Twitter can be a great source of inspiration for blog posts.
I spent some time this afternoon looking at Italian websites for a project I was working on and found only one that included the translators’ names among the credits. Indeed, with most Italian sites if you click the “Credits” link in the footer you’re whisked straight to the web developer’s site. No-one else gets a mention.
Annoyed, I tweeted indignantly about this lack of credit and recognition for translators. But other translators on Twitter were quick to point out that having your name on a website translation isn’t necessarily a good thing. First, because the translations are sometimes the work of more than one translator, so you could be viewed as responsible for someone else’s mistakes (as they could be for yours – not that I, or the readers of this blog, ever make mistakes…). And second, because, as Isabel Hurtado de Mendoza pointed out, “Too many people (non-linguists included) tamper with website text”. Which makes it potentially risky to put your name to your translation.
Chris Durban* recommends that translators should “sign” their translations as standard practice: we should be proud to put our names to our work. But that’s easier to do with printed publications than it is for the web, which is fluid and ever-changing, and more open to interference than print is.
It’s a pity, isn’t it, and a missed marketing opportunity. I sometimes include a link in my marketing material to a specific web-page (an article or speech, say) that I’ve translated (having first checked that no-one’s messed it up).
What about you, readers? Have any of you found a way to prevent people tampering with your web translations?
Up-date: Chris has pointed out in the comments that she does not advocate signing website translations: the risk of interference is too high.
By Marian Dougan