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Can translation be taught?
Thread poster: Raf Uzar

Raf Uzar
Poland
Local time: 03:24
Polish to English
Apr 3, 2009

I take the view that translation CAN be taught and I stand in opposition to those for think it cannot. Yes, it's easier if we have a knack for languages but surely there are tools out there and people who can teach the subject from scratch. I was kinda inspired to post these comments by:
http://transubstantiation.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/can-translation-be-taught/

Raf


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 03:24
English to German
+ ...
I do not think it can be taught.. Apr 3, 2009

Hi! there is never a solid prescription when it comes to languages. It is like a song and the better it is the greater you are. Hence a lot of exercise and open mindedness would be needed, above all the want of translating is the turning point. BR Brandis

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I hope it can! Apr 3, 2009

Otherwise I'd have to wonder what students of Translation and Interpretation in Universities all over the world are doing! Maybe they have thrilling pin-ball machines in translation schools out there!!

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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:24
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
yes Apr 3, 2009

Yes, I think translation can be taught. In fact, I think there is little you cannot learn provided you have the time and are willing to put enough effort into your study.

I was recently reading the book "Genius Explained" by Michael J. A. Howe in which he reveals how the extraordinary capabilities of some people were clearly rooted in the experiences and opportunities that forged their characters and not some kind of mysterious inborn gift.

Very interesting book.



[Edited at 2009-04-03 16:03 GMT]


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Raf Uzar
Poland
Local time: 03:24
Polish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Pin-ball machines... Apr 3, 2009

Nice one!

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Raf Uzar
Poland
Local time: 03:24
Polish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Genius Explained Apr 3, 2009

Yes, it's a wonderful book and I completely agree with its conclusions.

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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:24
Member (2009)
French to English
Hey, we didn't have pinball! Apr 3, 2009

I posted a response on the blog page. My opinion is that translation *can* be taught, just as creative writing can, but you need to have some inbuilt aptitude for the subject.

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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:24
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
_ Apr 3, 2009

No!

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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:24
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
_ Apr 3, 2009

Yes!

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:24
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Yes, but you need the right foundation Apr 3, 2009

Yes, I think translation can be taught, but only if the right foundation of skills in the source and target language are in place.

PS We didn't have a pinball machine either! Darn!


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Transtextuel
France
Local time: 03:24
English to French
+ ...
Yes, but what are the first skills you need ? Apr 3, 2009

Hello,

I definitely guess translating and interpreting can be taught but... maybe you need a few skills before you start the training ?


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:24
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Learning to translate. Apr 3, 2009

Well, I tend to think that you can just as easily teach another person to translate as you can teach them to write a good book or a poem.

Granted, there are all kinds of things I suppose you can help them with, how to set up their computer, find dictionaries, invoice their prospective clients, etc. But how many of your favourite writers mention their creative writing class back in high-school when reminiscing about how they came to become a good writer?

I suspect translation can be taught, but then not by another person. That is, you have to teach yourself. And, I agree with what several others have already said here, you of course also need to possess the aptitude (luck) with regard to your source and target languages.

You mention Howe’s book, ‘Genius Explained,’ ‘in which [the author] reveals how the extraordinary capabilities of some people were clearly rooted in the experiences and opportunities that forged their characters and not some kind of mysterious inborn gift’. To me however, this statement would actually rather tend to say the opposite: that is, that it is not something that can be taught (in say a classroom), because it is something that you need to grow into, over time. ‘[T]he experiences and opportunities that forged their characters,’ – these are not things that someone can teach you; they are things that only life can teach you.

Again though, that’s not to say that translation cannot be learned.


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Anne-Marie Grant  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:24
French to English
+ ...
It can be taught Apr 3, 2009

to those who have the requisite aptitude and interest.

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Steve Thomasson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:24
Member (2012)
German to English
It's not just teaching in a sense of... Apr 3, 2009

...a "teacher" and a "pupil", there are times where the "pupil" has to take responsibility for his / her own learning.

Someone wrote a description of their years at my old secondary school and their final line was so striking I haven't forgotten it even though it must have been six years ago when I saw it.

"You are not in school to learn about maths or English. You are in school to learn how to learn. Get that lesson nailed down and you can teach yourself almost anything".

I guess that puts me squarely with AMG here.

[Edited at 2009-04-03 22:10 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, but... Apr 3, 2009

Raf Uzar wrote:
I take the view that translation CAN be taught and I stand in opposition to those for think it cannot.


I haven't read your cited article, but my opinion is that it can be taught. What is important, however, is to figure out what mental skills are required for it, and then separate those with those skills from those that don't have those skills. For those with the skills, it's easy. For those without, it's rote or bust. And the rote learners will never be as good as the good ones with skill, although they will be better than ones with skill who never learnt anything. Do I make sense?


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