Translate Phrases of Text

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Recorded Text Testing
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Find a Good Storyteller
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Translate Phrases of Text

The following steps will walk you through the process of translating a text to a language that you and the translator share, preferably the LWC that you normally use on survey. In order to complete these steps, you will need to be familiar with the use of a MiniDisc (MD) recorder.

  1. Find another person to translate the story – the storyteller may tend to summarize the story in translating and fail to include details. Find a person who speaks the language of the text (L1) as a mother tongue, who is also fluent in the language of wider communication (LWC), and who didn't hear you record the text. Try to find a literate person, because the process will go faster if he or she can write the transcription and translation himself/herself.
  2. Tell the translator that he/she will hear a story through the headphones and that you want him/her to write and translate what he/she hears into the LWC without leaving out or adding any details.
  3. Prepare a separate translation notebook for him/her. Write the information about the story (e.g. language, location, date, storyteller) at the top of the page. Number each line so that you can refer to it easily. Write the first track number of the recorded text on the first line. Make sure the translator has a good supply of working pens.
  4. Play the first track for the translator.
  5. Ask him/her to write down (in the L1) exactly what he/she has just heard (in the L1). You may have to play the track two or three more times before the translator fully understands what you want him/her to do. Click here to see how the notebook might appear.
  6. Ask the translator to write the translation of the first track beneath the transcription. He or she may be able to do a word-for-word translation at the same time.
  7. Go through the entire text track by track once the translator understands the procedure. Write the track number next to its translation in the LWC. Leave at least two blank lines between each track's translation so the lines do not get confused.
  8. The translator may ask you to combine a few tracks to create something he can understand. If this happens, write the numbers of both tracks on the same line in your notebook.
  9. Look back over the whole translation and be sure that you have an accurate rendering of what the text (in the L1) says on each track. For example, if a track is eight seconds long and contains no pauses, but your translator has only given you a three word sentence in the LWC for the translation, you should recheck this and make sure that it is a good translation of the text.
  10. Thank the translator for his/her help. Write his/her personal information in the data notebook just as you did for the storyteller.
  11. Copy the transcription and translation to the data notebook so that you have a clear version to refer to.