Knowing how to speak two languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate. Translation is a special skill that professionals work hard to develop. A secular icon for the art of translation is the Rosetta Stone. This trilingual (hieroglyphic-Egyptian, demotic-Egyptian, ancient-Greek) stele became the translator's key to decryption of Egyptian hieroglyphs by Thomas Young, Jean-François Champollion and others.
Just think of what could happen in cases of serious inadequacy in knowledge areas such as science, medicine, legal matters, or technology.
It will always depend on the context and the topic, but in addition and especially with adjectives and descriptive language it will also be a subjective choice of how a word should be interpreted, which can be difficult and even dangerous when speaking in another language as you never can be really sure if the word you have chosen totally fulfils and conveys the meaning, message and emotion that you want it to portray.
1. Challenges of
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Challenges of Translation
 What is Translation?
 Why Translation?
 What is Good Translation?
 Skills of Translation
 Kinds of Translation
Challenges of Translation
What is Translation?
the skilful art of re-creating
an equivalent message
of a work of art
in one language
in another language.
equivalent, sensitive and natural
Translating is Connecting
Translation is an intimate encounter
Two creative souls
 Living languages in the world - 6,912
 Languages spoken in India - about 1,600
 Indian languages spoken by more than 10,000 Indians - 211
 The 1948 UN Universal Declaration Of Human Rights has
been translated into the most (321) languages and dialects.
 Country with the most languages spoken: Papua New
 Language with the most words: English (approx. 250,000
 Language with the fewest words: Taki Taki, also called
Sranan (only 340 words)
• To ‘affect’ larger audiences
• Equitable access to information
• Social justice & life-saving needs
• Promoting mother tongues
• Reviving dead/dying languages
• Historical changes in languages
• Greater financial rewards
A Good Translator
₌ Bilingual, Bicultural Proficiency
₌ Transparency in grammar, syntax and idiom
₌ Thorough Perception of theText/Content
₌ Loyalty to Intention, emotion, style
₌ Artistic Correspondence
₌ Fidelity to Detail and Faithfulness toText
₌ Aesthetics Matching the Original
If a translation is
beautiful, it is not
faithful; and if it is
faithful, it is not
beautiful. - Russian axiom
Ad verbum vs ad sensum
Metaphrase or paraphrase?
The Ordeal of Translation
Few foreign masterpieces can have suffered more
than Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin from the English
translator’s failure to convey anything more than–
at best–the literal meaning. It is as if a sound-proof
wall separated Pushkin’s poetic novel from the
English-reading world.There is a whole magic
which goes by default; the touching lyrical beauty,
the cynical wit of the poem; the psychological
insight, the devious narrative skill, the thrilling
compulsive grip of the novel; the tremendous gusto
and swing and panache of the whole performance.
- Samuel Johnson
− literal where possible
− paraphrastic where necessary
“Please Don't Make MeToo Happy”
To Spanish and back to English:
I RequestTo Me NotTo GoToo Much Behind Lucky Person
To German and back to English:
PleaseTo Me Do Not Go BackToo Lucky
To Italian and back to English:
I PrayTo Me NotTo Go BehindToo Much Fortunate
To Portuguese and back to English:
I Pray Me NotTo GoToo Much Behind Fortunate
To French and back to English:
Please Not ReturnTo MeToo Happy
Translation – Some Challenges
 Linguistic untranslatability
 Cultural untranslatability
 Source text
 Idioms & coinages
 Acronyms & abbreviations
 Slang & archaisms
 Grammar, syntax, punctuation
 Proper nouns
 Time, effort and Expenditure
Challenges of Translation
Choice depends on context and topic
Two trucks loaded with thousands of copies of Roget's
Thesaurus collided as they left a New York publishing
house last Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
Witnesses were aghast, amazed, astonished, astounded,
bemused, benumbed, bewildered, confounded,
confused, dazed, dazzled, disconcerted, disoriented,
dumbstruck, electrified, flabbergasted, horrified,
immobilized, incredulous, nonplussed, overwhelmed,
paralyzed, perplexed, scared, shocked, startled, stunned,
stupefied, surprised, taken aback, traumatized,
upset. . . .
are not identical in
 Cultural variation leads to linguistic variation
 Terms deeply rooted in culture
 No equivalents in target culture/language
Translator’s ethical attitudes
 Personal values and beliefs
 Errors in the source text
 Dangers of misinterpretation
 Generating meanings not inherent
 Using for political ends
(Confucius used secular texts for
I saw an Indian dance.
Indian Literature in Translation
 multi-lingual nation
 diverse social, cultural factors
 wide variety of themes, genres
 official language
State funded agencies
National Book Trust
In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.
In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.
In an Acapulco hotel:
The manager has personally passed all the water served
In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we
regret that you will be unbearable.
Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.
In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all directions.
• How are Cyberspace and electronic translation shaping up the
locus of translation production?
• What role should the translator play amidst the increasing
emergence of computer translation software?
• Should translators modify traditional theories or come up with
new theories of translation to meet the new challenges?
• What role do translators play in a global cultures?
• What are the future prerequisites for building a career in
• How are shifts in technology, international politics and
economics translated in a manner which preserves the cultural
identity of the source and target languages?
• What are the limitations of translation and interpretation
activities on each nation compared to the global scenario?
• What is the role of mass media in advancing proper translations?
into your mother tongue.
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