Misconceptions about translation debunked slavistix.pdf
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CONFUSED ABOUT TRANSLATIONS? HOPEFULLYTHIS SHORT PRESENTATION WILL CLEAR THINGS UP!
MISCONCEPTION #1: ANYONE WHO SPEAKS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE CAN BE A TRANSLATOR A translator must have in-depth knowledge of at least two languages: a foreign language and a mother tongue. So the above statement must be true?! But it is not. Translating is a skill. Some even consider it as a form of art. You must be able to write well and have a great command of the nuances in both languages. Spoken language is very different from written language, so just because you are able to have a conversation in a certain language, doesn’t mean you are able to write in that language.
MISCONCEPTION #2: TRANSLATING IS EASY It is actually very hard. Translation can be very complicated work. Having to concentrate on two different texts at the same time is a mentally grueling task. This is because a translator is continuously moving between two languages. A translator must first read and register source information then manage to digest it and present it accurately in the target language. It means having an excellent vocabulary, focusing on and converting intention, tone, figures of speech, phrases, and the like all at the same time.
THIS ONE IS TRUE: IT IS BAD BUSINESS TO GET LOST IN TRANSLATION
JUST TWO LETTERS THAT MAKE THE DIFFERENCE Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations. Instead of “reset” (перезагрузка – perezagruzka) the word on the box meant “overcharge” (перегрузка – peregruzka). We are glad both of them could laugh about it, but this simple example indicates why it is so important to hire professional translators to avoid misunderstandings.
MISCONCEPTION #3: TRANSLATIONS CAN BE DONE BY COMPUTER Absolutely. Absolutely wrong! There are so many factors to take into consideration in a translation that a machine can miss such as grammar, punctuation, style, consistency, cultural variances. The translation tools presently available are only able to translate a sentence word for word. Since they cannot understand context, they cannot distinguish between different meanings of the same word. In addition, they simply copy the word order of the source language, which often leads to very awkward, even unintelligible sentences in the target language.
MISCONCEPTION #4: TRANSLATORS CAN ALSO INTERPRET Maybe they can, but interpreting and translation are different jobs with very different skills involved. Interpreting involves being very quick on your feet to be able to render messages from one language into another immediately. Translation on the other hand is written, and translators have many resources and tools that they can use. Interpreters need to have all their research done before hand, be quick, alert, and have a great memory. A rule to remember: a translator works with the written word. An interpreter handles the spoken word.
MISCONCEPTION #5:THERE IS ONLY ONE POSSIBLE TRANSLATION FOR EVERY TEXT Language is not an exact science: there never is just one correct answer or one way to translate a text. Ideas and thoughts can be phrased in different ways. Ask a hundred translators to translate the same paragraph and you will get a hundred different translations which are all correct. But! Some translations may be more appropriate for the context and the target audience than others, which is why it is important to hire a professional translator who is familiar with the context and target audience.
A SUMMARY OF THE MISCONCEPTIONS Misconception #1: Anyone who speaks a foreign language can be a translator. Wrong! You must be able to write well and have a great command of the nuances in both languages. Misconception #2: Translating is easy. No, it is very hard and can be a mentally grueling task. Misconception #3: Translations can be done by computer. False! There are so many factors to take into consideration in a translation that a machine can miss. Misconception #4: Translators can also interpret. Maybe. But interpreting and translation are different jobs with very different skills involved. It is not the same! Misconception #5: There is only one possible translation for every text. Not true! Language is not an exact science: there never is just one correct answer or one way to translate a text.
HOPEFULLY WE CLEARED THE MENTIONED MISCONCEPTIONS. Thank you for watching!