
                      the subject of case studies in translation courses, and
                      wondered (not quite idly) if anyone here has any experience of
                      same.

                      I am not thinking of basic examples and exercises, rather
                      something more elaborate and -- why not -- multi-skill or even
                      multi-media (oral input features prominently).
                      The aim would be to expose students to all or many of the
                      various stages that a for-publication text goes through as it
                      marches (or straggles) into its final translated form.
                      E.g.,
                      - source text received from client with client instructions
                      - translator 1 draft
                      - translator 2 revisions & comments to translator 1
                      - client feedback on 1+2 (possibly taped phone conversation or
                      interview; it would be important here to highlight the questions
                      asked by the translator and *how* these were asked, how
                      essential nuances were coaxed out of the client or perhaps
                      developed in a back-and-forth process)
                      - discussions with layout person
                      - proofing of laid-out text
                      - final round of client changes and discussion
                      - final text

                      (NB: My own recollection of translation exercises as a student
                      (some 25-30 years ago) involved no client discussion
                      whatsoever; I think it would be v. useful for students to see
                      exactly how that goes, but also correction of proofs, etc.).

                      FWIW, one very specific example I've got in mind is a set of texts
                      on "proximité", a term one of my (French) clients has just
                      adopted as a "corporate value". There was much backing and
                      forthing on precisely how this was to be rendered in English,
                      since the English was to serve as the basis for German,
                      Hungarian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. etc. translations. Feedback
                      included exchanges with execs. in all of these countries, fiddling
                      with little blocks of "what we at Company X mean by 'proximité'"
                      and so on -- all of which would make for an interesting case
                      study in lateral thinking, IMO. Format restrictions included basics
                      like length of word/term (to be engraved on glass doors at HQ),
                      etc.

                      My colleague Bob Blake and I have a number other examples,
                      many superficially simple (e.g., a corporate Christmas card with
                      in-house references and committee writing), but all useful
                      examples of how translators working in the corporate world must
                      be prepared to be proactive, rigorous and creative -- again IMO.
                      We have not yet taped any interviews but I do not think that would
                      be a problem.

                      Whence my Q: Do list members use this sort of exercise in the
                      classroom? If I were to pursue this, would anybody be interested
                      in "testing" my sample case studies?
                      (Although I do not teach myself, I would imagine that the related
                      exercises would involve about 3 hours of work for each example.
                      Some of this could probably done outside class time or on a
                      self-study basis.)

                      Someone do please tell me if this is hopelessly banal and/or
                      already the way translation is now taught around the globe.

                      Thank you.

                      Chris Durban (Paris)





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                    • Zsuzsanna
                      Dear ones, Though just a translator and a translation student, I ve been profiting immensely from your discussion and have a point to make, almost as a
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jan 13, 2004
                        Dear ones,
                        Though just a translator and a translation student, I've been profiting immensely from your discussion and have a point to make, almost as a question: when you refer to "the discussions with the client" I understand that even if the so called client is out of reach you can undergo a kind of discussion between yourself - as the translator - and the theory you have at hand plus the basics of the subject matter you are working with [if I have to deal with a subject matter I'm not very much used to, first I start by reading similar texts, in a nut-shell, I put myself in contact with the basics of that specific subject matter]. I mean, awareness, and this is what I've been receiving from the course I'm taking after being just a translator for a couple of years. And also the life experience an individual gathers along his/her professional life fuels the discussion.

                        In my view, the point is, how and which resources offer the students for them to be able to face the discussion-like approach when the client is out of reach.

                        Best regards,



                        Zsuzsanna Spiry
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: Heidi Seeholzer
                        To: itit@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Monday, January 12, 2004 9:17 PM
                        Subject: RE: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?


                        Cher Jean Vienne,
                        Merci également pour vos commentaires.
                        Yes, we do live in different world realities. The life of a translation student is quite different from the life of a translator working in a professional environment with time pressure, clients who do not understand that the translator is not a mere bilingual translation machine and that his/her computer does not spit out the translated text at the other end!
                        Your teaching approach seems to strike the right balance though and I am relieved to learn that.


                        Heidi Seeholzer


                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: Jean Vienne [mailto:jeavie@...]
                        Sent: January 9, 2004 12:41 AM
                        To: itit@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [itit] "Case studies" in translation?

                        Dear Heidi Seeholzer,

                        Merci pour vos commentaires.
                        It seems to me that we leave in different real world. I indeed had to do a
                        lot of work as a translator first to convince how important it is for the
                        translator to work in full cooperation with let's say the client (even
                        though it uselly means a specialist working for the client). Then it's only
                        after many years that I could transfer my approach (Translation in
                        situation) into my translation classes.


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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