Note: this article was originally posted in January 2015
What can be done when an adaptation comes out sounding far less than fluent?
Some people do a second editorial pass through the document, using the Free Translation Mode feature. Free Translation Mode is an item on the Advanced menu. Choosing it turns it On, and the display will change so you can enter free translations into a text box at the top of the window. Adapt It will automatically ‘section’ the text into chunks which you can then translate as you see fit. Background colouring is used to help you keep track of which section of the text you are currently working on.
In free translation mode, there is no constraint on the kinds of editing that can be done. Syntactic changes can be made, words changed, added or removed, whatever is needed for achieving ‘clear, accurate, and natural’ text.
To get the most out of this, the following settings will help considerably. The first definitely should be chosen. The second depends on whether you want to edit larger chunks (up to verse size), or smaller chunks (up to where the next punctuation is located). Here are the settings; turn them on before you click Free Translation Mode:
1) Advanced menu > Use Target Text As Default Free Translation
2) Show the Administrator menu (see the command at the bottom of the View menu, the password you need is admin) and click the command Force Free Translation Sectioning By Verse.
Then work through the document, section by section. Adapt It will automatically store and retain your free translations. (If you have Collaborate with Paratext turned on, you can add to Paratext a project to accept your free translations at each File > Save done in Adapt It. This kind of thing is discussed in other blog entries.)
To get your free translations, which are now idiomatic and clear translations of the source text, out of Adapt It (assuming you are not in Collaborate mode, there is no need to do this if you are in Collaborate mode), open the Export-Import menu, and click Export Free Translation… item. The USFM mark up will be automatically restored to the translation text as well, as is also the case when transferring the text to Paratext or Bibledit when in Collaborate mode.
In case you have forgotten, when not in free translation mode you can still access them by clicking the little wedge icons shown over the source text in the main window. A dialog opens showing the free translation. The free translation is fully editable in that dialog too.