STEPS IN TRANSLATION PROJECTS

1. Recognition of need (usually done by survey)

Need for a project will be determined by survey of these and other factors:
- number of mother-tongue speakers (usually translation projects are done for groups numbering in the thousands)
- dying language? (are young people learning a national or trade language in school and no longer speak and understand their mother-tongue language? is the language spoken in homes?)
- national language of group? prestige language? degree of bilinguialism, domains of usage, attitudes toward languages and dialects
- other translations already available in this or related dialects
- dialects: number and degree of variance
- other groups already at work with this language and their current and planned projects
- language development: reduced to writing? script samples analyzed, samples of literature studied; has orthography been finalized? agreed upon? used by whom?
- if the language is unwritten, what has analysis shown about phonetics, phonology and grammar?
- list of literature already printed in this language
- main religion of the group, number of believers, number of churches among this language group
- language(s) used in church services
- any political considerations (current climate, governmental policy concerning this language group)
- education level of speakers of this language
- literacy rate among language group, broken down into age groups, gender
- adult literacy programs functioning in this language group
- felt needs of group members: do they want literature in their language? a literacy program? are they interested in preserving their language?
- known opposition to translation or literature production or literacy programs in this language
- what other languages and dialects the people group understands and what has already been produced in those languages which they may understand
- availability of person or group willing to accept responsibility for translation project (personnel, funds, etc.) through printing and distribution

2. IF survey points to need for translation, then must:

a. Choose source language (Greek, Hebrew, English, French, etc.)
b. Choose text to be translated
c. Determine target audience
d. Determine form of language to be used
e. Determine which dialect to use in the translation
f. Find and train qualified translator and translation team
1. Translator must be mother-tongue speaker of the target language
2. Translation team includes at least 3 additional mother-tongue speakers of the target language and one person who is a mother-tongue speaker of the language of the text being translated
3. Training usually requires several days, up to two weeks with ample time to practice. Training should include basic principles of translation, what to watch for (common errors, things that "trip up" translators), how to use reference books, how to complete the forms giving checkers' comments and suggestions.
g. Gather needed reference materials
h. Translator writes first draft, using a simplified base in a language he understands. He analyzes that base text for meaning, then transfers that meaning into the target language, restructuring it into understandable text
i. Translator or someone else inputs first draft into computer (or types it)
j. Translator checks first draft with one other mother-tongue speaker who is a trained member of translation team (this person is usually called his assistant or "second")
k. Manuscript is checked by all members of translation team and their suggestions/corrections are submitted to the translator and his assistant
l. After sufficient checking and revisions by the translation team (with the consultant helping to finalize the decisions) the manuscript is prepared for testing
m. Testing among mother-tongue speakers is carried out, using some combination of these or other methods:
1. Person reads aloud to self and others and reports on reactions (did they seem to understand?)
2. Person reads and tester watches for difficulties
3. Person listens to text read and then re-tells in his own words
4. Person listens to or reads text and then answers questions about content
5. Alternative translations of a portion are presented and person is asked which is best
6. A portion is read with every 8th word omitted; the person is asked to fill in the missing words
7. Person is asked to back-translate a portion of the translation and that is compared with the original text
8. Person uses trial version of the translation in small group settings
n. Revisions as needed to the manuscript based upon results of testing (Special emphasis is given to these characteristics: is it understandable? clear? natural?)
o. Finalization of manuscript
p. Printing
q. Later, more feedback is collected, corrections and revisions are made
r. Revised printing

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