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Poll: "Traduttore traditore" do you agree?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 08:39
SITE STAFF
Apr 16, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question ""Traduttore traditore" do you agree?".

This poll was originally submitted by John Cutler

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:39
German to English
+ ...
Er .... Apr 16, 2007

Could somebody translate the question into German or English, please?

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Christine Schmit  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
German to French
+ ...
in English Apr 16, 2007

it's Italian for "translator traitor"

Christine


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:39
German to English
+ ...
Thanks, Christine, for the words ... Apr 16, 2007

... although I still wonder what message (if any) they convey.

In other words, although I now know the words, I am still left wondering what the question is.

Perhaps I would understand it better if I knew something about the stylistic significance of verb omission in Italian.


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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 16:39
Swedish to English
+ ...
A little explanation Apr 16, 2007

I had to Google it:
http://webelieve.cc/html/TRADUTTORE.htm
Playing on the similarity of the Italian words, it is sometimes said that the translator (traduttore) is a traitor (traditore). The saying points to the difficulty and delicacy of turning text from one language into another. For example, a Latin prayer addressed to Pater sancte is accurately translated Holy Father, except that, in English, this expression evokes the pope rather than God.


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Christine Schmit  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
German to French
+ ...
meaning Apr 16, 2007

It's a saying that basically means that translators always or usually betray the original text or the original meaning of the text, i.e. a translation can never be entirely faithfull to the original.
I have heard it quite a lot in my "theory of translation" classes at university, can't remember though where it originally comes from.

Christine


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Ehab Tantawy  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:39
Member (2006)
English to Arabic
+ ...
What a CATASTROPHE? Apr 16, 2007

Hi All
The question is "Traduttore traditore" do you agree?" which means " translator, you're a traitor"

It is a CATASTROPHE!!! until the time of sending this thread , the answer of 47.1% of total votes was it depends, WOW!!! they are thinking to be Triators or not!!!

Something needs another discussion(s).

Thanks


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Lubain Masum  Identity Verified
Bangladesh
Local time: 21:39
Member (2006)
English to Bengali
+ ...
N/A: English translation should have been given earlier Apr 16, 2007

As I did not understand the sentence "Traduttore traditore", I voted 'N/A'. After knowing the translation, I feel regret that my vote went in vein.

I think one should not assume that everybody would understand all 'famous' (if it is) quotes/sayings of any language.


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Elisabete Cunha  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:39
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not really... Apr 16, 2007

That is not my point of view...
I also replied "It depends" and that doesn't mean that I am thinking if I am a traitor or not.
That is because there are good and bad translators, so it really depends!



Ehab Tantawy wrote:

Hi All
The question is "Traduttore traditore" do you agree?" which means " translator, you're a traitor"

It is a CATASTROPHE!!! until the time of sending this thread , the answer of 47.1% of total votes was it depends, WOW!!! they are thinking to be Triators or not!!!

Something needs another discussion(s).

Thanks


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:39
German to English
+ ...
The faithful traitor Apr 16, 2007

After a few kind souls explained the question (thanks Christine and Clare), I also voted "It depends".
For me, it depends on the context and the type of translation.
Often you would have to explain the whole culture behind an idea, a phrase etc. in order to get the message across - but if you take that many words, your text becomes so verbose that nobody gets the point anyway.

Look at the title of this thread: "traddutore traditore" as an example.
Some people got the message instantly (because they are familiar with the language and its particular style). Others (like me) didn't get it. The first stage was to understand the isolated words (translator traitor), but without the appropriate "feel" for the source language, this did not mean anything. So I needed a rephrasing in a syntax that I could respond to. For example the addition of a verb, and perhaps even more. Perhaps we could translate this pithy Italian saying into meaningful English in one of these ways:

- Translators are traitors
- Translating is betrayal of the original meaning
- All translators betray the heart of the message
- You can't translate without being a traitor to the original
- It is often impossible to give a complete and comprehensive translation of the content of a source text.

All of these are ***possible*** translations, but none of them convey the full meaning, sense and rhythm of the original.

Another area is the pun or play on words.
- Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
- Jesus macht Jünger (a play on the dual meaning of the German word "Jünger" = "younger" or "disciples")

At the moment, a third of the respondents to the poll say that translators are not traitors (i.e. never traitors). So who is bold enough to attempt to translate these sentences without betraying the original?

To say nothing of the cultural adequacy of translations in our specialist areas - as one of the lecturers commented at the one-day seminar on legal translating at City University London in 2005: "There is no such thing as a perfect legal translation."


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not at all Apr 16, 2007

Ehab Tantawy wrote:

until the time of sending this thread , the answer of 47.1% of total votes was it depends, WOW!!! they are thinking to be Triators or not!!!


Different historical periods had different ideas about translation. Just consider that Chaucer or even Shakespeare sometimes need translation into modern English; or, alternatively, the famous discrepancy between Fitzgerald's and Graves' Rubaiyyat versions. Sometimes the product has to be extensively glossed. At other times, as Nabokov noted, it can stray too far from the original in the name of poetic license. I'd say, a concept of fidelity and "betrayal" would depend on a reader's purpose. This, in fact, is the reason why translators may now copyright their versions of publishable work.


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:39
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
You are right:) Apr 16, 2007

Lubain Masum wrote:

As I did not understand the sentence "Traduttore traditore", I voted 'N/A'. After knowing the translation, I feel regret that my vote went in vein.

I think one should not assume that everybody would understand all 'famous' (if it is) quotes/sayings of any language


It would be better to provide a translation, one cannot know all the laguages of the world, and Italian surely is not one of the most spoken in the wolrd,
anyway it is just for playing on the similarity of the Italian words.

All the best from a
"traduttrice traditrice" (feminin version of "traduttore traditore")

[Edited at 2007-04-16 18:43]


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:39
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Yes Apr 16, 2007

I'm astonished by the so little amount of "Yes". Obviously, people understand that if they answer yes, they will be considered bad translators? Translation is in itself a process of "betrayal", I think Victor showed it well. Our task is to make the betrayal as little as possble.

Lubain Masum wrote:

I think one should not assume that everybody would understand all 'famous' (if it is) quotes/sayings of any language.
Of course not. Same as we should not assume that all translators understand English, although that's what we do all the time here on ProZ. So you know, there's always a mean of feeling excluded, but after all, we're talking about the most famous saying on translation.


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Els Spin  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:39
Dutch to English
+ ...
Wholeheartedly: yes Apr 16, 2007

There is no way a translator can ever convey all the feelings, thoughts, attitudes or the background, culture etc. of any author. Even if a text can be translated literally, we do so because it is our INTERPRETATION that the literal translation conveys the intended meaning, which in itself is based on our interpretation...

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
It depends... Apr 16, 2007

I have no problem with the Italian even though it is not one of my languages; it is such a familiar saying that it should be known by all translators.

That said, it depends...

It depends on how good the translator is.


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