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Research and Translation: Helpful tools in the translation process

Posted 5 years 54 days ago ago by Annette Labbé     0 Comments

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When I discuss researching and translation with people, a lot of the time they assume that my research is minimal. They think that I simply let computer software translate the text and that I go in afterwards and fix the incorrectly translated parts and that’s the extent of my research. I’ve mentioned a few times how that approach to translation would be more time-consuming and generally less efficient than doing the translation by hand. So how does a person prepare to research a translation properly? 

1. Bring out the old French and English dictionary. I still do this, and it’s been a lifesaver when the internet is down. The only downside to using an actual French and English dictionary is the fact that you have to buy a new one every few years to keep up with changes in the language (old and less commonly used words are retired and new ones are created as the need arises). 

2. The internet can be a valuable research tool in translation, but you have to know where to look. It’s always best to get translations from trusted sites, like government websites (which often have English and French versions of a site) or websites run by other reputable organizations. Sometimes you can just google a term or a sentence in quotation marks and type “French” at the end and the translation will appear amongst many others. You still have to do the work yourself though. You have to decide if the translation that’s presented fits the context of what you’re translating. 

3. I sometimes look at language forums, because if I have a question about translation, chances are someone else had the same question at some point. Be careful with language forums though: everyone’s skill level is different and you must take that into consideration.  

There’s no guaranteed way to research a translation properly and you will always have to work at the translation yourself to make sure it’s accurate. These are just tools that I find helpful in the translation process. 

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