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ERIC Number: ED334830
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: 0
Teaching Beginners the Blessings of Abstracting and Compressing (And How To Save a Few Lives in the Process).
Translators must understand what they translate, but oral language is generally more redundant than written language and the translator need not repeat everything he hears. One method of teaching this skill is to have students sight translate a text in its entirety and then abridge it to its minimum informative content. Abstracting and compressing are keys to dealing with speech that is too rapid. Abstracting is like precis writing, requiring thorough analysis of the text with rigorous hierarchization of its content. Compressing involves condensing of the text's form. Interpreters should be taught to think of the shortest synonym or equivalent first. Two United Nations speeches in English, translated into Spanish, provide illustrations of the quantitative and qualitative differences between a good semantic translation, an abstract, and a compressed text, and also of the disastrous results of over-abstraction. While translators should not necessarily abstract or compress in all translating situations, they should be trained and practiced in the necessary skills for the situations that either allow for or demand an abstract or compressed text. (Contains 15 endnotes and 24 references.) (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the First Language International Conference (Elsinore, Denmark, 1991).