How the Internet has deeply changed the translation activity | Translation Services - News - Blog | Translation Studies, Corpus Linguistics, Academia |
The pre-Internet era is now a thing of the past but it has changed the translation activity so much that being a translator in the eighties and before has nothing to do with today’s business.

This is the continuation of Using the Internet in the translation activity – Part 1.

Most translators said that reliability was quite problematic when using online sources because a lot of them have not been peer-reviewed and anybody can publish on the Internet. An article written by an expert is obviously more reliable than an article posted by a layperson. Most translators (50/75; 66.6%) think that online sources are not as reliable as paper sources and assessing their reliability was more difficult. We may suggest that an equivalent should be more reliable if the number of occurrences is significant. For example, an equivalent with 1,000 occurrences may be more reliable than an equivalent with 500 occurrences. This strategy is ‘tricky’ because reliability does not depend on quantitative criteria. Also, the number of occurrences may depend on the research strategy (see the number of results when typing ‘rosace+nucléaire’ and ‘rosace’).

Translators whose languages are rarely spoken and read in their working environment[1] were also asked if they had taken advantage of the web’s potential. The online translation strategies of 52 translators matching this profile were investigated.[2] It was first noticed that these translators did not share the same opinion about the Internet as those working with more ‘common’ working languages (e.g. English, French, German and Spanish). Most of them (40/52; 76.9%) reported that they did take advantage of the Web’s potential but there were still too few online sources written in their ‘rare’ languages. Therefore, they use a lot more paper sources than translators working in ‘common’ working languages. 47.9% (23/48) of the respondents with a ‘rare’ working language said they first used paper sources and most of them (29/45; 64.4%) answered that online sources were not specialized enough. Different answers were given by some translators. Most Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian translators (10/14; 71.4%) said they were able find enough online sources in their language. The same cannot be said for most Russian and Polish translators; according to them (12/13; 92.3%), the Internet does not provide enough specialized sources in their languages.

The Internet has also deeply impacted other elements of the translation activity. Respondents with a 10-year experience and more in translation said that before the Internet era, purchasing paper sources accounted for a huge part of their investments (23 translators) because specialized sources were more difficult to find than today and having technical books, journals, dictionaries and glossaries was a means to save time. They also added that the Internet had dramatically cut their investments in paper sources. Thirteen ‘young’ translators (in the business for less than 10 years) reported that they did not want to buy and/or keep paper sources because they were able to find everything on the Web.

Via Charles Tiayon