Views: 5427|Replies: 8

Precision: The Ultimate Goal of Translation [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 4

Post time 2005-9-9 22:09:48 |Display all floors
I think it is every translator's dream that they can make beautiful translation which carries the exact meaning of the original piece...yet many cannot achieve such goal.

What are the reasons behind the many fallen attempts at creating a precise and beautiful translation? In my humble opinion, the reasons are two-folded.

First of all, many of the translators, when given a piece to work on, have limited knowledges on the tradition and history of the Western culture. For example, if I say:" Sara is Salome.", can most of the translator get the meaning of such sentence? Without any knowledge of the Holy Bible, you cannot correctly translate it. Salome is a mythical character in the Bible. She is a very attractive dancer who seduced the King and made him cut off the head of a Jewish prophet. So only if you have read the Bible before, you would know the sentence means that Sara is a very enchanting lady.

Second of all, many  of the translator likes to substitute their own words when attempting translation.  But is it necessary to do so? Would you not agree that the author is a much better writer than you? And what you are doing actually damage the original flavor of the piece? If so it happens, that your understanding of the meaning is incorrect, will the piece not just lose its meaning, but also it is possible for it to mean completely the opposite? For example, Nietszche's piece "Beyond Good and Evil: A Prelude to the Philosophy of the Future" has been translated into "善与恶的彼岸", but is it what Nietszche really mean? Is the book really about a place where there is no Good or Evil? Actually we have to emphasize on the word Beyond. What he really means is that he wish to discuss is what give us the idea of Good and Evil, and the subtitle indicate that the books is about the neccessary move you have to make before you are eligible to even attempt the philosophy of the future. So the most correct translation should be: "超越善与恶:未来哲学的一段前奏". So before we are attempting a piece, make sure we understand it well so that the meaning will not lost in the translation.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2005-9-9 23:09:31 |Display all floors

well said, Yawg!

There are lots of misinterpretations in translation. Some are terribly misleading, as you mentioned of some culture loaded words. such translators do need a good mastery of English cultures.Literature translation is quite different from some scientific translations. It is said that translators are both  generalists  and professionals.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2005-9-12 15:06:46 |Display all floors

hoho

in my humble opinions...Philosophy Books need to be translated by philosophers...and English Literatures such as Hamlet and Harry Potter need to be translated by Translator who majored in English Literature. So that the meaning do not get lost in the translation process.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2005-9-12 15:50:24 |Display all floors

to yawgmotha

what you said was well applicable to translators a decade ago. But now with internet and google, EVERYTHING is possible!

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2005-9-12 17:03:46 |Display all floors

hehehe

Still applicable right now...

I remember the Book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix was first translated into 哈利波特和凤凰令...but anyone who have some basic knowledge about history would have know the word Order is often used to mean a organization such as the Order of the Knights of the Jerusalem Temple(耶路撒冷圣殿骑士团), Order of the Teutonic Knights. (条顿骑士团), etc...

So what we are looking for in a translator is professionalism. Sadly, the many literature I read these days...I cannot sense any sort of profesionalism... From world-renowned novels to simple sports interviews...many of the translators are merely good at English...yet have no knowledge about the subjects which the piece is focused on.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2005-9-12 17:26:51 |Display all floors

supply and demand

Hello.  I agree with you, but I think the real question that needs to be asked is how many professionals out there are fluent in two or more languages, and have an in-depth knowledge of those cultures, and also expert in their field, not to mention must be willing to work as a translator.  In US, court translator, which translate verbally make over $40 US dollar per hour.  And those translators are not professional, since many of them do not have college degree.  So how much do you think you will have to pay a doctor that is fluent in both English and Chinese, and understand both cultures to translate medical literature?  Also translation take time, so the translator must be patient, and I think it would be hard to find a translator who fit all those criterias.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2005-9-12 17:42:21 |Display all floors

get to know the procedure of translation

if someone want to put a finger on the translation today, he is strongly suggested to know more about the procedure, time-limitation, unit price and something else of translation.

Use magic tools Report

You can't reply post until you log in Log in | register

BACK TO THE TOP
Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email: blog@chinadaily.com.cn
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.