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Out of the blue (Winner of Chinese to English translation contest)
Thread poster: Alan Wang

Alan Wang  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:15
English to Chinese
+ ...
Dec 30, 2008

I can't believe it. The first winner of the C-E translation contest is a pseudo–Chinese Frenchman. His name is 何破.
It was an out of the blue.


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 22:15
Why pseudo–Chinese Frenchman? Dec 30, 2008

dumont wrote:

I can't believe it. The first winner of the C-E translation contest is a pseudo–Chinese Frenchman. His name is 何破.
It was an out of the blue.


He wins French to English in the annual contest as well.

Browsing upon his profile, he declares English as his mother tongue and won Russian to English in one of the previous contests.

What is wrong with him?


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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:15
Chinese to English
+ ...
Congratulations Dec 30, 2008

Congratulations to Paul Hirsh for his excellent translation.

His entry was the one I was rooting for. It stood out in his thorough understanding of the Chinese text. His English rendering was also the most accurate and concise IMO.

BTW, I've noticed it was the only entry among the final 5 that did not use the English word "history" verbatim for the term "历史".


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 22:15
Frankly speaking, Dec 30, 2008

dumont wrote:

I can't believe it. The first winner of the C-E translation contest is a pseudo–Chinese Frenchman. His name is 何破.
It was an out of the blue.


Dumont, I find your wording odd this time.

Are you against him as a person or you don't like his entry?

[Edited at 2008-12-30 19:46 GMT]


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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:15
Chinese to English
+ ...
A little nitpicking Dec 30, 2008



对未知者,对平时不被注视者处于不断的醒悟中,

... of strangers and people we do not usually pay attention to.




The original unabridged article read:

对未知者,对平时不被注视者(如我们平时不关注空气,小虫,落叶,水珠,彩霞,孩子的声音变化。。。。。。)处于不断的醒悟中,

So the author was really not only referring to people, but also other natural phenomena we encounter in everyday life that sometimes get overlooked or taken for granted. However, this detail was not apparent in the contest text per se without referencing the original unabridged Chinese essay.

It's for this reason that I made the comment in the forum during the preliminary round of voting, that it is hard to achieve perfection in regards to "accuracy of translation".

Other than this minor detail, I found Paul's contest entry excelled in most every other aspect, and especially in his translation as a whole. Like I said, it was a clear winner for me on first read. Congratulations to Paul again.



[Edited at 2008-12-30 23:54 GMT]


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Zhoudan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:15
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
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恭喜Paul Dec 31, 2008

看了他的履历,真的很钦佩。

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redred  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:15
English to Chinese
+ ...
恭喜 Dec 31, 2008

偶然看见他在KudoZ上露面。精通几种语言而地道,怎样学的呢。

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Alan Wang  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:15
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Paul Dec 31, 2008

It was perhaps not his conscious fault to look more French than English. Besides, I looked at his service portfolios last night and decided that he was French. Now I carefully consider it would be more appropriate to call him a pseudo-Chinese French Catalanian of English origin.
Bin Tiede wrote:

He wins French to English in the annual contest as well.

Browsing upon his profile, he declares English as his mother tongue and won Russian to English in one of the previous contests.

What is wrong with him?


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Alan Wang  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:15
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
An incomplete comparison Dec 31, 2008

I can’t deny the fact that I had fallen in love with my own translation in the contest, so much so I was blind to whatever merits of all the other entries. The love is not completely over yet.

Perhaps the contest was really about who win, and then why. Now it has come to why.
Well, the reasons would be obvious, that the entry was the best one in readability/quality for the target audience, and that the entry was the best in communicating the meaning of the source text.
If the winning entry satisfies the above as compared to the other entries, it was a win without a question.

But after reading the winning entries, I have the unbecoming thought that some read a little bit too monotonous, too dry as compared to my entry which had some obvious syntax errors, but on the whole was more versatile and forceful in style and language, which created a kind of urge for the reader to read it through. In addition, it did a good job in the rendering of the Chinese text so that the translation came out as Sounding Less Strange In Some Difficult Parts and at the same time conveyed the meaning to an Acceptable Degree Of Clarity For The Target Audience. Well, I am probably mistaken in my opinion. But for now, I stand by my translation as the one I Like the best except the punctuation error unfortunately made.

Making no mistake that I am by no means questioning the legitimacy of the win in the sense of the contest rules. That’s completely out of the question. I am only interested in discussing the merits or shortcomings of the translations as I see them which may very well be valid or not. Here are some of the difficult points where it was no easy task to render the source text clearly and meaningfully to the target audience:

我们没有可能说终极性的、不会变的话。那么这句话本身是不是终极的呢?这句话和它指向的话并不在一个意义上说的,这是一种视角立场,我们最好不要这样问。
Winning entry: "We can't say anything in a definitive, immutable way". But isn't this sentence itself inherently definitive? Well, the question and the sentence it refers to do not share the same frame of meaning or angle of reference, and we had better not ask it.
Comment:
I found a mistake here. The author meant the claim itself and what the claim refers to are different; for example, in the ways they are spoken with varying degrees of self-consciousness of the speaker. In the author’s view, this sentence or claim is uttered with a higher consciousness or with an analytical turn of mind as compared to the haphazard remarks about “having woken up to reality” and so on, and it should be exempt from questioning or criticism.
If we convert Paul’s translation back, it would be different from the source and become: 这个问题(But isn't this sentence itself inherently definitive?)和它指向的话(?We can't say anything in a definitive, immutable way)并不在一个意义上说的. This was a complete subversion of the original.
Mine Entry: We can never make a claim to absolute certainty or a remark about which we would not have a second thought. Some may ask, “Isn’t that such a claim in itself?” Well, this judgment involves a type of thinking at a conscious level different from that which it attempts to analyze.
Comment:
The rendering was clear and meaningful. One would presume that the author was assuming a higher consciousness involved in the remark (the assertion, the claim) used to try to shed light on something said with less awareness.

但时间是那样的严肃,生活是那样的偶然,
Winning entry: But time marches on relentlessly, life is so random
Comment: (missing)
Mine entry: No one can be equal to the severity of time, nor to the fickleness of life.
Comment: forceful and convincing.

我们常常感到自己醒悟了,例如我感到每一个月,每一个学期,每一年,甚至每一天都会感到自己醒悟了。
Winning entry: We often feel we have seen the light: I might for instance get flashes once a month, each term, every year or even daily.
Comment: (missing)
Mine entry: We often feel that we have come to some ultimate realization. Take me for example. Not one month, one semester, one year or even one day passes but I am convinced at some point of being an awakened man.
Comment: The rendering savors more of a taint of the author’s self-mockery.

我们的醒悟是历史中的醒悟。
Winning entry: Our awakenings take place in a chronological context.
Comment: repetition or dryness if not confusing as a conclusion.
Mine entry: The moments of awakening are the nodal points of our personal histories.
Comment: Clear and meaningful finish.


欢迎扔砖,welcome any comments or, as we say, stones

[修改时间: 2008-12-31 12:07 GMT]


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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:15
Chinese to English
+ ...
A few words Dec 31, 2008

Dumont,

Hate to correct you, but it's "My entry" for starters.

I'm sorry to say that I don't agree with anything you commented on.


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Alan Wang  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:15
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
elaboration Dec 31, 2008

wherestip,
Thanks for the correction of "mine to my".

But since you do not care to take time to elaborate on your disagreement, I am afraid it would have to be taken at face value.

As far as I know it's not your style and I am wondering why this time it's different




wherestip wrote:

Dumont,

Hate to correct you, but it's "My entry" for starters.

I'm sorry to say that I don't agree with anything you commented on.



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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:15
Chinese to English
+ ...
post-mortem Dec 31, 2008

dumont wrote:

wherestip,
Thanks for the correction of "mine to my".

But since you do not care to take time to elaborate on your disagreement, I am afraid it would have to be taken at face value.

As far as I know it's not your style and I am wondering why this time it's different




wherestip wrote:

Dumont,

Hate to correct you, but it's "My entry" for starters.

I'm sorry to say that I don't agree with anything you commented on.



dumont,

It's not that I don't want to spend time to go over the doubts you raised. But I would like to see a bit more participation from other forum participants to make sure it is what most people are interested in discussing.


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 22:15
天才 Dec 31, 2008

redred wrote:

偶然看见他在KudoZ上露面。精通几种语言而地道,怎样学的呢。


我是一个彻头彻尾的天才论者,不相信有志者事竟成这种幼稚的说法。


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lbone  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:15
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
努力和天才 Dec 31, 2008

Bin Tiede wrote:

redred wrote:

偶然看见他在KudoZ上露面。精通几种语言而地道,怎样学的呢。


我是一个彻头彻尾的天才论者,不相信有志者事竟成这种幼稚的说法。


我不太认同这一点。

English是获奖者的唯一目标语,他的目标语表达能力出类拔萃,但仅此而已。

其实中文用google翻译就能基本看懂。

如果你仔细一个字一个字,一个标点一个标点看,会发现他的译文语句、用词和标点并不与源文一一对仗,说好听些是重新组织、发挥得比较好,说得不好听些,是这类比赛对源文与译文的严格字字较真并无要求,只要目标语写得好看,即使在细节上与源文存在数量明显的偏离之处也可以获奖。结果是目标语表达非常好的译者,即使完全不懂源文,只要通过google大致看懂源文,也可以“翻译“得”非常好”。

偏文学的翻译,只要写得好看,大家都喜欢,就一切OK了。

大家都是做翻译的,都知道翻译能力,包括语言能力(对源语的理解、目标语的表达)、专业理解能力和项目掌控能力。

老实说,我只能从获奖译文上看出目标语的表达能力和文学专业的专业能力。我“看不出”对源语言的理解能力如何。如果需要翻译的是一篇对用语和内在逻辑关系的准确性有显著要求的文档,比如技术、工程、法律、商务文档、论文或本地化文档,这种方式的翻译显然是不合格的。

半个月前我审过一篇用于申请 Certified PRO 的样文,大概有比赛这篇1.5倍长,是公司股份方面的,译者用语很地道,源文理解总体也非常好,但在翻译时有两处比较小的意义偏离,还有一个单词写错了(有一个元音写错了,其实单词最后的读音基本没区别),其他都非常完美。我当时只是注释一下,还是希望他能通过,但不幸 staff 没批准。如果这三个小问题就可以驳回一个 Certified PRO 的申请,我觉得那三个小问题加起来的问题总量在这篇比赛译文中大概平均每句就能出现一次。

[Edited at 2008-12-31 15:54 GMT]


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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:15
Chinese to English
+ ...
staying on topic Dec 31, 2008

lbone wrote:

Bin Tiede wrote:

redred wrote:

偶然看见他在KudoZ上露面。精通几种语言而地道,怎样学的呢。


我是一个彻头彻尾的天才论者,不相信有志者事竟成这种幼稚的说法。


我不太认同这一点。

English是获奖者的唯一目标语,他的目标语表达能力出类拔萃,但仅此而已。

其实中文用google翻译就能基本看懂。

如果你仔细一个字一个字,一个标点一个标点看,会发现他的译文语句、用词和标点并不与源文一一对仗,说好听些是重新组织、发挥得比较好,说得不好听些,是这类比赛对源文与译文的严格字字较真并无要求,只要目标语写得好看,即使在细节上与源文存在数量明显的偏离之处也可以获奖。结果是目标语表达非常好的译者,即使完全不懂源文,只要通过google大致看懂源文,也可以“翻译“得”非常好”。

偏文学的翻译,只要写得好看,大家都喜欢,就一切OK了。

大家都是做翻译的,都知道翻译能力,包括语言能力(对源语的理解、目标语的表达)、专业理解能力和项目掌控能力。

老实说,我只能从获奖译文上看出目标语的表达能力和文学专业的专业能力。我“看不出”对源语言的理解能力如何。如果需要翻译的是一篇对用语和内在逻辑关系的准确性有显著要求的文档,比如技术、工程、法律、商务文档、论文或本地化文档,这种方式的翻译显然是不合格的。

半个月前我审过一篇用于申请 Certified PRO 的样文,大概有比赛这篇1.5倍长,是公司股份方面的,译者用语很地道,源文理解总体也非常好,但在翻译时有两处比较小的意义偏离,还有一个单词写错了(有一个元音写错了,其实单词最后的读音基本没区别),其他都非常完美。我当时只是注释一下,还是希望他能通过,但不幸 staff 没批准。如果这三个小问题就可以驳回一个 Certified PRO 的申请,我觉得那三个小问题加起来的问题总量在这篇比赛译文中大概平均每句就能出现一次。



lbone,

That's all fine and dandy. But do you see any places where you disagree with Paul's translation?


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Out of the blue (Winner of Chinese to English translation contest)

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