Multilingual countries and translation into the native language
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:50
Flemish to English
+ ...
Jul 14, 2003

If you have a look at the following links

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/999709.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/1035212.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1198865.stm

you will conclude that some countries in the world have different official languages.
It may well be that your neighbour speaks another language.

Does "Thou shallt translate into thy native tongue" also applies for translators who have grown up and live in these countries.
What with a translator who has grown up in Brussels? The district has two official languages (Dutch and French)and is a real Tower of Babel.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:20
English to Tamil
+ ...
This point was touched by me in an indirect manner in another thread Jul 14, 2003

The discussion was about native translators in another thread ( http://www.proz.com/topic/11531). In one of our translation seminars the animator of the seminar held strong views in favour of the native translators. I will not go into all that but then she said that in cases of bilingual countries such as Luxembourg the people are by nature unsuited to be translators as they had no single mother tongue. Of course we didn't buy this thesis. Just thought I would mention it in this thread too. I will be eagerly looking for reactions from others.



Williamson wrote:

If you have a look at the following links

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/999709.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/1035212.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1198865.stm

you will conclude that some countries in the world have different official languages.
It may well be that your neighbour speaks another language.

Does "Thou shallt translate into thy native tongue" also applies for translators who have grown up and live in these countries.
What with a translator who has grown up in Brussels? The district has two official languages (Dutch and French)and is a real Tower of Babel.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:50
German to English
+ ...
Native is as native does Jul 14, 2003

Williamson wrote:
Does "Thou shallt translate into thy native tongue" also applies for translators who have grown up and live in these countries.


Who cares? Ask yourself two simple questions.

1. Does the text leave an educated native-speaker reader with the impression that it is badly written, or written by a foreigner, or both?
2. If so, is that a problem?

Before you ask whether certain people are entitled to set out "rules" about who may translate what, ask yourself what certain readers are entitled to expect.

Marc


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Stéphan Goldsmith
Local time: 03:50
English to French
+ ...
Native command of language is paramount Jul 14, 2003

Growing up in a country with two or more official languages (Belgium has also a German speaking community) does not mean that you are automatically fluent in all the languages of that .

In this context, you will tend to stick to your native language as it is the only one in which you can guarantee the highest level of accuracy in the style, the grammar, the terms, etc.

The native command of a language is paramount to the quality of a translation.

Stéphan


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:50
French to Spanish
+ ...
Not dutch, flemish. Jul 14, 2003

More complicated, indeed, it's flemish !

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Jonathan Sanders  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:50
Language Competence is the Issue Jul 14, 2003

People from all countries (bilingual or not) have varying degrees of proficiency in thier countries' languages. Some people, while native speakers of one language, may be educated almost exclusively or bilingually in another.

The question of whether or not someone should have a FrenchArabic combination should have nothing to do with him/her being Moroccan, per se, but should have to do with the language in which he/she has been educated, what language he/she speaks at home, in what language he/she knows technical terminology, what language he/she knows slang and expresions, in short, the language in which he/she can produce native-level material.

If a person grows up, educated equally bilingually in French and Arabic, speaking French and Arabic, with French and Arabic speaking people, then he or she will probably be linguistically competent to be an A-A translator. However, if another person grows up with an Arabic influence, but a French education, speaking French in the home, using French primarily, but with a strong knowledge of Arabic, maybe he or she would be more suited to be an A French-B Arabic translator. It depends on his/her language profisciency.

The country is not relevant, the actual language competence is really what matters.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:50
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ask thy neighbour Jul 14, 2003

If a country has three or more official languages more sources of official terminology in these languages are at the disposal of the translator. Not everything can be found on the web.

I do not intend to set up rules. I only heard of this "native thing" after the advent of the Internet and of websites and discussion groups for translators. The mother-tongue of most of the Flemish is a regional dialect and the mother-tongue of the Walloons is the regional language.
So, a country like Belgium should only have translators, who come from the German speaking community where the mother-tongue is German?
The country or neighborhood does matter in the sense that you can always ask "the person next door" to revise your texts if he or she is specialized in the subject matter and if his or her mother-tongue is the target-language.
In the end all that the customer wants are translations that read like originals. Who produces them is not that important to the customer. Are translators too much focused upon themselves and the translation to be made that they cannot have their translations revised?
No, not all the inhabitants of the multilingual country have a profound knowledge of its national languages.
Thus, to communicate, you are forced to use the second or third language of the country on a regular basis. If you live in bilingual territory and you have to use both languages on a daily basis, the second language almost becomes your mother-tongue. You use it without thinking on how to express yourself.


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