4 Steps in Reviewing Your Translation
of a Buddhist Sacred Text from Chinese to English:
- Read over your work for the second, third, or more times. However, immediately after you finish translating may not be most helpful. Give it a day to a week, and after more meditating, before you re-read your draft translation. You will have changes you will want to make.
- The more eyes to review your draft translation the better. Get different people with different talents or expertise to review the piece for content accuracy against the original, to review terminology or a linguistic aspect, to review for basic understanding as if the person were new to Buddhism, for instance, and of course to review for grammar, syntax etc. later during the editing and proofreading stage. If you are translating the text from start to finish on your own, you can still have different people read your work and provide their opinions. You will also want to personally assume different roles in reviewing your translation. For example, a week after my initial translation, I will review it for terminology only. Another week later, I will review for accuracy against the original. And another week later, something else. It will be more time-consuming for you to personally review the various aspects of your translation, but you can always be working on another translation at a different stage during this text’s pause and revisit period. Removing yourself from your writing for a while, only to return as if you were reading your draft for the first time offers the repeat readings fresh and refreshed perspectives.
- Instead of floating through this review stage, you will want to dig deep into each issue that you noted during the draft stage or that you notice now. Clear all the brambles of possible objections, challenges, counter-arguments for your completed translation, especially if the text you are translating is more intellectual or academic rather than poetic or melodic, such as a treatise instead of a sutra with lots of verses.
- References and notes. Cite other works as appropriate. Footnotes and endnotes to explain certain minor points may interrupt the flow of this translation but add if you find them important.