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Resistance to Translation Memory. Part 3

August 27th, 2012, Roman Mironov

In this post, I’ll continue to look at some of the reasons why using computer-aided translation software feels like a trip to a dentist for some people. While I find the reasons described in post 1 and post 2 generally valid, the arguments below are less reasonable, in my opinion.

“I don’t really care about this complex stuff. Why even bother if I can just go ahead and translate using Word?”

This kind of an attitude seems to be a force of human nature. The great motivational speaker and author Stephen Covey* called it a “quick-fix” mentality; that is, a desire to get results immediately without doing what it really takes to get them. A classic example is someone who wants to lose weight, but isn’t prepared to change their core beliefs about health and is unwilling to do what it has always taken—eating less and exercising more. Instead, this individual reverts to a short-term diet or even surgery only to produce temporary results because their self-image of an unhealthy person—the real reason behind their weight problem—never actually changes. In a similar vein, some people prefer to avoid the complexities of a TM tool and simply work into a Word document. This individual may realize that learning and using a TM tool will get them further, but the prospect of making the effort just seems too painful.

Another stumbling block is the pressure to translate more responsibly that a TM tool puts on a translator. First, you are supposed to organize your translation projects better. Next, you’re also expected to look into a glossary and TM for existing translations rather than come up with your own stuff. Then, you need to make sure all tags are intact after translation, and so on and so forth. Why bother about all these things when it’s so easy to go for the quick fix of Microsoft Word? By the way, I think that the reason behind mistranslations is pretty much the same—instead of taking the time to thoroughly dissect or research the original meaning, people often opt for a literal translation or guesswork.

Because a “quick-fix” mentality is so deeply rooted in us, it’s difficult to give a good actionable advice on how to deal with it. Changing things in your life is always a personal choice, and the driving force is not an external advice, but your own reasons, your motivation to improve as a translation professional. Finding such motivation can be easy as soon as you recognize the need to increase efficiency. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—by learning and using a TM tool, you’ll make a major difference in your work—and with much less effort than you expect.

Thank you for reading this and the previous posts on resistance to using translation memory. If you have any advice about overcoming this resistance, please share your comments below. You are also welcome to read the last post in this series about unwillingness to use TM technology.

*It is with great sadness that I learned that around a month and a half ago, on July 16, Dr. Covey passed away. As a strong believer in his teachings, I am grateful for having him as a mentor in my life and strongly encourage you to become a student of his work.

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