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The Journal of Specialised Translation

Issue 8 - July 2007

(of 1002 changes made by all nine translators, the two senior professionals together accounted for just 66), and almost none of their revisions were made during the post-drafting phase (of the 627 changes made in the post-drafting phase by all nine translators, only 9 were by the senior professionals). Less experienced people more often waited until the post-drafting phase to revise, and the author suggests that this is because they need to be able to see the full TL text in order to spot requirements for revision. This was more particularly the case for inter-sentence connection problems, which it seems senior professionals are often able to identify even while translating small chunks of text in the drafting phase.

Like Künzli, Englund Dimitrova found that the professionals did not always do what they said they were going to do, for example: let the text rest before proceeding to the post-drafting phase; let someone else read the draft translation; print out the draft and revise it on paper because this would show problems that the translator might not notice on screen. Three of the four professionals did none of these things. The author speculates that they might have been saying what they think translators should do as a rule, or what they might do with a different text type or in a real workplace situation.

An interesting finding was that only about 10% of the comments uttered by the subjects while making a revision concerned correspondence with the source text; the rest concerned various aspects of the target language. And even more interestingly, none of the ST-related comments were made by the senior professionals.

Englund Dimitrova also found that professionals often use literal translation of short chunks (words to clauses) for their initial attempt. Sometimes the literal translation is produced only mentally (as revealed by the think-aloud transcripts) and then mentally revised to something non-literal before words are set down; sometimes the literal translation is written down and then immediately (or later) revised to something less literal. The author suggests that quickly setting down such a wording frees up short-term memory for the processing of larger units, and gives a wording that can be visually compared with ST and also evaluated for style, pragmatics, i.e. for achieving the purpose of the translation. The author surmises that the use of literal translation as a strategy is more common when the two languages are typologically similar.

A study of the revisions made in a literary translation also revealed a translator who started by producing TL wording formally similar to ST, and then revised:

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