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Translation Problems
(14 Messages in 2 pages - View all)
[1] 2
1.       Abla
3647 posts
 30 Jan 2012 Mon 01:35 pm

The question of literal translating has risen up in TC many times. That’s why I thought it might be useful to discuss these things here. So many of us make a performance in the Translation Section anyway, with more or less success.  -   Well, at least one with my language background shouldn’t interfere at all:

Quote:http://www.translationsforprogress.org/translatorsguide.php

Always translate into your native language unless you are near native or bilingual in the second language. Even then, bear in mind that most professionals translate only into their native language.

 

The so called literal translation is often the wrong translation or no translation. The main thing is to convey the right meaning and style which often means abandoning the original sentence structure. A good translation is one that brings about the same effect in the reader as the original text would have brought about in the speaker of that language. To be exact, even correcting the writer´s errors more than necessary is making the translation worse.

Quote:the same address

A literal word for word rendering of the text is not really a translation. You should always strive not only to convey meaning as precisely as possible, but also tone, and to make sure the translation reads well. Don’t be afraid to rearrange or rebuild sentences – well-expressed ideas are far more important than consistent grammar. This is an art form, there is always room for improvement (and debate!).

 

If we use literal translations here it’s for the purpose of learning the language. And after all, we have the nicest customers who know that sending their texts here they have to accept their destiny, the good and the bad of it.

2.       Faruk
1607 posts
 30 Jan 2012 Mon 07:42 pm

"A literal word for word rendering of the text is not really a translation."

 

I strongly agree. The meaning of the text must be translated, not words.

 

Thank you for sharing that Abla

3.       Abla
3647 posts
 30 Jan 2012 Mon 08:16 pm

I see you got my point, Faruk. The pair of words "literal translation" has too good a reputation here. People apologize if the translation is not literal. And it shouldn´t be. It should be meaningful instead. Literal is bad. (Ok, sometimes I myself ask for a literal one in order to see where the meaning came from but that´s another thing.)

4.       scalpel
1472 posts
 30 Jan 2012 Mon 10:13 pm

 

Quoting Abla

 Literal is bad. 

 

Yes, it is bad.. even when it is understandable.. I read many translations here E to T done by Turkish natives, and even though they were correct (!) they had somehow an alien quality.. every language, like a song, has its own melody and rhythm.. if a translation doesn´t catch the melody and the rhythm of the target language, it is simply bad.. (like all my translations T to E Smile   



Edited (1/30/2012) by scalpel

5.       Henry
2604 posts
 31 Jan 2012 Tue 07:05 am

I agree that a person who really understands both languages has the best chance of making a successful translation, which keeps the intended ´feel´ as well as the meaning. Learners can generally only cope with basic sentences. When punctuation is missing, words are misspelt, and abbreviations used, the non-native speakers will struggle. If a sentence, or even worse a group of isolated words, has no context then the chance of a correct translation is reduced.

Even for native speakers, especially in English, the same word can have different meanings. In Australia the word ´thongs´ (Türkçe-sandalet gibi, tokyo terlik?) means ´rubber sandals´. In America ´thong´ means ´a very brief style of underwear´ often worn by women. In New Zealand they use the word ´jandals´ for this footwear. The origin of this word was from abbreviating ´japanese sandals´. "Flip-flops" is also used in other English speaking countries. ´No thongs allowed´ is a sign that is often seen in Australian Clubs, and it always causes amusement to American visitors.



Edited (1/31/2012) by Henry [added my attempted Turkish meaning for thong]

6.       Abla
3647 posts
 31 Jan 2012 Tue 12:48 pm

Quote:Henry

When punctuation is missing, words are misspelt, and abbreviations used, the non-native speakers will struggle.

 

But don´t you think, Henry, that it´s also good practice to solve these puzzles? The phonetics and morphology of every language has its limits and seeing misspelled words somehow tests your ability to determine these limits. For me, the most difficult thing in these careless texts is lack of full stops. I mean, I can usually guess what napıyor means or I can tell for sure there is no such word as şimndi or ozel but deciding where the sentence ends and another one starts is very difficult sometimes.

7.       Henry
2604 posts
 31 Jan 2012 Tue 02:05 pm

 

Quoting Abla

But don´t you think, Henry, that it´s also good practice to solve these puzzles? The phonetics and morphology of every language has its limits and seeing misspelled words somehow tests your ability to determine these limits. For me, the most difficult thing in these careless texts is lack of full stops. I mean, I can usually guess what napıyor means or I can tell for sure there is no such word as şimndi or ozel but deciding where the sentence ends and another one starts is very difficult sometimes.

 

Yes, some of us ´enjoy´ the challenge of testing our knowledge. But we can only progress if a native speaker confirms our translation, or corrects our errors. I agree that lack of full stops makes the learner´s task much harder in many cases. Poetry and lyric translation are often the hardest for conveying the same feel.

Even my knowledgeable Turkish teachers in Australia often struggle with precise translations, because they are teachers and not professional translators. Some experts spend their lifetime translating manuscripts. I just want to learn for communication, and so that we can understand each other hopefully. {#emotions_dlg.bigsmile} 

 

8.       gokuyum
5049 posts
 01 Feb 2012 Wed 06:33 am

But you forget this point: There are people here learning Turkish and they observe the translations and come to conclusions about some grammer issues and sometimes a very non-literal translation  misleads them. So I try to be literal as much as I can and if my translation is not very literal I mention it.

 

Of course we cant completely translate a text literally. But I always try to find a way that will make leraners and others happy. I try to find a balance.

sashk and Henry liked this message
9.       scalpel
1472 posts
 01 Feb 2012 Wed 01:46 pm

Literalist gokuyum .. I am gestaltist.. "the whole is other than the sum of the parts"* .. I believe in the deductive method of teaching a language.. that´s the way little kids learn their native language.. I remember back to my days in high school the Turkish grammar lessons were the worst of all and almost we all hated it.. even today I cannot answer most of the grammar questions without checking my books or other sources.. shame on me!  well.. our students are all adults and sometimes being literal and talking about grammar may help them.. but not always, I think.. 

 

*Kurt Koffka

10.       Abla
3647 posts
 01 Feb 2012 Wed 03:10 pm

Unfortunately you learn a language like a child only once in your life. Later, in order to learn you have to shoot the target from every direction. An adult learner usually tries to connect the new things with the old and use whatever ready schemes he has in his head. But I still believe it is important to throw oneself to the flow of language sometimes with no worries. (Because the child is still there, it didn´t go anywhere.)

I trust grammar. I guess it has become obvious. If the house was on fire I would try to save a few books. One just has to understand there is no such grammar which will explain everything thoroughly. A grammar is rather a commentary than the final truth.

I understand what gokuyum means. We cannot be too artistic here on TC because our first aim is to learn the language. But from the other side, discussing things which can´t be translated t-e or e-t word by word also takes us close to very important facts about both languages.

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