Not exactly praise for the translator (Artikel auf Deutsch!/German article)
Thread poster: David Wright

David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 17:25
German to English
+ ...
Oct 5, 2014

http://diepresse.com/home/spectrum/zeichenderzeit/3880341/Finnland_Wurst?from=suche.intern.portal

Is a pretty scathing comment on translation from Finnish into German. Not always is the mentioning of a translator in a review something positive.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 00:25
Chinese to English
Any news is good news Oct 6, 2014

I don't think we can be precious about this. If we believe that translators should get some exposure, then we have to accept that some of the comment will be negative. That's not necessarily a bad thing. No-one improves without a little criticism and guidance.

Edit: And just looking at the Bing of that article - it seems to be a bit focused on some words which the author thinks have been wrongly translated. Usually, those criticisms don't stand up. If Moster gets to reply, then German readers could learn something about translation. It might all work out for the best!

Not being a German reader, I'm goggling at the title and first paragraph. Could you tell me what wurst means here? And is ambitionsloser what it looks like?

[Edited at 2014-10-06 02:35 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
:O Oct 6, 2014

I read the articles, the translated sentences, and must admit that I had some startling moments trying to figure out what this was supposed to say. And my German is good!

Honestly, I'd prefer no news over news about a sloppy translator.


 

David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 17:25
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@ Phil Oct 6, 2014

Wurst - Austrian for "don't give a damn"

YEs, ambitionslos does mean "umambitious".

The author of the article is an Austrian writer who has lived for many ywears in Finland soknows both languages verys well, and his criticism is that the translations are not wrong not just interms of a word but rather of the whole style and effect of the novels. He also takes up the fact that the translator seems to have translated a huge number of books over the last couple of years, and that no one seems top have bothered to proofread them before publication.


 

Astrid_H  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:25
German to English
+ ...
The author is not only pointing out a couple of errors Oct 6, 2014

I know why I prefer reading books in their original language!

This article mentions a number of inaccuracies and dreadful errors in the translation:

- "two" instead of "three";

- Finnish (as translated by the article's author): "exhausted, overworked, everted land",
German (as translated by the book translator): "tired, multiply reworked, slippery land" - which would be a terrible mistake IMO, but I can't judge Finnish/German of course)

Moreover though, the author points out that a bad translation (without even proofreading/editing) which doesn't take the author's style into account, or doesn't know the source language well enough will lead to very bad reviews and bad sales for the German version. He writes that this is "the destruction of a masterpiece".

There appears to be only one translator who has been translating record amounts of Finnish books into German in the past years, and the author blames him for the bad reception Finnish modern literature is getting among German readers, the same books which are getting enthusiastic reviews for their style in Finnish media.

I don't think that the article is bad publicity for translators across the board. If anything, this article may raise awareness among publishers that paying for proofreading and paying decent rates to good translators is worth it in the end. If your novels are non-sellers in the target language, it's not worth getting them translated at all. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Not that we didn't know that already!


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:25
Member (2014)
English to German
This may do both! Oct 6, 2014

It may shine a bad light on the profession as a whole, but on the other hand it may make publishers and the general public aware of the value of a good translation and the skill and time it takes to produce it.

I just don't understand how this could have happened. It seems, it isn't just the translator who doesn't care.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:25
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Hard to say Oct 6, 2014

The whole article is full with missing spaces, so perhaps the missing spaces in the citations are also a product of the reviewer. Let's hope so.
Translating Puhdistus as Fegefeuer is a major blunder, Die Säuberung is the only right titel IMO. I haven't read any translation of Finnish literature since the 1970s, so I cannot say if the quality has fallen sharply. I hope at least Is by Ulla-Leena Lundberg has been translated adequately from the original Swedish? At least the comments are full of praise: http://www.amazon.de/Eis-Ulla-Lena-Lundberg/dp/386648206X/ref=la_B00JA2S4ES_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412605221&sr=1-1


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 00:25
Chinese to English
Don't believe everything you read? Oct 6, 2014

Hmm. It just seems like you're a bit quick to believe this Brunnsteiner guy. Only a little digging comes up with at least one alternative view:

"Seine sparsame wie prägnante Sprache, die Stefan Moster in ein unaufdringlich literarisches und dabei ganz schlichtes Deutsch gebracht hat, lässt keinen Raum für Redunanzen."
http://www.transit-verlag.de/index.php/druckfrisch/273-ollikainen-aki.html

I'm in no position to judge either way, obviously. But we all know that judging literary translation can be extremely subjective, and that many people judge it badly. I don't think the existence of one article on this Moster guy is a good basis for condemning his work.

Can't speak to the editing errors, of course.

@Heinrich - Remember that book titles are typically not translated. You translate the novel, then the publisher decides what title would be best for selling the book in the target market.


 

Astrid_H  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:25
German to English
+ ...
Of course, but Oct 7, 2014

Phil Hand wrote:

Hmm. It just seems like you're a bit quick to believe this Brunnsteiner guy. Only a little digging comes up with at least one alternative view:

"Seine sparsame wie prägnante Sprache, die Stefan Moster in ein unaufdringlich literarisches und dabei ganz schlichtes Deutsch gebracht hat, lässt keinen Raum für Redunanzen."
http://www.transit-verlag.de/index.php/druckfrisch/273-ollikainen-aki.html



Of course the article is the author's opinion, but he does document his criticism by supplying his own translations (which are hopefully better) and reviews of the German books. It's apparent he doesn't like the translator, and
The quote from your link isn't necessarily complete praise for the translator, though, is it? It says how he translated, roughly as "economical and concise, unobtrusive literary and at the same time very plain German leaving no room for redundancy".

The question is whether the original author has also written his/her book in an economical and concise style without redundancy as well. Only those who understand source and target language on an equal level would be able to judge really.

Imagine for example Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars or a novel from the Romantic period translated in an "economical and concise German", and how much meaning and how much of the beauty of writing would be lost!

Whether Mr Moster in particular is a good translator or not I cannot say of course, but my general opinion is that a translator needs to adapt to the author's style, and not shape the translation according to his/her preferred style or ability.


 


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Not exactly praise for the translator (Artikel auf Deutsch!/German article)

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