The Missing Women in Translation

Something somehow seems to happen to the number of women in translation. It’s not something that’s easy to put your finger on, but the numbers speak for themselves. Only about a quarter of female writers see their translated material published. And that’s even taking into account the fact that the number of woman translators balances the number of male ones, or even outnumbers them. Are female translators consciously rejecting literary material from their own gender, is it that the type of material that women are producing is somehow being overlooked for publication, or is there some other explanation?

Here are four examples of what seems to be a universal shortage of women in translation.

Only 17% of books on the longlist for the Best Translated Book Award were by women authors. 21% of the shortlist were women and that includes both fiction as well as poetry.

Only 3 women have won the PEN Translation Prize over the 20 years it has been awarded. That makes the figure 15% of the total.

The University of Rochester’s (New York) Translation Database which was compiled by Open Letter Books, records a slightly higher percentage of women (26%) who have had their books published in the U.S. That’s an average over the last 2 years.

Only one single woman has won the IFFP (Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) since its inception in 1990. Over the last 3 years, 16% of people shortlisted were women in translation, while that figure fell to 13% for the long list for the prize.

The figures are even more startling, or dismal, depending on how you interpret it when you consider that a majority of the translators nominated for both the long list as well as the short list for the IFFP were woman translators.

Interestingly, the fact that foreign works by women were simply not getting published hen translated into English came up at the most recent IFFP award ceremony, yet there were no clear answers as to why it was happening.

Is it that fewer women are actually writing in places like India, Nigeria and Colombia because of gender bias? Is it that their work is not being reviewed or considered for publication by publishers, even online publishers like Amazon, because of the perceived monetary value of them?

There doesn’t seem to be any answers to the reasons for the observed disparity. The world’s readers remain the losers when it comes to the lack of translated female literature.

Happy Earth Day From The Migration Translators!

 

Coming up soon on the 22nd April 2016 is the World’s 46th Earth Day!

The Migration Translators’ staff will be celebrating the day, both individually and together by either walking or cycling to work or using sustainable transport. They welcome you to think about the meaning of Earth Day and how you can contribute.

How can you involve yourself in Earth Day?

This may be the 1st time you have ever heard of Earth Day, but it’s never too late to be involved. Here are some things you can do on Earth Day and after the event.

  • Save trees by using unwanted paper scraps to write out lists instead of using a new sheet.
  • Stop buying lunch that contains palm oil which contributes to deforestation, especially in South East Asia. This means checking the ingredients.
  • Switch off the lights in your office when you don’t need them.
  • Use fans, not air conditioning, to keep cool.
  • Encourage your colleagues to place waste paper in the recycle bins.
  • Be careful how you use fresh water in the kitchen and bathroom.

One of the most productive ways of celebrating Earth Day is to make use of it as a chance to increase awareness of all the things we can do every day, to give a helping hand to the environment and our planet.

Protecting our environment and sorting out climate change on this year’s Earth Day is far more important than in previous years. We share this planet with 6 billion others plus a vast variety of living things. We know how our planet is now having to face the effects of climate change and growing pollution and we are keen to help keep what is remaining and ensure the planet has a future for us all.

Earth Day is a yearly event which is supported throughout the world to offer support for ways to protect the environment. The aim of Earth Day is to help to encourage people to act in a way that will be of benefit to the Earth, like recycling more, installing solar power or planting trees.

At least a billion of the world’s population is expected to openly celebrate Earth Day, including avid environmental campaigners such as Emma Watson and Leonardo di Caprio.

What happened that initiated Earth Day?

Earth Day was first initiated following an enormous oil spill 50 years ago which prompted peace activists to begin to promote environmental awareness.

The UNESCO conference that took place in 1969 in San Francisco was greeted by a proposal by John McConnell, a peace activist, who suggested that a whole day should be dedicated just to honour the environment and the Earth we live on. He said that we humans were under an obligation to protect our earth and that means not only using resources sparingly to suffice our needs but also to ensure that future generations will gain as much as we have from the resources the earth has in store to share.

There will be events happening throughout the world on Earth Day and there is bound to be one taking place near you. The Migration Translators’ team say you should get involved and not sit on the fence!

The Processing of Immigration Documents in Australia

If you are preparing to immigrate to Australia and your first language is not English you may find it difficult to fully understand the intricacies of all the documentation you are required to submit before your application can be considered. You have to ensure you follow the correct process and provide all the right documents otherwise there might be a delay in the processing of your application.

Fortunately, there are many professional translation services which have NAATI translators who provide translation of documents for immigration purposes. In order for any foreign language documents to be accepted as part of your immigration application you have to use the services of a NAATI translator to undertake the translation otherwise they will not be accepted. NAATI stands for the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. A course is undertaken by translators and interpreters and an examination is taken which has to be passed in order to be awarded the status of a NAATI translator.

If you are finding the forms difficult to understand, a document translator can provide a translation which will help to ensure the information is filled in correctly. This translator can also provide translations of any other documents that you will need in support of your immigration application which are not in English. This includes:

  • Certificate of police clearance
  • Medical examination document
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Academic qualifications
  • Work record

You are required to present a police certificate for your own country of origin and for any other place you have lived for more than six months after the age of 16. You will need to attend an interview and bring your original police clearance certificate with you even if you have already sent a scanned, certified translation.

Ever potential immigrant has to undergo a medical examination before being eligible to migrate which includes an evaluation of your medical history. You will need to attend a medical exam which will be conducted by a physician that is approved by the Australian Government. You probably won’t need a professional document translation as the physician will provide the certificate in English.

However, all your official identification documents including birth, marriage, academic qualifications and work record will need to be provided with a translation. You won’t have any problem finding a good NAATI translator as you only need to go online and search until you find someone who is available to do your translation job.

Translation Options for Translating a Document

Today, people around the world share all types of information and in a variety of different media. However, it is not always in a language that is fully understood. You may access information on a website which really needs a NAATI certified professional translators before a full understanding of the content is possible. For example, you may see an interesting image which is reviewed in a language you don’t fully understand. Or you may have bought a product while overseas and its manual is written in a language you are not familiar with. Whatever the document is about and whatever language it is in, there are various tools available which can enable you to carry out a useful document translation so that you understand at least the gist of it.

Apart from hiring a NAATI professional translation service to unravel the meaning there are some free web tools available for you to use. So far, Google Translate has been proven to be the most useful tool. The reason for this is that without too much of a problem a complete web page can be translated without the need to copy and paste it into another context. It also supports a surprising number of languages and the tool is constantly improving the quality of its translations

WorldLingo is a great translator that can be found online and is nearly as good as Google translate but does not offer as many languages. It is grammar is not nearly as good as a professional translation but it does offer a reasonable idea of what a text is all about. SDL FreeTranslation offers a bit more than other translation tools as if you are prepared to pay it can organise a professional document translation. With just a single click, an estimate can often be provided of the cost of a human professional document translation.

You may not have discovered this translation tool as it hidden behind the review tab in Microsoft Office. You can select a language and get the gist of a document to keep you going until you are able to find a professional NAATI translator.

Most of the online tools for undertaking translations are perfect to get an idea about the meaning of words and phrases but they don’t have the capacity to perform in depth translations especially when it comes to getting the translation just right.

2 Tips for Handling Global Foreign Language Documents

Today, globalisation is embedded in both the individual and business worlds. That means that documents that are written in foreign languages are commonplace on our desktops, both virtual and the real time office desk too. It gets to a point when if we are unable to translate this overwhelming amount of data something has to be done. If you run a business you might be missing out on valuable customers. If you are an individual you could miss the best price for a sought after garment.

One of the main things you can do to ease the impact of this overflow of words you don’t understand is to think in a multilingual context. Don’t shrug off this aspect of globalisation because it’s not going to go away in the near future at least.

Tip #1 Multilingual thinking is the way to go

Once your document stockpile in a foreign language whether paper or virtual has got far too much you should seek out an experienced NAATI translator who understands the language of the documents you need to handle. You can get this translator to skim through each document in turn and give a summary in your own language so you can select the documents that are of most use to you and need a comprehensive document translation.

A NAATI translation is different from your average translation because to be awarded that status rigorous testing takes place before the translator can add NAATI to his or her name. The NAATI translator will know how to fast-track your documents by seeking out significant keywords which will be presented to you.

Tip #2 Consider the translation options

There are different methods used for translating such as machine translators but they may be okay for quick summaries that may not be totally accurate unless the translator has been programmed with all the word usages and idioms used in your type of industry. They don’t always convey the complete meaning of a sentence and often omit key words that cannot be found in their programmed dictionaries. It is a low cost choice, but basically unreliable if the full meaning of a document is sought.

In the end, a professional translation service anywhere in Australia is a cost effective translation solution as it hits the nail on the head first time round.

A Translation Glossary is a Worthwhile Investment

You might have heard about the use of translation glossaries but think you don’t need one or wonder why they are supposed to be beneficial. Imagine you asked a simple question to someone from Australia, Canada, the U.S., Britain, South Africa and India. Guess what? Each answer is likely to be different, or more specifically, the answers will all be similar, but not exactly the same. They won’t be consistent. Now apply this to a translation task. Imagine each person was a translator and they were all given the same text to translate. The translated text is likely to be different from one person to the next. That’s one of the main goals of a translation glossary. It maintains consistency in the style as well as the vocabulary of translated text.

A translation glossary is particularly useful for any larger scale translation service in Australia where different translators are employed, whether they are in house or are freelancers working from home. The glossary defines the preferred choice of words and phrases to be used during translation and avoids the sort of inconsistency when several different translators are used to translate material for one particular client. The more extended the relationship between the translation service and client, the more important that consistency is achieved.

What else is a glossary useful for?

Translation services in Melbourne and across Australia as well as many other parts of the world have discovered there is more to developing a glossary apart from achieving a more consistent translation, even if that is one of the main aims. Glossaries also help to make translation faster as well as cheaper. A good glossary can help to protect a brand, especially when the marketing translation is involved.

By avoiding confusion, a good glossary helps translators avoid spending time trying to work out which term to use when it comes to translating a particular batch of text. This means faster translation times. Immediately, this means that the whole task is going to be cheaper for the client as the faster and smoother the translation task, then the cheaper it is going to be.

Branding is really important and there is no pint in trying to translate a brand name or slogan word for word as it will then be harder to recognise. Brands are international. Google is Google in Arabic, English, Hindi and Vietnamese! So is an iPad, McDonalds, Nike etc. etc. These are brand names and of course they should be retained whatever the target language used in translation, but some branding slogans are harder to translate without making cultural errors. There have been some famous translation blunders in the past which most translators have heard about. The point here is to retain in the glossary a brand slogan that works for the particular language. Experimentation and alternatives could be dangerous!

Merry Christmas Can be Translated into Many Other Languages


Many countries these days celebrate Christmas in one way or another, even if it is allowing Christians to have a holiday to commemorate this historic occasion. Many countries that are dominated by Islam often have Christians present as well and don’t deny them the right to celebrate in any way they may think fit.

As a result of this widespread recognition of Christmas there are translations into many languages of traditional Christmas greetings, such as “Merry Christmas”. The Chinese have two different translations for Merry Christmas which are???? in Traditional Chinese and ???? in Simplified Chinese. Some people prefer to have a less religious connotation in their greetings and for the phrases “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” ????? is used in Traditional Chinese language, while????? is Simplified Chinese.

Merry Christmas in Danish is Glædelig jul, so if you have some Danish associates or friends there could be nothing better than sending them a greeting in their own language for a change. Don’t forget though that if you were thinking of using Skype to send the message orally you had better learn the pronunciation first otherwise you may not be given such a good impression as you originally thought!

You could get away with using English when offering season’s greetings to your Dutch friends as they have such a good understanding of English anyway and are proud of their great ability in that language, but Merry Christmas Dutch style is Gelukkig Kerstfeest so give them a surprise this year and write it on your e-greeting card. You will bring a smile to their faces at least. Happy holidays or Season’s greetings is Beste Wensen in Dutch if this is your preference. If you are not sure on the pronunciation try immigration translation services in your local town who may have someone to help you with pronunciation.

You may surprise a Finn if you use the Finnish translation of Merry Christmas for your many Finnish associates and friends, as they certainly think that they are the only ones that know their language and they think they are excellent at English too. Merry Christmas in Finnish is Hauskaa joulua. Don’t get the translation wrong if you speak the greeting down your cell phone but check with an English Finnish NAATI translator first who will coach you in how to speak the phrase correctly.

You may have gathered a French following in the past year and want to send Christmas greetings in their own language. Merry Christmas in French is Joyeux Noël or for more general Season’s Greetings Meilleurs vœux. Quite difficult to pronounce if you are not a French native speaker, but you could always ask for pronunciation help from translation services in Brisbane who will always have a native French speaker on hand to assist you.

Tips for a Better Translation

Whether you are an accredited NAATI translator or a newly qualified individual just starting out with your own translation business there are always ways you can improve your translation techniques and provide better document translation services or whatever type of translation you decide to specialise in. Here are five tips for a better translation outcome.

Tip no. 1# Make sure you invest in some good translation equipment

By translation equipment we don’t necessarily mean translation software or machine translation technology, but more down to earth things like a variety of dictionaries. If you intend to specialise in any particular type of document translation services like legal, medical, technical or scientific translation you are well advised to invest in bilingual dictionaries that cover those sorts of terminologies. If you intend to do a lot of marketing or literary translation then dictionaries of idioms and idiomatic sayings and bilingual jargon would be useful.

Tip no. 2# Pre-reading gives you the big picture

By pre reading a document or text to be translated we mean skimming through it fairly quickly so that you get the general gist of what it is all about. This is something you might want to consider if you are just starting out to make sure it is a translation task that you can handle and also to know how much to charge. By pre-reading a document you will also know what sort of extra equipment in the form of dictionaries as has already been mentioned will be useful.

Tip no. 3# Work out the style and meaning of the text

Every individual piece of text has its own well-defined style. You will want to maintain that type of style when the text is translated. You will also wish to maintain the overall meaning of the text or document after translation. This depends on the fluency you have obtained in both the original and target languages.

Tip no. 4# Proofreading allows perfection

Proofreading cannot be stressed enough once you have finished translating, but there are many ways you can proofread your documents. One way is to read the text out loud. This allows you to check that the meaning of the text has been preserved. Re-read the translated text to double check grammar and spelling mistakes. Another way to do this is to read backwards from the end of the document or get someone else, preferably a native speaker to check the text. The native speaker will particularly notice nuances like idioms and jargon which may not have been translated properly or sound clumsy.

Why Translators Should Not Make Mistakes

History shows a record of terrible translation mistakes that have occasionally caused international tensions to rise and even the possibility of war. Thankfully, most translation mistakes are far less critical than that and may even cause a laugh. However, it is unlikely that the individual or business that asked for the translation would be laughing once they discovered that their mistranslated document or marketing slogan or web page they had spent money on was being laughed at itself.

There are many reasons why translators should not make any mistakes and why anyone searching for a reliable business document translation service should choose their translator(s) carefully.

Legal documents are full of technical terms and should be translated by legal document translation services that have the expertise to handle legal terminology. Any small mistakes may mean a lost business contract or misunderstanding which could slow down negotiations, business approval or immigration requirements.

Medical documents may include things like medical manuals, prescription requirements, medical records and vaccination certificates. Even small mistakes could end in disaster if the wrong procedure was used, a medical instrument was not calibrated properly or the wrong dosage was administered because of the message being incorrect.

Marketing material is also something that needs to be correctly translated. It is marketing material that is so often the butt of jokes because of errors in translation. Usually this is because of idiomatic expressions being translated directly from one language into another. Marketing messages are targeted at specific markets that usually have their own language and expressions.

Translation has become an important part of international business and should be treated seriously. There is no point in trying to cut back on the budget when it comes to translation tasks. Translation is the work of professional translators who are trained and certified and are unlikely to make mistakes. Good quality translation services will always make sure that their translated copy is proofread thoroughly before being released by a first language speaker with experience in the subject matter being translated.

How Vital is Website Translation for International Business?

Mastering geographical barriers and centralising information and knowledge are all part of the new globalized world we live in today. This has all started to fall into place despite linguistic barriers. Exchanging goods over vast distances and moving people too is all part of this new commercial world. All these exchanges can only take place if linguistic barriers are reduced. In order to take part in lucrative trade relations language services are at the forefront of providing a means of communication that is beneficial to all parties.

Because being part of the global business market is now so important, professional translation services are required to prepare products for the multilingual world. It is no use marketing product information online only in English just because the business has its base in the English speaking world because English is just one of a multitude of languages spoken by the world’s population. E-commerce promotes internationalism but it is only useful if online customers can speak the language used.

Using a machine translator is quite affordable and can help business but its accuracy isn’t perfect and a human is required to proofread and edit the outcome. Machine translations cannot adapt to intricate meanings and do not understand the human side of what is to be translated.

In Australia there are many different professional translation services but the most competent is a NAATI translation. Translators with NAATI accreditation can interpret and retain the meaning that is required for international communications and business requirements. Translation services in Australia can produce a document that matches the original document not just in the language required but with the required layout and presentation that a business should expect.

A quality language translation can bridge the gap by assisting companies to reach a global audience by providing the type of translation potential clients are able to clearly understand and relate to. Whether it’s for a traditional street business or a new online venture, A NAATI translator has the skills to provide readable, translated content for all types of businesses in virtually all languages.