Poll: Have you studied the semantic and/or syntactic differences between your source and target languages?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:22
SITE STAFF
Nov 12, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you studied the semantic and/or syntactic differences between your source and target languages?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ma.Elena Carrión de Medina. View the poll results »



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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Both Nov 12, 2017

I wrote about both, as well as other characteristics of language, in my doctoral thesis and various journal articles.

[Edited at 2017-11-12 09:35 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Those differences are just the beginning Nov 12, 2017

Whoever studies a language in depth will stumble on semantics, lexicogrammatical and other linguistic aspects of a language. Then, by din of deliberate or indirect comparison, one will detect differences when studying a second or third language.

But languages are not just repositories of words and sentences. They never were. They carry many other passengers across the bridges that separate languages, facial expressions being one category. If you go by the semantic load of an expression and disregard the metalinguistic features it contains or refers to, your interpretation of the text will be incomplete.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:22
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Both Nov 12, 2017

How can one learn a language without syntax and semantics?

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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:22
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Both Nov 12, 2017

and keep on studying it on my own.

To Mario: You make a lot of sense, for once.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I took a pragmatic stance Nov 12, 2017

No, I never studied them formally. Instead, I am always exercising my skill in understanding the ideas behind the words in phrases, and expressing them as a speaker of the target language (I translate in both directions) would naturally do it.

Keep in mind that I began translating professionally decades before computers, the Internet, etc. came up. Something then led me to the misbelief that a professional translator must translate in both directions, and still preserve the same natural fluency, regardless. This caused me to relinquish translating from two languages (IT/FR) that I still speak, as I wouldn't be able to translate INTO them with the same natural fluency as I'd translate FROM them into PT. Nowadays I see many translators working only FROM EN with a significantly lesser fluency in it than I had in these two I discarded.

The only catch is that I MUST understand the ideas behind the source text. This forced me to declare off-limits a few areas of human knowledge, of which I don't understand squat, not even in PT. I list these areas boldly as "not served" on my web site.


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Daniela Slankamenac  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 09:22
Member (2011)
English to Serbian
Yes Nov 12, 2017

Yes, both. Plus, I attended the course in contrastive analysis of English and Serbian during my studies. It was one of the toughest exams

[Edited at 2017-11-12 14:50 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sensemaking Nov 12, 2017

Yetta J Bogarde wrote:

and keep on studying it on my own.

To Mario: You make a lot of sense, for once.


Ms. Bogarde, I fail to see the need for personal assumptions, ironic or otherwise.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:22
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not consciously studied Nov 12, 2017

Not studied in the sense of taking courses or studied on my own. A few books were helpful along the way but mostly I learned as I went along and I'm still learning new little things every day. That's what keeps translation so interesting.

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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 09:22
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
No Nov 13, 2017

Really?

Yep. Words in Spanish are rather different to English words and even those that look the same don't always mean the same thing.

Suppose that covers semantics.

Syntactic?

Well, in Spanish I can say "Came Juan yesterday" without anyone batting an eyelid.....so again, that's different.

Only someone who's totally clueless could possible ask such an inane question.


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:22
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, both Nov 13, 2017

I have deeply studied both languages and the respective grammar, spelling, etc. So I did study the differences, equivalences, variations, etc. But I have never taken a specific course or subject in this topic, and I think that would be the kind of course non-fluents or non-natives would need.

[Edited at 2017-11-13 15:49 GMT]


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Poll: Have you studied the semantic and/or syntactic differences between your source and target languages?

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