In Translation: It gets Weird

Got a call yesterday afternoon from the firm giving me the work I have done thus far.  I had called in the morning with a question and mentioned that as much of  what is written is truncated I added some explanatory notes to the text, especially as from my background, I may gave some insights others do not,  and was that OK, I was told.

Well the tone of the call was, "Ah we'd rather you not do that".  Why?  Well I had blithely assumed this work was for the plaintiff attorneys, but noooooooooooooooooooooo ,  its all for- and being paid by- Large International Automobile Manufacturer #1, who I guess once the translations are complete, must send read-only copies of the documents to the plaintiff attorneys as part of the discovery process, so any 補足説明 is not desired.


This translation firm knows who I am; I sent them my resume before work started. wonder now though, does their client know who is looking over their stuff?

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4 Responses to In Translation: It gets Weird

  1. pamik says:

    For anything legal they want translations as literal as possible and supposition by the translator is not a plus. If you were translating notes from Japanese meetings for internal use by non-Japanese-speaking execs in the US (or where ever) then they might want the extra info. This legal stuff is about finding the needle in the haystack. I've known people who were called into court to testify about their translations and adding any extra info can really screw the whole thing up.

  2. An Ex-Expat says:

    What I was doing was not out of any sense of mischief, but rather I recalled a paper written by a Sake Dojo Alumni, who has a good J-E patent translation practice out in Ohio, for some translators conference, on how much extra a translator might think about going when translating.

    But that said, I would definetely defer to your experience.

  3. pamik says:

    It all depends on what the translation will be used for. I've heard from people with much greater experience in legal translation and interpretation than I have that you have to really refrain from adding anything that isn't in the original (even if that leaves it very cryptic) or you potentially risk being subpoenaed to testify about it.

  4. An Ex-Expat says:

    There's a book I read many years ago, puiblished by the SAE, called The Engineer in the Courtroom (I think) and it detailed all the joys of being depsoed. Enough to make anyone steer way clear of it.

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