Posted: Dec 06, 2019
Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. The English language draws a terminological distinction (not all languages do) between translating (a written text) and interpreting (oral or sign-language communication between users of different languages); under this distinction, translation can begin only after the appearance of writing within a language community.
A translator always risks inadvertently introducing source-language words, grammar, or syntax into the target-language rendering. On the other hand, such "spill-overs" have sometimes imported useful source-language calques interpreter and loanwords that have enriched target languages. Translators, including early translators of sacred texts, have helped shape the very languages into which they have translated.
Because of the laboriousness of the translation process, since the 1940s efforts have been made, with varying degrees of success, to automate translation or to mechanically aid the human translator.More recently, the rise of the Internet has fostered a world-wide market for translation services and has facilitated "language localization".
The English word "translation" derives from the Latin word translatio,which comes from trans, "across" + ferre, "to carry" or "to bring" (-latio in turn coming from latus, the past participle of ferre). Thus translatio is "a carrying across" or "a bringing across": in this case, of a text from one language to another.
Some Slavic languages and the Germanic languages (other than Dutch and Afrikaans) have calqued their words for the concept of "translation" on translatio.
The Romance languages and the remaining interpreter Slavic languages have derived their words for the concept of "translation" from an alternative Latin word, traductio, itself derived from traducere ("to lead across" or "to bring across", from trans, "across" + ducere, "to lead" or "to bring")
The Ancient Greek term for "translation" (metaphrasis, "a speaking across"), has supplied English with "metaphrase" (a "literal", or "word-for-word", translation)—as contrasted with "paraphrase" ("a saying in other words", from paraphrasis)."Metaphrase" corresponds, in one of the more recent terminologies, to "formal equivalence"; and "paraphrase", to "dynamic equivalence".
Strictly speaking, the concept of metaphrase—of "word-for-word translation"—is an imperfect concept, because a given word in a given language often carries more than one meaning; and because a similar given meaning may often be represented in a given language by more than one word. Nevertheless, "metaphrase" and "paraphrase" may be useful as ideal concepts that mark the extremes in the spectrum of possible approaches to translation.
A "back-translation" is a translation of a translated text back into the language of the original text, made without reference to the original text. Comparison of a back-translation with the original text is sometimes used as a check on the accuracy of the original translation, much as the accuracy of a mathematical operation is sometimes checked by reversing the operation. But the results of such reverse-translation operations, while useful as approximate checks, are not always precisely reliable.Back-translation must in general be less accurate than back-calculation because linguistic symbols (words) are often ambiguous, whereas mathematical symbols are intentionally unequivocal. In the context of machine translation, a back-translation is also called a "round-trip translation." When translations are produced of material used in medical clinical trials, such as informed-consent forms, a back-translation is often required by the ethics committee or institutional review board.
It provided humorously telling evidence for the frequent unreliability of back-translation when he issued his own back-translation of a French translation of his short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". He published his back-translation in a 1903 volume together with his English-language original, the French translation, and a "Private History of the 'Jumping Frog' Story". The latter included a synopsized adaptation of his story that Twain stated had appeared, unattributed to Twain, in a Professor Sidgwick's Greek Prose Composition under the title, "The Athenian and the Frog"; the adaptation had for a time been taken for an independent ancient Greek precursor to Twain's "Jumping Frog" story.
When a document survives only in translation, the original having been lost, researchers sometimes undertake back-translation in an effort to reconstruct the original text. An example involves the novel The Saragossa Manuscript by the Polish aristocrat Jan Potocki (1761–1815), who wrote the novel in French and anonymously published fragments in 1804 and 1813–14. Portions of the original French-language manuscript were subsequently lost; however, the missing fragments survived in a Polish translation, made by Edmund Chojecki in 1847 from a complete French copy that has since been lost. French-language versions of the complete Saragossa Manuscript have since been produced, based on extant French-language fragments and on French-language versions that have been back-translated from Chojecki's Polish version.
Many works by the influential Classical physician Galen survive only in medieval Arabic translation. Some survive only in Renaissance Latin translations from the Arabic, thus at a second remove from the original. To better understand Galen, scholars have attempted back-translation of such works in order to reconstruct the original Greek.
When historians suspect that a document is actually a translation from another language, back-translation into that hypothetical original language can provide supporting evidence by showing that such characteristics as idioms, puns, peculiar grammatical structures, etc., are in fact derived from the original language. For example, the known text of the Till Eulenspiegel folk tales is in High German but contains puns that work only when back-translated to Low German. This seems clear evidence that these tales (or at least large portions of them) were originally written in Low German and translated into High German by an over-metaphrastic translator.
Supporters of Aramaic primacy—the view that the Christian New Testament or its sources were originally written in the Aramaic language—seek to prove their case by showing that difficult passages in the existing Greek text of the New Testament make much more sense when back-translated to Aramaic: that, for example, some incomprehensible references are in fact Aramaic puns that do not work in Greek. Due to similar indications, it is believed that the 2nd century Gnostic Gospel of Judas, which survives only in Coptic, was originally written in Greek.
The dominant English-language literary figure of his age, illustrates, in his use of back-translation, translators' influence on the evolution of languages and literary styles. Dryden is believed to be the first person to posit that English sentences should not end in prepositions because Latin sentences cannot end in prepositions. Dryden created the proscription against "preposition stranding" in 1672 when he objected to Ben Jonson's 1611 phrase, "the bodies that those souls were frighted from", though he did not provide the rationale for his preference. Dryden often translated his writing into Latin, to check whether his writing was concise and elegant, Latin being considered an elegant and long-lived language with which to compare; then he back-translated his writing back to English according to Latin-grammar usage. As Latin does not have sentences ending in prepositions, Dryden may have applied Latin grammar to English, thus forming the controversial rule of no sentence-ending prepositions, subsequently adopted by other writers.
A competent translator is not only bilingual but bicultural. A language is not merely a collection of words and of rules of grammar and syntax for generating sentences, but also a vast interconnecting system of connotations and cultural references whose mastery, writes linguist Mario Pei, "comes close to being a lifetime job."The complexity of the translator's task cannot be overstated; one author suggests that becoming an accomplished translator—after having already acquired a good basic knowledge of both languages and cultures—may require a minimum of ten years' experience. Viewed in this light, it is a serious misconception to assume that a person who has fair fluency in two languages will, by virtue of that fact alone, be consistently competent to translate between them.
The translator's role in relation to a text has been compared to that of an artist, e.g., a musician or actor, who interprets a work of art. Translation, like other human activities, entails making choices, and choice implies Korean interpretation gurgaon. Mark Polizzotti writes: "A good translation offers not a reproduction of the work but an interpretation, a re-representation, just as the performance of a play or a sonata is a representation of the script or the score, one among many possible representations."
The English-language novelist Joseph Conrad, whose writings Zdzis?aw Najder has described as verging on "auto-translation" from Conrad's Polish and French linguistic personae, advised his niece and Polish translator Aniela Zagórska: "on't trouble to be too scrupulous... I may tell you (in French) that in my opinion il vaut mieux interpréter que traduire [it is better to interpret than to translate]...Il s'agit donc de trouver les équivalents. Et là, ma chère, je vous prie laissez vous guider plutôt par votre tempérament que par une conscience sévère... [It is, then, a question of finding the equivalent expressions. And there, my dear, I beg you to let yourself be guided more by your temperament than by a strict conscience....]"Conrad advised another translator that the prime requisite for a good translation is that it be "idiomatic". "For in the idiom is the clearness of a language and the language's force and its picturesqueness—by which last I mean the picture-producing power of arranged words."Conrad thought C.K. Scott Moncrieff's English translation of Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time—or, in Scott Moncrieff's rendering, Remembrance of Things Past) to be preferable to the French original.
The necessity of making choices, and therefore of interpretation, in translating(and in other fields of human endeavor) stems from the ambiguity that subjectively pervades the universe. Part of the ambiguity, for a translator, involves the structure interpreter of human language. Psychologist and neural scientist Gary Marcus notes that "virtually every sentence [that people generate] is ambiguous, often in multiple ways. Our brain is so good at comprehending language that we do not usually notice." An example of linguistic ambiguity is the "pronoun disambiguation problem" ("PDP"): a machine has no way of determining to whom or what a pronoun in a sentence—such as "he", "she" or "it"—refers. Such disambiguation is not infallible by a human, either.
Ambiguity is a concern to both translators and, as the writings of poet and literary critic William Empson have demonstrated, to literary critics. Ambiguity may be desirable, indeed essential, in poetry and diplomacy; it can be more problematic in ordinary prose.
A translator is faced with two contradictory tasks: when translating, strive for omniscience; when reviewing the resulting translation, assume (the naive reader's) ignorance.
Translators may render only parts of the original text, provided that they inform readers of that action. But a translator should not assume the role of censor and surreptitiously delete or bowdlerize passages merely to please a political or moral interest.
Translating has served as a school of writing for many an author, much as the copying of masterworks of painting has schooled many a novice painter.A translator who can competently render an author's thoughts into the translator's own language, should certainly be able to adequately render, in his own language, any thoughts of his own. Translating (like analytic philosophy) compels precise analysis of language elements and of their usage. In 1946 the poet Ezra Pound, then at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, in Washington, D.C., advised a visitor, the 18-year-old beginning poet W.S. Merwin: "The work of translation is the best teacher you'll ever have. Merwin, translator-poet who took Pound's advice to heart, writes of translation as an "impossible, unfinishable" art.
Translators, including monks who spread Buddhist texts in East Asia, and the early modern European translators of the Bible, in the course of their work have shaped the very languages into which they have translated. They have acted as bridges for conveying knowledge between cultures; and along with ideas, they have imported from the source languages, into their own languages, loanwords and calques of grammatical structures, idioms, and vocabulary.
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