Off topic: Language is fickle and easy to get lost in
Thread poster: George Trail

George Trail  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:15
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
May 15, 2010

Everyone says that translation is easy to get lost in - and who could argue with that? - but the truth is I feel exactly the same way in connection the relatively simple concept of language. Why? Well, there is no unique reason; and you don't have to be that bright to understand them (if we have examples available).

Orthography is inconsistent sometimes - especially in English. "Fish" spelled as "ghoti"; or a foreigner may wonder why the "or" sound is not pronounced the same in the words "for" and "word". People will certainly be met with mixed feelings of humour and frustration if expected to translate something like Cockney Rhyming Slang expressions. And it is highly unlikely that such a phrase as "drop me a line" will be used as a standard expression in the English of anyone whose mother tongue is not English.

But language is a reflection of one's own culture, as translation agencies never tire of pointing out. The song "Up" by the Saturdays, for example: did it really get met with such success just because the girls are really sexy and the song has a nice dance beat and everything? Consider this: I view that it points out the importance of optimism, no matter what you are trying to do, strictly without sounding heavy or lecturing or daunting.

Of course, I have to accept that one's culture is hardly ever rigidly defined; and culture itself is certainly prone to change. I'm sure there is someone out there who has done something like written a song that they used to say is the best song that they have ever written, but they today no longer know it off by heart, as surprising as that might sound. I'm sure that there is someone out there who has written some sort of article which, when they read it months or years later, it would actually leave them confused and / or frustrated as far as following and understanding its significance is concerned. What do you think?

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Language is fickle and easy to get lost in

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