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Translating an English translation of an Arabic text about learning Arabic to Norwegian – Adventures of a Fiverr Translator


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Had an interesting translation project last night, to say the least. A rush order came in just before I was going to bed. I decided to do it, even though it was late and I rarely work after 3 pm. A happy buyer is a returning buyer, after all! 

The job consisted of translating explanations in English on how to learn Arabic - to Norwegian. There are some concepts that are just difficult to grasp, and I ended up spending an hour learning about how Arabic works. Even so, there are issues with the translation, because it was originally translated from Arabic by a non-native English speaker

So here I was, at midnight, learning about the Arabic language, trying to understand unique concepts about the language, in order to interpret the weird English translation of an Arabic text about learning Arabic, so that I could translate it to Norwegian

Safe to say, I'm still discussing word-choices with the buyer. 

But at least I now know more about Arabic, and why this language is notoriously difficult to learn for westerners. 

But it's a fascinating language for sure! 

I guess my point is: even the (seemingly) boring jobs that sometimes come along, can become really interesting. 

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Great that you are looking at it like that... personally I would look at it like a cancelation, sounds like a nightmare. I work with video, and I basically already turn away people who sound weird in their english, I really can't deal with bad translations / people who don't have a good command of the language. It brings with it all kinds of problems.

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1 minute ago, visualstudios said:

Great that you are looking at it like that... personally I would look at it like a cancelation, sounds like a nightmare. I work with video, and I basically already turn away people who sound weird in their english, I really can't deal with bad translations / people who don't have a good command of the language. It brings with it all kinds of problems.

The buyer was more than proficient in English, so he helped me understand the different concepts. There are certain concepts that only exist in Arabic, so that leaves us with some rather weird translations.  I'm paid to translate, so I have to be more understanding when it comes to language issues. Sometimes, translation can be a creative job, and you learn a lot from it. 

I see no reason to cancel a job, as long as I get paid for what I do. And because I genuinly take an interest in the projects I get (I'm addicted to learning) I see this as nothing but a learning oppurtunity. 

But it's a pickle when you have to translate unique concepts that are already translated to a language that doesn't have those concepts at all, into a third language. Safe to say, I had an extra cup of coffee last night. 

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15 minutes ago, smashradio said:

I see no reason to cancel a job, as long as I get paid for what I do.

Of course, same here. Thing is, in a situation like that you are actually having to do extra work, comparing to a straight translation where you don't have to learn anything. So, as long as the price reflects that, it's fine. My point was more about the risk it is to take a job when there are language issues, but apparently that was not the case here.

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4 minutes ago, visualstudios said:

Of course, same here. Thing is, in a situation like that you are actually having to do extra work, comparing to a straight translation where you don't have to learn anything. So, as long as the price reflects that, it's fine. My point was more about the risk it is to take a job when there are language issues, but apparently that was not the case here.

Indeed. If you can't communicate properly with the buyer, it can be a nightmare. That's a risk I'm not taking if I can avoid it. 

I translated instruction manuals for maintenance of compensating filters in CT machines once. That was my "worst" learning experience yet. I actually had to call a CT tech to interview the guy about how this stuff works, just to make sense of what I was translating. 😂

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