Translating a text riddled with spelling mistakes
Thread poster: Maria-Jose Pastor

Maria-Jose Pastor
Local time: 01:27
Ingiriisi to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 8

In translating a text that is riddled with mistakes - do we as translators translate what we the translator believes the author is trying to convey through context clues, or indicate there is a mistake? The text is from Spanish to English, examples would be:

Despues instead of Después / mas instead of más / le pego un puno instead of le pegó un puño

The translation is to be used in a court proceeding.
Thank you for your input.


 

Joseph Tein  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:27
Member (2009)
Spanish to Ingiriisi
+ ...
You have to be very careful Apr 8

This is an important question since the translation may affect the outcome of a court proceeding!

I would just say take each instance separately. If the meaning is clear even without the punctuation, just translate it. If it's not clear in any way, or ambiguous, I would add a comment that says something like "meaning ambiguous due to lack of punctuation." Alert whoever has assigned you the translation task that there are ambiguities.

Often, our less-educated Spanish
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This is an important question since the translation may affect the outcome of a court proceeding!

I would just say take each instance separately. If the meaning is clear even without the punctuation, just translate it. If it's not clear in any way, or ambiguous, I would add a comment that says something like "meaning ambiguous due to lack of punctuation." Alert whoever has assigned you the translation task that there are ambiguities.

Often, our less-educated Spanish clients/witnesses write poorly. It's the best they know given what is often a horribly deficient educational system back home.
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MollyRose
Sara Massons
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Josephine Cassar
Teresa Borges
Thomas Pfann
Angie Garbarino
 

Sabrina Bruna  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:27
Member (2013)
Ingiriisi to Talyaani
+ ...
What I would do Apr 9

I would certainly inform the client about any spelling error or other issues present in the source text, to be sure that I have understood what I am translating. Moreover in such a way I would deliver a good service to my client, and my good standing would grow stronger.

Emanuele Vacca
Angie Garbarino
Ludovica Pizzichini
 

Philippe SALMON
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:27
Member (2013)
Ingiriisi to Faransiis
+ ...
Helping spelling can be good marketing Apr 9

We translate a lot of engineering and technical stuff. When we look at the document if there are a fair few errors, we say to the client "If we notice any typos, do you want us to alert you? No charge!" The response is usually "Yes please, that would be great!"
A lot of people in the UK who go into technical careers weren't necessarily highly literate at school in the obsessive way us translators are. (My own brother is dyslexic, but he was in charge of making sure a petrol refinery didn't
... See more
We translate a lot of engineering and technical stuff. When we look at the document if there are a fair few errors, we say to the client "If we notice any typos, do you want us to alert you? No charge!" The response is usually "Yes please, that would be great!"
A lot of people in the UK who go into technical careers weren't necessarily highly literate at school in the obsessive way us translators are. (My own brother is dyslexic, but he was in charge of making sure a petrol refinery didn't blow up the locality..it's a different kind of clever!).
Having said that, if an error makes a big difference to the meaning (in legal documents) or in Health and Safety, if we need clarity we go back to the customer rather than guessing.
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Sabrina Bruna
Christine Andersen
Ludovica Pizzichini
 

123Translations
Venezuela
Local time: 01:27
Member (2008)
Dutch to Ingiriisi
+ ...
Small mistakes Apr 9

If these are the kind of mistakes you are talking about, it shouldn't be a problem. It seems the writer did not have the programme at hand to type Spanish accents, however, as far as I can see the context seems quite obvious in the examples you posted.

Kay Denney
Robert Forstag
MollyRose
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:27
Member (2018)
Faransiis to Ingiriisi
. Apr 10

123Translations wrote:

If these are the kind of mistakes you are talking about, it shouldn't be a problem. It seems the writer did not have the programme at hand to type Spanish accents, however, as far as I can see the context seems quite obvious in the examples you posted.


I only have a smattering of tourist Spanish but it does look like the text was simply typed up on a non-Spanish keyboard. If misunderstandings are possible because of missing accents, it should be pointed out in a translator's note. If it's actually incomprehensible, you should ask the client to try to find out what the spelling should be.


 

Belen Lozina
Argentina
Local time: 02:27
New user
Ingiriisi to Spanish
+ ...
It will depend on the mistakes Apr 11

123Translations wrote:

If these are the kind of mistakes you are talking about, it shouldn't be a problem. It seems the writer did not have the programme at hand to type Spanish accents, however, as far as I can see the context seems quite obvious in the examples you posted.


I strongly agree with 123Translations here, in the example you gave the mistakes are not misleading and the typos do not produce a change in meaning in Spanish.


 


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