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Poll: Do you accept to translate handwritten documents?
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 14:32
PERSONAL DEL SITIO
Feb 7, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you accept to translate handwritten documents?".

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neilmac
España
Local time: 23:32
Miembro 2007
español al inglés
+ ...
No Feb 7, 2012

And never have done, to the best of my knowledge. I live in 21st century Europe so don't normally get asked to deal with paper, parchment or palimpsest.
Seriously, I can't imagine a situation where I would be asked to, and if it ever did happen, my decision to accept it or not would follow my usual criteria.


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Federación Rusa
Local time: 01:32
inglés al ruso
+ ...
Why not? Feb 7, 2012

Why not if they are readable and well paid?

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B D Finch  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 23:32
Miembro 2006
francés al inglés
+ ...
A dying art Feb 7, 2012

I have only been asked a couple of times to translate a handwritten document. As the handwriting was clear, this was no problem and it was refreshing to see that the art of handwriting is not completely dead. On the other hand, were my doctor to ask me to translate anything she had written by hand, I would politely decline.

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André Linsen
Local time: 23:32
francés al neerlandés
+ ...
Sometimes inevitable Feb 7, 2012

Even nowadays, one sometimes has to translate handwritten documents (birth certificates, testament, ....) or statements (personal declaration for legal investigations, ... ). Not the whole world has computers (or typewriters) at their disposal all of the time (or know how to use them ), and not all documents in need of translation are very recent!

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 14:32
Miembro 2003
español al inglés
+ ...
No Feb 7, 2012

I answered "it depends," but when I think about it, I have almost always said "no' or had to give up in mid-stream. Examples of giving up:

I remember attempting to translate about 30 pages of physician's notes. So much of it was illegible that I couldn't make sense of the rest. The client knew this could be a problem. I did about one-third of it but had to give up on the rest. I was paid for the part that I did.

In another case, about 30 years ago, I was asked to translate a letter in Portuguese directed to Thomas Jefferson through his ambassador in Portugal. It was quite faded, and of course back then spelling and even language usage were different. It was about 10 pages long, if I recall correctly. Again, I got through about one-third of it but had to tell the client it would have taken me too much time to figure out the rest.

I try to stick to work that's of interest to a wide audience, rather than a single individual, and most of that work is set it some kind of type.

[Edited at 2012-02-07 09:07 GMT]


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
Reino Unido
Local time: 22:32
Miembro
alemán al inglés
+ ...
On occasions Feb 7, 2012

In fifteen-odd years I've only translated a handful of hand-written documents. But I don't reject them on principle, they just rarely come up. From memory, those that I have done have been more interesting and personal than the average operating manual. For example, I think I did some love letters from someone's grandfather to her grandma during the War, which was quite moving. Not a characteristic one can usually assign to translation projects!

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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:32
Miembro 2006
neerlandés al inglés
+ ...
Yes Feb 7, 2012

A major area I work in is medical translation and in that field I frequently translate hand-written documents with varying levels of legibility.

Oh, almost forgot and I once translated a bunch of Dutch student essays on Ancient Greek for a student competition

[Edited at 2012-02-07 09:22 GMT]


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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
Reino Unido
Local time: 22:32
inglés al francés
+ ...
yes Feb 7, 2012

it's very rare but they are still some birth certificates which are handwritten or the occasional letter handwritten by an older person - a dying art indeed

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Valeria_Premoli
Local time: 23:32
inglés al italiano
+ ...
It depends... Feb 7, 2012

...but if they are well readable it's ok.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:32
Miembro 2006
francés al inglés
+ ...
Exam papers Feb 7, 2012

Yes, occasionally, but I don't like doing it.
I recently had a bunch of handwritten exam answers to translate - quite modern ones, too. It was an arduous task as some of the students' handwriting was illegible or their answers were full of crossings-out, insertions, etc.
I'd normally refuse illegible jobs, but this was for a good client who urgently needed the job done between Christmas and New Year when I wasn't too busy.
Jenny


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
España
Local time: 23:32
español al inglés
+ ...
No Feb 7, 2012

I've never been asked to translate anything handwritten. It sounds very time consuming.

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 23:32
inglés al francés
+ ...
Depends Feb 7, 2012

Some official documents (birth certificates, etc.) often have at least some handwritten text. I usually need a second pair of eyes to check what I can only guess though.
A long time ago, I did a short text that was typed with handwriting in between the lines... a nightmare. However, I was also a teacher in those days and more used to decipher handwriting.


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Melanie Nassar  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 00:32
Miembro 2012
alemán al inglés
+ ...
medical reports Feb 7, 2012

I occasionally get handwritten medical texts such as sheets from a patient file or accident reports.
In addition to the inevitable medical "shorthand" that may not comply with standard medical abbreviations used in final reports, you have to deal with a doctor's handwriting, which is notoriously bad.
The good thing is that it is sometimes easy to anticipate what should be there; still I have to warn the client that not everything is legible.


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
Reino Unido
Local time: 22:32
Miembro 2009
español al inglés
Old manuscripts Feb 7, 2012

Last year I translated two Spanish Inquisition manuscripts handwritten in around 1610, records of the trials of various Basque Country "witches". It took some getting used to, not least because spelling conventions were different and more variable than they are now, but it was surprisingly easy to read once I had learned the differences.

Handwritten letters come along once in a while too.


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