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Helpful tips in translating Korean to English

July 2, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Helpful tips in translating Korean to English

Translation is a field which seems to benefit the most from recent development in technology.  Now you can translate 5 times faster than before when you didn’t have those technological benefits.

There is a degree of difficulty in Korean translation.  Birth certificates are the easiest ones when you have a templet.  It is good to have a templet for various kinds of certificates, basic relations, family relations, family registry, death certificates, etc.  Then there are personal letters that are very easy.  You can use “Windows speech recognition mode” and translate in very short time since it will type for you.

However “Windows speech recognition mode” is not very good for complicated details.  It is rather annoying to be correcting so many mistakes that the machine made.  And do not ever use a machine translation. It doesn’t work for Korean at the current state, and I don’t think it will ever work especially for anything more complex than a very simple sentences.

Dragon Naturally Speaking is a great tool when you translate a book or long documents.  You can even lie down on your sofa, and read into a recorder.  Then connect it to a computer and it types the content.  But you have to do a lot of proofreading and correcting which could also be a bit annoying.

A large volume of work with repeated words and tables are also very easy when you use Trados.  It automatically translates the repeated words.  But it is not very effective for long and complicated sentences.

There are many ways to reduce time and increase effectiveness.  One of it that I really like is Review>right click spelling and grammar>Customize Quick Access Tool Bar>Proofing>Auto correct options.  Especially in natural science or engineering documents such as patents, there are not too many literary expressions, and the same words are repeated many times.  I enter anything longer than 4 letters into 4 letters by typing the first 3 letters and the last 1.  For example,

Structure -> stre

Development-> devt

International-> intl

Then when I type those four letters, Word automatically changes it to the original word.  You can be twice or three times more productive using this method, especially for patents.

Many original documents these days come into the form of pdf.  I use Nuance PDF professional converter to put text boxes and write directly on pdf.  It is very convenient especially for legal exhibits when you are required to mirror image the original.  It takes a little time to get used to it, but after a while, it is much better than writing on Word.  Abbey Fine Reader is also good, but too complicated to manipulate sometimes.

It is helpful to have online dictionary on all the time on the screen, and my favorite Korean to English dictionary is  Naver is much better than Daum in terms of English dictionary.  Usually when I look up some technical words on the net, they are not in any dictionary.  Korean dictionary is so outdated it does not have translation for most of the words that I look up.  Then search it in, and they give you currently used translations, especially in expert academic articles.  Click open and they usually have at least the title translated.  That’s where I get most of the terms that don’t appear in dictionaries.  If you cannot find them even there, which rarely happens, then you are the first one to translate that word from Korean to English.  Be the first one and take the liberty of using your imagination and creativity.

But the most important source of course is my memory and linguistic intuition which no machine could match up to.  In order to optimize my brain condition, I usually watch Korean hallyu dramas from my most comfortable translation chair when I translate.  It takes off the pressure of concentrating too much and lubricates the language part of the brain to  make the translation flow naturally, and provides fun.

This must be the greatest time to be a translator.  Translation is like a puzzle game, requiring concentration and detail orientation, and I enjoy it so much in my spare time.  I just love how my speed and accuracy improve over time, along with vocabulary and expressions stored in my language bank.  Then you also have access to rich information, not limited to your narrow major field.  A translator is a great job!!

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