How should I get a lengthy Hungarian testimony transcribed/translated?
September 26, 2016 7:14 PM   Subscribe

I've ordered a copy of my relative's Holocaust testimony on DVD. It's about five hours long, and it's in Hungarian - a language I don't speak. I want to have it transcribed, and I'd like to get at least an informal written or oral translation. What's the smartest way to do this, and would an informal translation be much cheaper than a "proper" one?
posted by Joe in Australia to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
Semi verbatim English language transcription runs me about $1.25 per min in the States for a point of reference.

You'd likely need it transcribed in Hungarian then transacted to English.
posted by tilde at 7:26 PM on September 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do you think it would be of any wider interest? Maybe you could look into crowdfunding?
posted by dilaudid at 7:32 PM on September 26, 2016

It might be of wider interest; she was part of a group of Jews diverted from Auschwitz to be used as slave laborers in Austria. I'm not aware of any public treatment of her group specifically, or even any general acknowledgement that there was a concentration camp there. So thanks, that's a good idea and it would relieve some of the burden!
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:59 PM on September 26, 2016

You should address a query to the USC Shoah Foundation. They may do it for free as part of their work, or know of opportunities with other groups that may do this for you.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:17 PM on September 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has an active interest in, and a collection of, survivor testimonies. They might be interested in having this recording and I imagine they have connections to both transcription and translation resources.
posted by jackbishop at 8:34 PM on September 26, 2016 [5 favorites]

Fyi it will be more expensive than that in Australia. If you want professional, SBS offer many language translation services, though I can't speak specifically to Hungarian. Good luck in your search, Joe.
posted by smoke at 10:52 PM on September 26, 2016

You can find transcribers and translators on which is a reputable site (there are many that aren't, but I have personal experience of this one from the transcriber and editor side). But do explore the other options first as it will likely be expensive. For something so important, if you do need to pay to have it done, I'd suggest you pay for a qualified translator, to honour the material with the best possible quality.

Best of luck!
posted by LyzzyBee at 11:35 PM on September 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Once you get a teanscription into Hungarian, you can use a service like Textmaster to farm it out to a translator. I haven't checked the rates recently but my memory is that they run in the 10 cent to 26 cent per word range.
posted by zippy at 2:14 AM on September 27, 2016

I personally would not recommend a bulk service like TextMaster for something like this. There are bound to be a lot of time-specific and cultural references that the average translator simply would not know (and will not be motivated to research properly given the low pay). Proz is different as it allows you to deal with individual translators. However I think the best route would be to ask places like the Holocaust Memorial Museum for recommendations (assuming that they don't offer to take care of the whole thing for you, which would be even better).

I would go for an experienced translator with subject matter expertise, incidentally, even if it cost a bit more. This isn't the sort of material a translator can fake, and since this is clearly important to you you really want to make sure you are reading an accurate translation of what your relative said. (But then, I am a translator, so I would say that.)
posted by No-sword at 2:44 AM on September 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

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