A couple of weeks ago I did an urgent job for a valued client (25k in 10 days). This consisted mainly of PowerPoint presentations in Spanish, but also included in a couple of the files were presenter’s notes – in Catalan. By the time I encountered these, it was the weekend, and the job was due back on the Monday, so there was no question of raising it with the client.
Fortunately, Google translate came to the rescue. (Words you won’t often hear a professional translator uttering.) In my experience, Google translate is okay for gisting (while making the occasional hideous mistake) but its output is a very long way from being presentable, even as a rough draft. However, I wondered if it could be used to turn my Catalan source text into a Spanish source text. I put my source text through Google translate and was pleasantly surprised to find that it produced fairly passable Spanish, which I could then translate into English (checking back against the source, of course, for accuracy) and ironing out any imperfections as I went.
I guess this reflects the relative similarity of Spanish and Catalan, and the fact that ‘business’ Catalan is bound to be strongly influenced by the vocabulary, structures and conventions of Spanish.