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Poll: "Genius is 95% perspiration and 5% inspiration". Does this also apply to translation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Dec 21, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question ""Genius is 95% perspiration and 5% inspiration". Does this also apply to translation?".

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Adnan Özdemir  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 03:50
Member (2007)
German to Turkish
+ ...
Other... (Very very difficult question tambien) In translation/interpreting matters ->... Dec 21, 2010

Maybe 75% perspiration, 25% inspiration...

Maybe 43% perspiration, 57% inspiration...

Maybe 20% perspiration, 80% inspiration...

Maybe 3% perspiration, 97% inspiration...

Maybe 50% perspiration, 50% inspiration...

Maybe 59% perspiration, 89% inspiration (total 148%)...

Maybe, may be, maybeee


Saludos desde Anatolia-Karaman
Anadolu'dan, Karaman'dan selamlar

[Edited at 2010-12-21 09:07 GMT]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
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Spanish to English
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Varying percentages depending on... Dec 21, 2010

If perspiration means working long hours, researching the subject, or learning the "tricks of the trade" it could be true.

I might actually increase the 5% figure and consider inspiration from the point of view of liking my work. That's what inspires me. A certain document may be boring or "uninspiring", but the fact that I like my job as a whole inspires me to get through it.

If I'm working on a document I find interesting, I would probably change the ratio to 50% perspiration and 50% inspiration.


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Mami Y.  Identity Verified
Japan
Member (2008)
English to Japanese
+ ...
yes... Dec 21, 2010

Especially when you must coin the counterpart of the original phrase which is not fixed in the target language yet, a certain level of inspiration may be required.


[Edited at 2010-12-21 09:26 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 01:50
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
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Genius? Dec 21, 2010

Is there a genius among us?

A genius is someone who is both extraordinarily intelligent and extremely creative. Plenty of people are smart and even intelligent, but they aren't quite geniuses because they lack the creative abilities required. Other people are creative to some extent, but they do not have the intellectual capability to harness their creativity. Some famous examples of geniuses include Mozart, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein, who is often used as the classic illustration for a “genius.”

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-genius.htm


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Russian to English
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Higher proportion of inspiration Dec 21, 2010

As others say, varies with work, but I would think it averages out at about 20%.

Diverting slightly to the subject of genius:
There is no real adjective from this in English, you just have to say "man/work or whatever of genius".
But in Russian, Genius is гений (geniy) and the adjective is гениальный (genialnyy).
This has been known to be confused with the English adjective "genial", which means something quite different.

Genial:
affable: diffusing warmth and friendliness; "an affable smile"; "an amiable gathering"; "cordial relations"; "a cordial greeting"; "a genial host"
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

Stalin was regularly described in the media as "гениальный Сталин", and I was told that at the BBC Monitoring Service (before my time there), this was at one time regularly translated as "the genial Stalin", conjuring up happy images of jolly old Uncle Joe Stalin.


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Adnan Özdemir  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 03:50
Member (2007)
German to Turkish
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Thank you Maestro Jack Dec 21, 2010

Jack Doughty wrote:

As others say, varies with work, but I would think it averages out at about 20%.

Diverting slightly to the subject of genius:
There is no real adjective from this in English, you just have to say "man/work or whatever of genius".
But in Russian, Genius is гений (geniy) and the adjective is гениальный (genialnyy).
This has been known to be confused with the English adjective "genial", which means something quite different.

Genial:
affable: diffusing warmth and friendliness; "an affable smile"; "an amiable gathering"; "cordial relations"; "a cordial greeting"; "a genial host"
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

Stalin was regularly described in the media as "гениальный Сталин", and I was told that at the BBC Monitoring Service (before my time there), this was at one time regularly translated as "the genial Stalin", conjuring up happy images of jolly old Uncle Joe Stalin.


Thank you very much for this informations. I hope to working such you in a long period.

Best wishes
Ado


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:50
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Ingenious Dec 21, 2010

Jack Doughty wrote:
There is no real adjective from this in English, you just have to say "man/work or whatever of genius".


What about 'ingenious'? Here's the Oxford English definition:

ingenious
■ adjective clever, original, and inventive.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:50
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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No Dec 21, 2010

Somehow, my ideal of "seamless" doesn't jive with trying too hard. And one of the worst things I've ever seen on the job is something called "overtranslation". (And it sounds worse in interpreting jobs, where you've got to take it at the first crack).

I believe you wouldn't be here if you didn't have a reasonably higher percentage of "it".

[Edited at 2010-12-21 13:08 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:50
French to German
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And... Dec 21, 2010

Teresa Borges wrote:

Is there a genius among us?

A genius is someone who is both extraordinarily intelligent and extremely creative. Plenty of people are smart and even intelligent, but they aren't quite geniuses because they lack the creative abilities required. Other people are creative to some extent, but they do not have the intellectual capability to harness their creativity. Some famous examples of geniuses include Mozart, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein, who is often used as the classic illustration for a “genius.”

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-genius.htm


a touch of Asperger syndrome may help too (kidding or not kidding?) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:50
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
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My take Dec 21, 2010

55% - Preparation as a result of previous education and experience
20% - Ability to sustain concentration for hours at a time
15% - Willingness to research unknown terms
10% - Ability to type quickly


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:50
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Inspiration? Dec 21, 2010

I somehow don't connect the word "inspiration" with my translation work. I find it fairly enjoyable most of the time, but I can't say I'm "inspired." Music inspires me. When I compose or arrange a piece, I feel inspiration. This is another whole world for me. Translating is a job - interesting sometimes and even fun on occasion, but just a job for me and not my passion. I'm sure others feel differently, though.

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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 02:50
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
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1:99 Dec 21, 2010

Actually, the original quote from Edison is "Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration".

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Egil Presttun  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 02:50
English to Norwegian
Edison's saying Dec 21, 2010

Edison's saying is: Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.

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Mami Y.  Identity Verified
Japan
Member (2008)
English to Japanese
+ ...
not a translation machinery Dec 22, 2010

Unlike machineries, our work is creative at a time, I suppose.
Although a machinery is just ingenious, we are required more skills.
we sometimes have to make a tough choice(generating or selecting appropriate words) .
Here I take 'inspiration' as 'an idea' (maybe some of translators do).
It doesn't always lead to overtranslation.

[Edited at 2010-12-22 07:20 GMT]


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