Providing literal translations
Thread poster: eva75

eva75
English
+ ...
Jul 26, 2006

What is the general rule for providing literal translations for book and song titles as such?

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:53
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Not sure what you mean... Jul 26, 2006

Could you elaborate a little? What context/situation are you talking about? What kind of texts etc?

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:53
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I am not sure either Jul 26, 2006

Eva, what kind of text are you talking about, a legal one, a technical one or something else?

I have done quite a few 'literal' translations. I specifically put this between brackets because I would not consider them really literal.

I do not think that you can take words from one language and literally translate them into another language. The target text would not make sense.

What I think is meant is that the sense/meaning of the translation should be very close/the same as the original.

I am here thinking about legal (especially court) translations and diplomatic translations. Or even a medical translation, especially the ones dealing with a court case.

Here it is imperative that the translation exactly conveys the meaning of the source document.

I hope that this helps. If this is not what you are looking for, please give me some more info and perhaps we can go from there.

Good luck!
Lucinda


Direct link Reply with quote
 

eva75
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
explanation Jul 26, 2006

Sorry for my question not being clear. I was referring more to general texts, journalistic in nature rather than legal texts, for example.

What I mean is should you:
1) faithfully translate each single word
2) or translate sth that makes sense in your mother tongue, although you may not be respecting the original in terms of the actual words, but providing the idiomatic equivalent.

Which would consitute a correct literal translation in the context of books/song titles etc.?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:53
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
The translation needs to sound natural Jul 26, 2006

Well, the translation should sound natural. The reader shouldn't be able to tell that the text was orginally written in another language. The reader should be able to read the text without stumbling over odd sentence structures, weird metaphors and such things which are often the result of literal translations.

Here's a simple example:
If I was supposed to translate the English sentence "Peter said it was raining cats and dogs" into German then I will forget about the "cats and dogs" and translate something like "Peter said it was raining a lot".

If I were to translate the sentence literally, people would either think that Peter was making up stories (and pretty silly ones as well) or that I must have mistranslated something as the German doesn't seem to make much sense at all.

After all, the purpose of a translation is to make a text accessible to more people, to people who do not understand the language of the original text. And those people should ideally get the same out of the text as the people who read it in its original version. That means that (1) original and translation need to contain the same information and convey the same meaning and message, and (2) if possible the readers of the translated version should have just as much fun reading the text as those who read the original version.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:53
Swedish to English
+ ...
Original + translation Jul 27, 2006

I agree with Thomas, but also think that the translation of names should be avoided. My experience of this is always to check with the client - when a translating newpaper article that refers to another magazine I would always leave the name of the magazine in the original language. Who knows, someone may want to go and find a copy of that magazine - and the same should really apply to song and book titles. If the book or song has a previously published title in your target language then I would use that, but otherwise I would keep the original (plus translation in brackets, where appropriate).

I work on a lot of nature reserve guides with one client and we always leave names in the source language (be they rivers, caves etc) - tourists may well want to refer to a map and find them. A literal translation of the name is then provided in brackets in cases where they add some sort of value to the text - the Coral Cave, or Whispering Chamber, etc.

Does this help to make any more sense of things for you?


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Maria Castro[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Providing literal translations

Advanced search







PDF Translation - the Easy Way
TransPDF converts your PDFs to XLIFF ready for professional translation.

TransPDF converts your PDFs to XLIFF ready for professional translation. It also puts your translations back into the PDF to make new PDFs. Quicker and more accurate than hand-editing PDF. Includes free use of Infix PDF Editor with your translated PDFs.

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs