A translation quality assessment of the vietnamese version of us financial & accounting application software

This study investigates translation quality assessment of the Vietnamese version of US Financial and Accounting application software translated by the pool of 20 translators coming from VNLocalize, a big localization company in Vietnam with its head office in Hanoi. The introduction gives a rationale for the study and sets up aims, scope and methods of the study. Chapter I present the study’s theoretical background. It introduces the issues relevant to the study including translation, translation equivalence, translation quality assessment, technical language and terminology. Chapter II analyzes the source language text with focus on the pragmatic accuracy, or in other word the accuracy of meaning in context, of the US F& A application software. The emphasis of the analysis will be on terminology meaning accuracy. Part of the analysis will also deal with form of the SL text. The main group of terms will be divided according to their meaning and the sub group of terms will be divided according to their form. Chapter III compares the original text with the translation and explores how the translation has solved issues in the original text based on mostly the meaning and partly the form aspects of the original text and then evaluation of the translation will be stated. The conclusion summarizes the issues addressed in the study and gives suggestions for further study.

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VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES _______________********_______________ A TRANSLATION QUALITY ASSESSMENT OF THE VIETNAMESE VERSION OF US FINANCIAL & ACCOUNTING APPLICATION SOFTWARE (ĐÁNH GIÁ CHẤT LƯỢNG DỊCH THUẬT BẢN DỊCH TIẾNG VIỆT CÁC PHẦN MỀM ỨNG DỤNG VỀ TÀI CHÍNH-KẾ TOÁN MỸ) M.A. THESIS Field: English Linguistics BY: TRAN THI CAM TU SUPERVISOR: Assoc. Prof. Dr. LE HUNG TIEN HANOI 2008 TABLE OF CONTENT DECLARATION ABSTRACT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ABBREVIATIONS Part A: INTRODUCTION 1 1. Reasons for Choosing The Topic 2 2. Aims of Study 3 3. Scope of Study 3 4. Research Method and Data 4 Part B: DEVELOPMENT 5 Chapter I: THEORETICAL BACKGROUND 5 I.1. Translation 5 I.1.1. Definition of Translation 5 I.1.2. Types of Translation 6 a. Technical Translation 6 b. Form-based and Meaning-based translation 7 I.2. Translation Equivalence 8 I.3. Translation Quality Assessment 11 I.3.1. Definition of Translation Quality Assessment 11 I.3.2. Aspects of Translation Quality Assessment 12 I.3.3. Steps in Translation Quality Assessment 12 I.4. Technical Language 13 I.4.1. Terminology 14 I.4.2. Information Technology Terms 15 a. Single terms 15 b. Compound terms 16 I.4.3. Application Software Terms 16 I.4.4. Financial and Accounting terms 17 I.5. Summary of Chapter's Findings 17 Chapter II: SOURCE -TEXT ANALYSIS 18 II.1. The author's Purpose 18 II.2. Characteristic of the Readership 18 II.3. The Topic 19 II.4. Language Qualities of Source Text 19 II.4.1. Features of SL Terms 20 a. Sub-technical terms 21 b. Highly technical terms 22 Single terms 23 Single terms as nouns, verbs and past participles 23 Single terms as acronyms 25 Compound terms 25 Compound terms as noun phrases 26 Compound terms as verb phrases 28 II.4.2. Application Messeges 29 II.5. Summary of Chapter's Findings 29 Chapter III: COMPARISON OF THE TRANSLATION WITH THE ORIGINAL 32 III.1. The Translation of The Topic 33 III.2. The Translation of Terms 34 III.2.1. Sub-technical Terms 34 III.2.2. Highly Technical Terms 35 Single terms 35 Single terms as nouns, verbs and past participles 36 Single terms as acronyms 38 Compound terms 38 The translation of Noun phrases 39 The translation of Verb phrases 40 III.2.3. The Translation of Application Messeges 41 III.3. The Evaluation of the Translation 42 III.4. Sumary of Chapter's Findings 44 Part C: CONCLUSION 45 1. Issues addressed in the study 45 2. Suggestions for further study 46 REFERENCES APPENDIX 1. Screenshot of Enterprise Complete Business Application Suite 2. Screenshot of example form of US F&A Application Software 3. Term Type Classification DECLARATION I declare that this MA Thesis, entitled A Translation Quality Assessment of The Vietnamese Version of US Financial & Accounting Application, is entirely the result of my own work. The thesis contains no material which has been accepted for the award of any other degree or diploma in any university or tertiary institution, and to the best of my knowledge, neither does it contain material previously published or written by another person, except where due acknowledgement is made in the text. Signature Tran Thi Cam Tu DEABSTRACT This study investigates translation quality assessment of the Vietnamese version of US Financial and Accounting application software translated by the pool of 20 translators coming from VNLocalize, a big localization company in Vietnam with its head office in Hanoi. The introduction gives a rationale for the study and sets up aims, scope and methods of the study. Chapter I present the study’s theoretical background. It introduces the issues relevant to the study including translation, translation equivalence, translation quality assessment, technical language and terminology. Chapter II analyzes the source language text with focus on the pragmatic accuracy, or in other word the accuracy of meaning in context, of the US F& A application software. The emphasis of the analysis will be on terminology meaning accuracy. Part of the analysis will also deal with form of the SL text. The main group of terms will be divided according to their meaning and the sub group of terms will be divided according to their form. Chapter III compares the original text with the translation and explores how the translation has solved issues in the original text based on mostly the meaning and partly the form aspects of the original text and then evaluation of the translation will be stated. The conclusion summarizes the issues addressed in the study and gives suggestions for further study. ACKNOWLEGEMENTS On the completion of this thesis, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Hung Tien for transferring me his specialized knowledge in translation, his inspiring me the love in translation studies as well as his valuable suggestions, advice and correction during my writing up the thesis. I also wish to express my sincere thanks to my friend, Van Thi Thanh Binh M.A. and Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, post-graduate student for their insightful comments and suggestions. I also take this opportunity to thank all my lecturers in the Post Graduate Department at College of Foreign Language, Vietnam National University, Hanoi for many of their interesting lectures, which have surely contributed to the foundation of my thesis. I owe my debt of gratitude to my big managers Bettina Richard and Jeewon Kim from Oracle Worldwide Product Translation Group (WPTG) who encouraged me to continue my MA study after my accident by giving me favorable working condition. Finally, I would like to show my deep gratitude to my parents, my son and my sister for their support, encouragement and understanding and even my father's pushing, without which my thesis would not have been accomplished. Hanoi, March, 2008 Tran Thi Cam Tu ABBREVIATIONS SL: Source Language TL: Target Language F& A: Finance and Accounting UI: User Interface IT: Information Technology N: Noun GL: General Ledger PART A: INTRODUCTION Translating US F&A terms in application software into Vietnamese is in big need at the moment as there are numerous IT companies who are implementing the localization of US F&A software for both public sector like the Ministry of Finance and private one covering many enterprises. FPT, for example, a famous IT company with thousands of employees can only take responsibility for a small portion of the translation. In addition, many of the terms here are used in the F&A world which is a very hot industry in Vietnam at the moment, with the mushrooming participation of many foreign and domestic banks, financial organizations etc. However, it is quite a challenging task as the size of the translation is very big and the big volume of terminologies both in information technology and in finance and accounting also causes a lot of difficulties. Another reason is that localization, which means the translation of software products, is quite a new industry in Vietnam with very few translation companies operating in the field. This new industry also implies another difficulty for the translators, which is the fact that many terms are new to the target language. In such cases, we need to invent terminology in the translation for complex business flows that are mostly a new concept. To verify the huge scope and complexity of the translation project, I would like to have a brief introduction about what US financial and accounting software is. Looking at the graph in Appendix 1, we can see financial and accounting software is one software among many other software that enterprises use such as Human Resource, Resource Planning, Purchasing etc to boost the process of their business activities by replacing the previous manual process with modern IT process now. The form (screen) in Appendix 2 will describe part of the automatic payment process we can use with the financial and accounting application software. Before now, there have been researches about Translation Quality Assessment like the study by Julian House, Amos, Postgate, Newmark. However, no researches about Translation Quality Assessment for Software Translation have been done, according to the researcher’s best knowledge from the finding in different sources like professional translation web sites like translationjournal.com or other local sources. Even, it is very difficult to find document about language quality of software language, which is a very challenging domain covering a huge number of terminologies in different industries like IT, finance and accounting. The general approach of the study is to research translation quality assessment for US F&A accounting application software, finding out what are the language qualities of the source text with specialization in computing and F&A terminology, comparing the translation with the source text to decide how the translation have solved issues in the source text and an evaluation of the translation will be made. 1. REASONS FOR CHOOSING THE TOPIC The first reason that makes me to propose for the research is that few researchers have done about translation quality assessment. In addition, as mentioned in the introduction, no researches about Translation Quality Assessment for Software Translation has been done, according to the researcher’s knowledge from the finding in different sources like professional translation web sites like translationjournal.com or other local sources. With investigation on qualities employed in the source text of US F&A application, the researcher hopes to bring about clearer view on the nature of a technical text, which will result in better translation. Secondly, the researcher hopes that this study will be of some help to language reviewers, especially the reviewers for application software translation, which is very challenging task because application software is a new industry in Vietnam and the application software translation is even a newer industry with a huge bulk of terminologies of different specialized fields. Finally, I choose to write about Translation Criticism because I am now working as a language specialist for a global software translation organization with the main responsibility to do translation review and give feedback to the translators about the errors they encounter. Therefore, I especially enjoy the topic. 2. AIMS OF STUDY The study covers the following aims: a. To discover what language qualities the SL text of US F&A application software has based on the language qualities of a technical language text b. To assess the translation quality of the translated version of US F&A application software, in terms of the aspects discovered from theories raised by different scholars including Julian House; Peter Newmark; Baker, M., yet he translation quality assessment will be mainly based on the theory of Newmark in A Textbook of Translation (1988). c. To provide a translation quality assessment tool, especially in technical translation, for translation teachers and students, technical translation editors/reviewers in general and software translation editors/reviewers in particular. 3. SCOPE OF STUDY The object of the study is Translation Quality Assessment of the US F&A application software conducted mainly based on the approach proposed by Newmark in A Textbook of Translation (1988). Yet, due to the limited time and length of the thesis, the researcher only focuses on three steps: (1) the source text analysis, emphasizing on its language quality, which has the characteristic of technical language; (2) comparing the translation with the original based on the qualities found in step (1); and (3) the evaluation of the translation. Therefore, this should be treated as a pilot research project. If time and the scope allow, a longer and more detailed research would be conducted, viewing the SL text and the translation comparison from more different language peculiars. Other focus of the study is technical language, software language and terminology covering finance, accounting and IT terms. Research questions: a. What are the qualities of SL text in US F&A application software? b. What are the main problems in translation and how have the translators dealt with them? c. What should be included in the evaluation of the translation? 4. RESEARCH METHOD AND DATA A combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods is used in this study. The qualitative research is used to analyze the characteristics of the source text and how the translation has solved the issues in SL text. The analysis of the source text will be based on the theoretical backgrounds on translation concepts, translation equivalence, technical language, terminology and most important of all is translation quality assessment following Newmark's approach (1988) on Translation Criticism in A Textbook of Translation. Quantitative method is used to count percentage of appearance of each group of terminology, percentage of translation errors compared to the correct translation. The data for the study will be taken from 15 forms (screens) of the F& A application software and their corresponding forms in the translation. PART B: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER I: THEORETICAL BACKGROUND I.1. Translation How do we know when a translation is good? This simple question lies at the heart of all concerns with translation criticism. But not only that, in trying to assess the quality of a translation, one also addresses the heart of any theory of translation, i.e., the crucial question of the nature of translation or, more specifically, the nature of the relationship between a source text and its translation text. From this viewpoint, we can see that translation quality assessment touches a lot of areas, the nature of a good translation, the nature of relationship between a source text and the translation text, which in other words can be called translation equivalence and of cause the central issue would be translation quality assessment. To understand the theoretical background for these issues in translation quality assessment, the researcher would introduce literature review of translation, translation equivalence, and translation quality assessment, and technical language. Especially, due to the fact that there is a huge volume of terms in the SL text, then a part of theoretical background is to deal with terminology. I.1.1 Definition of translation In Stolze's view, a 'good' translation can only come about when the translator identifies him/herself fully with the text to be translated. In Approaches to Translation, Newmark (1982, p7) states "Translation is a craft consisting in the attempt to replace a written message and/or statement in one language by the same message and/or statement in another language". Followings are the definitions presented in What is translation and how does it work? retrieved from According to Bell, R.T (1991, p5), "Translation is the expression in another language (or TL) of what has been expressed in another, SL, preserving semantic and stylistic equivalence'. Translation is the procedure which leads from a written SL text to an optimally equivalent TL text, and which requires the syntactic, semantic, stylistic and text pragmatic comprehension by the translator of the original text. (Wilss, 1982) Translation is the replacement of a representation of a text in one language by a representation of another equivalent in a second language. (Hartman & Stock, 1972) Translation consists in reproducing in the receptor language the closest natural equivalent of the source language message, first in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style. (Nida & Taber, 1974) It is observed that the above definitions by different scholars in different times include the two significant factors: the qualities of the original text covering meaning, style, syntactic and pragmatic issues and the equivalence in the translation. I.1.2. Types of Translation This part will introduce three types of translation; namely technical translation, meaning-based and form-based translation; which are closely related to the translation of SL text presented in this thesis. a. Technical translation Newmark (1991, p151) as cited in Yen, V. T. T. (2007), in an attempt to distinguish technical translation from institutional translation, claims that technical translation is one part of specialized translation, potentially non-cultural, therefore, universal. According to Sofer (1991, cited in Thuy, V.T.T. 2003), the translation of a text may be called technical when it requires specialized terms in a particular field. Newmark (1995, p152) suggests that there are three varieties or levels of technical language: (a) academic style associated with academic papers, (2) professional style which refers to formal terms used by experts and (3) the popular one including familiar alternative terms. According to Thuy, V. T. T. (2005), a significant problem in technical translation is the distinction between technical and descriptive terms. The original SL writer may use a descriptive term for a technical object for three reasons (1) the object is new and has not got a name; (2) the descriptive term is being used as a familiar alternative, to avoid repetition; (3) the descriptive term is being used to make a contrast with another one. According to Newmark, where a SL technical term has no known TL equivalent, a descriptive term should be used. b. Form-based and Meaning-based translation Treatments of the two text properties, form and meaning, is the main distinction between the two main types of translations: the form-based and the meaning-based ones (Larson, 1984, cited by Binh, V.T.T.). Form-based translations, known as literal translations, attempt to follow the form of the source language text. Meaning-based translations, or idiomatic translations, make every effort to communicate to text receivers the meaning of the source language text in the natural forms of the target language (Larson, 1984). In practice, translation is a mixture of a literal transfer of the grammatical units a long with some idiomatic translation of the meaning of the text. Larson gives more details of these two types of translation in the following part: Translation is basically a change of form. When we speak the form of a language, we are referring to the actual words, phrases, clauses, sentences or paragraphs, which are spoken or written. Translation consists of transferring the meaning of the source language into the receptor language. This is done by going from the form of the first language to the form of a second language by way of semantic structure. It is the meaning which is being transferred and must be held constant, only the form changes. Translation, then, consists of studying the lexicon, grammatical structure, communication situation and cultural context of the source language text, analyzing it in order to determine its meaning, and then reconstructing this same meaning using the lexicon and grammatical structure which are appropriate in the receptor language and its cultural context. With regard to meaning, Larson states that most words have more than one meaning. There will be a primary meaning – the one which usually comes to mind when the word is said in isolation and secondary meanings – the additional meanings which a word has in context with other words. I.2. Translation Equivalence From the definitions of translations by different scholars, it is clear that equivalence is the central issue in translation studies. Andrew Chesterman, in "Readings in Translation Theories" (p100), describes that there are "various categories of equivalence that have b