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Re: Zen and the art of translation

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  • melvyn.geo
    ... fact that you know what I m talking about. Seems to me the horticultural metaphor does only work to a limited extent. Surely it would be more accurate to
    Message 1 of 88 , Sep 1, 2003
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      Darian wrote:

      >Let's just say my metaphor sucks; but there's no getting around the
      fact that you know what I'm talking about.

      Seems to me the horticultural metaphor does only work to a limited extent.
      Surely it would be more accurate to describe what we translators do not as weeding and eliminating but as replanting, remoulding, reforming, recasting,
      restyling, rehashing..., sometimes reducing the verbosity content, sometimes
      retaining some of it in order to convey the style of the original when this
      is required, and sometimes converting one type of pomposity into another (e.g. handlebar-moustached bureaucratese into slick corporatese, advertising waffle, marketing-speak etc). It all depends on your overall strategy for you
      r individual text, and it seems to me that you have to get that sorted out and know precisely what kind of restyling is involved (e.g. for popular consumption, for the professional public, for fellow bureaucrats etc) before you get to work with that hoe.

      >you don't have to be a chicken to know that a rose is a rose is a rose,
      and weeds ain't wild flowers,

      There is an old adage to the effect that weeds are just wild flowers growing where they are not wanted. :-) One (wo)man's weed is another (wo)man's beautiful buttercup, daisy, cornflower, mint, honeysuckle, red campion, lesser
      celandine, herb robert etc.

      I do take the point made by yourself and by Matej that we should not be afraid of being creative (if that is what our strategy requires and if such creativity can be justified by differences in genre conventions, stylistic and cultural differences and so forth), but is it not also possible when translating to be too creative? How do you check to make sure you are not going too far?

      >"Woah, that's a Czech sentence in sheep's clothing..."

      As I work I note down the cases where in order to avoid Czech sentences in heep's clothing I make substantial alterations to the original literal meaning, together with my justification. I've put some of these notes up on the Czech-English Translation Problems page at http://www.bohemica.com/czechtranslation.

      Recently I've been going through a very useful work by Dagmar Knittlova called K teorii i praxi prekladu. I've now added some of her observations to my page so you might be interested to have a look.

      >Hey, but I'm not a professional translator, so I'll defer to the workin' guys and gals on the whole matter.

      There again, I hear a moment's insight can be worth a lifetime's experience...

      BTW here's one passage from Knittlova's work which caught my attention. What do you make of this? Can you think of any good examples??

      Pri srovnani anglictiny a cestiny se zda, ze anglictina ma chudsi inventar inherentne expresivnich prostredku než cestina, coz vsak neznamena, ze by byl nutne mene ucinny. Expresivita v anglictine je ve vetsim mnozstvi pripadu oncentrovana do lexikalnich vyrazu, ktere jsou nositeli vyhradne expresivnich konotacnich slozek a maji radiacni schopnost, kdezto v ceskem textu je expresivita rozprostrena rovnomerneji na vetsi pocet nositelu slozek denotacnich i konotacnich.



      BR

      Melvyn
    • melvyn.geo
      ... Very true. I shall send examples as I find them in weeks and months to come. ... Paul sent me the article recently. I shall try to put it up on the
      Message 88 of 88 , Sep 18, 2003
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        --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, Mgr. Lenka Mandryszov� <iona@v...> wrote:
        > Helga is
        > right about changing the meaning when leaving out an important word, but we
        > cannot generalize it and only examples can be, IMHO, discussed here.

        Very true. I shall send examples as I find them in weeks and months to come.

        > There is a very good article about the problem (in legalese) in the latest
        > issue of ToP (Paul Sinclair - Neznalost zakona neomlouva) which aims at
        > de-mystifying legalese (common attitude to legal "speech").

        Paul sent me the article recently. I shall try to put it up on the Czechlist homepage in the near future.

        M.
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