Help assessing quality of translation of emotional expression (potentially offensive language)
Thread poster: Sebastian Wasserzug

Sebastian Wasserzug  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 14:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 27, 2015

How well do you think the English/Spanish phrases translated below match? Phrases come from a study on emotionality with Spanish-English bilingual subjects (see details below):

Appendix: English and Spanish Stimuli

Spanish and English items were direct translations except where noted.

A Reprimands:
1 Shut up! / ¡Cállate!
2 Now you’re in trouble! / ¡Sabes que me lo vas a pagar! (You’re going to pay for that)
3 Shame on you! / ¡Avergüénzate!
4 Stop that! / ¡Deja eso! (Leave that)
5 Don’t do that! / ¡No hagas eso!
6 No hitting! / ¡Sabes que estas caliente conmigo! (You’re hot with me, more intense in Spanish)
7 Go to your room! / ¡Vete a tu cuarto!
8 That’s not nice! / ¡Estás castigado!

B Insults:
1 Are you crazy? / ¿Eres loca?
2 I never want to see you again! / ¡Nunca más te hablaré! (I will never talk to you again)
3 You are such a loser! / ¡Qué bruta eres! (You’re so stupid)
4 You suck! / ¡Idiota! (You idiot)
5 What a moron! / ¡Canto de estúpida! (Piece of stupid person)
6 You are so fat! / ¡Qué gorda eres!
7 You disgust me! / ¡No quiero verte la cara! (I don’t want to see your face)
8 I hate you! / ¡Te odio!

C Endearments
1 I love you more than anything! / ¡Te amo!
2 You are everything to me! / ¡Eres mi vida! (You are my life)
3 I’ve missed you so much! / ¡Me haces falta!
4 When will I see you again? / ¡Siempre te recordaré! (I will always remember you!)
5 I would die for you! / ¡Sin ti no puedo vivir! (I can’t live without you)
6 I can’t wait to see you! / ¡Me alegra verte! (It makes me happy to see you)
7 Hey, sweetie! / ¿Mi corazón, cómo estás? (My heart, how are you)
8 You are so beautiful! / ¡Eres tan bella!

D Taboo and sexual terms
1 asshole / cabrón
2 pussy / crica
3 dick / maricón (slang term: gay)
4 pee / mear
5 shit / mierda
6 bitch / puta
7 breast / seno
8 raped / violada

E Single word category, sorted by neutral, aversive and positive words
1 box / caja
2 street / calle
3 column / columna
4 finger / dedo
5 table / mesa
6 name / nombre
7 number / numero
8 part / parte
9 dorr / puerta
1 0 branch / rama
11 enevelop / sobre

F Aversive
1 murder / asesinato
2 anger / cólera
3 crime / crimen
4 cruel / crueldad
5 pain / dolor
6 disease / enfermedad
7 war / guerra
8 kill / matar
9 death / muerte
10 fight / pelea
11 danger / peligro
12 grave / tumba

G Positive
1 joy / alegría
2 friend / amigo
3 love / amor
4 kiss / beso
5 home / casa
6 happy / feliz
7 freedom / libertad
8 mother / mamá
9 honey / miel
10 father / papá
11 laugh / risa
12 smile / sonrisa

It came to my attention that there is quite a vast line of research (started around a decade or so ago) that studies emotionality in bilingual speakers by assessing their reactions to verbal input in either their first (L1) or second language (L2). One common way of doing this is with Skin Conductance Resonance (SCR) that measures subtle but significant differences in the levels of sweat in the skin of bilingual experimental participants while they listen to utterances said in their L1 or L2.

A thing one notices right away in these studies is that they don’t seem to use translators to create their bilingual materials and appear to trust bilingual speakers instead (typically one of the authors of any given study). This was also the case for the data in the study from which the “stimulus language” above comes from, whose author (Harris 2004) reports phrases were “translated into Spanish by a native Spanish speaker and verified by an additional Spanish speaker.”

I would like to ask members of Proz.com if they could share their professional assessment in relation to the translations above. Spanish/English bilinguals (students at an American university) listened to these phrases (among others) either in English or in Spanish while SCR was being measured. Main differences were found especially with “reprimands” (see above, directly quoted from the paper). Any Comments? Thanks in advance!


 

Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:37
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Translations Mar 27, 2015

Hello I'm Spanish. My options are in caps.

A Reprimands:
1 Shut up! / ¡Cállate!
2 Now you’re in trouble! / ¡TE VAS A ENTERAR!
3 Shame on you! / ¡QUÉ VERGÜENZA!
4 Stop that! / ¡PARA YA!
5 Don’t do that! / ¡No hagas eso!
6 No hitting! / ¡Sabes que estas caliente conmigo! (You’re hot with me, more intense in Spanish)
7 Go to your room! / ¡Vete a tu cuarto!
8 That’s not nice! / ¡Estás castigado!

B Insults:
1 Are you crazy? / ¿ESTÁ LOCO/A?
2 I never want to see you again! / ¡NO QUIERO VOLVER A VERTE!
3 You are such a loser! / ¡ERES PATÉTICO/A!
4 You suck! / ¡Idiota! (You idiot)
5 What a moron! / ¡Canto de estúpida! (Piece of stupid person)
6 You are so fat! / ¡Qué gorda eres!
7 You disgust me! / ¡No quiero verte la cara! (I don’t want to see your face)
8 I hate you! / ¡Te odio!

C Endearments
1 I love you more than anything! / ¡Te amo!
2 You are everything to me! / ¡Eres mi vida! (You are my life)
3 I’ve missed you so much! / ¡TE HE ECHADO DE MENOS!
4 When will I see you again? / ¡Siempre te recordaré! (I will always remember you!)
5 I would die for you! / ¡Sin ti no puedo vivir! (I can’t live without you)
6 I can’t wait to see you! / ¡SIEMPRE Me alegra verte! (It makes me happy to see you)
7 Hey, sweetie! / ¿cómo estás, CIELO? (My heart, how are you)
8 You are so beautiful! / ¡Eres tan bella!

D Taboo and sexual terms
1 asshole / cabrón
2 pussy / crica
3 dick / maricón (slang term: gay)
4 pee / mear
5 shit / mierda
6 bitch / puta
7 breast / seno
8 raped / violada

E Single word category, sorted by neutral, aversive and positive words
1 box / caja
2 street / calle
3 column / columna
4 finger / dedo
5 table / mesa
6 name / nombre
7 number / numero
8 part / parte
9 dorr / puerta
1 0 branch / rama
11 enevelop / sobre

F Aversive
1 murder / asesinato - HOMICIDIO
2 anger / cólera
3 crime / crimen - DELITO
4 cruel / cruel---
5 pain / dolor
6 disease / enfermedad
7 war / guerra
8 kill / matar
9 death / muerte
10 fight / pelea
11 danger / peligro
12 grave / tumba

G Positive
1 joy / alegría
2 friend / amigo
3 love / amor
4 kiss / beso
5 home / casa
6 happy / feliz
7 freedom / libertad
8 mother / mamá
9 honey / miel
10 father / papá
11 laugh / risa
12 smile / sonrisa


 

Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 13:37
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ha! Mar 27, 2015

Sebastian Wasserzug wrote (amongst other things):

4 When will I see you again? / ¡Siempre te recordaré!



Today – 20+ years too late – I understand why I married the wrong womanicon_frown.gif .

On a (very slightly) more-serious note, I have three doubts/questions about the list of phrases:

1. Is this supposed to be en-US, en-UK or en-Other?
2. Is this supposed to be es-ES, es-AR ... es-VZ?
3. Is this supposed to be contemporary language (if not, when was that list compiled)?

IOW, these things tend to be extremely limited, geo-linguistically speaking, and tend to have short life-spans.


 

Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 13:37
Spanish to English
+ ...
More ideas Mar 27, 2015

If only to emphasise the need for context as regards language variants and subject field, I offer the following list of a few (certainly not all) of the phrases for which my ‘gut reaction’ would differ from the list presented by OP:

A4 Stop that! – ¡Basta ya!
A9 That’s not nice! - ¡Que feo!

C3 I’ve missed you so much! – ¡Me hicistes tanta falta!

D3 dick – pene (but when I was in primary school 55+ years ago, ‘dick’ was equivalent to ‘thick’, as in thick-head’ = dimwit)

F2 anger – enojo
F3 crime – delito
F9 death – fallecimiento, difunción
F10 fight – lucha
F12 grave – sepultura

G5 home – hogar
G8 mother – madre
G10 father - padre

That said, I recognise that perceptions in the area of 'emotive language' are driven as much - if not more - by personal experience than they are by the academic niceties of liguistic study.


 

Danik 2014
Brazil
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Research? Mar 28, 2015

Are you researching this terms for an academic purpose?

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:37
Spanish to English
+ ...
Variants? Context? Degree? Mar 28, 2015

I think we need more context before deciding. There are many possible options depending on the source and target variants. For example, the (repugnant IMHO) term) "crica" is definitely more Latino rather than European.

And my first option for ”Now you’re in trouble” would be “Ahora te vas a enterar” (TE VAS A ENTERAR DE LO QUE VALE UN PEINE).

Or "I’ve missed you so much!" – Te he echado tanto de menos.

But then again, I’m not a native Spanish speaker.


 

Sebastian Wasserzug  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 14:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks + clarification... Mar 28, 2015

Thanks for all comments -much appreciated!

Although... I am trying to establish the *quality* of the translation overall (and not so much how translated phrases could have been different). I would like to know this: Do you consider the translated sample phrases overall appropriate…? Yes/No?

If not, which one and why do you think is/are inappropriate? (for example, “X is not as colloquial as the English”; “Y significantly differs in tone/force/register”; etc.).

The “context” is this: an experimental study where bilingual subjects hear emotional and neutral phrases/words (audibly, with headphones) either in English or Spanish. But L1/L2 expressions are never "repeated". i.e. if they hear “amigo,” they won’t hear “friend” and vice versa –all while their SCR (a measure of emotional arousal) is taken. The premise is that if there exists a difference between the emotional arousal of “friend” say, over “amigo”, then it could be said that these bilingual subjects experience “more emotion” when that concept is expressed in one rather than the other language. Subjects heard these sentences (alternating the Spa/Eng but without "repeated" L1/L2 phrases) without any other/any more context... That is to say, the description I just made *IS* the context!

Thanks in advance!


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 19:37
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Country Mar 28, 2015

As noted by others, Spanish is heavily dialectal, so the country does matter. Any English phrase might have a really good translation that conveys the same content & emotional charge in one variety of Spanish but means something else, is nonsensical or just plain sounds weird in another.

In any case, why would anyone expect differences in subjects' reaction? If they are reasonably evenly balanced bilinguals and were exposed to both languages in personal/family environments, these term pairs will register the same way with them, surely?


 

Sebastian Wasserzug  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 14:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarifications Mar 29, 2015

Thanks for all for comments!

The research from which the phrases above come took place in 2004. I have nothing to do with this research.

But what I would like to know is what people who translate more or less professionally think about the quality of the translations above… that’s all. I personally think there are some issues, but I would like to have some confirmation or disconfirmation from this forum.

There is of course the issue of Spanish (perhaps most big languages too) being “heavily dialectical” mentioned by FarkasAndras. I am Argentinean, and didn’t know a couple of the Spanish terms (“crica”, “Canto” [in ¡Canto de estúpida!). In the paper reporting this research paradigm little is said about where the subjects were from... except mentioning that at least some of them were Latin Americans (research took place in a university in the US).

Since the Spanish phrases were heard (audibly, with headphones), and the subjects’ “sweat” was measured while at it (more sweat = more emotional), I wonder if some of the research conclusions are actually more a result of the translations themselves than because of emotionality…

So, to clarify (sorry!), I would like to know:

1) How would you EVALUATE the translated phrases OVERALL? Good, alright, problematic, bad, etc.
2) WHICH ONE/S do you find problematic if any?
3) You DON’T NEED to propose better translations –just only to state if you find any of the translated phrases problematic and WHY (knowing, as you now know!, how the research paradigm was conducted, explained in my first and subsequent posts).
4) Any other issues you find problematic with the research/translations?

Thanks a lot!


 

Timote Suladze  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 20:37
Italian to Russian
+ ...
¿Está o estás? Mar 31, 2015

Susana E. Cano Méndez wrote:
1 Are you crazy? / ¿ESTÁ LOCO/A?


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:37
Spanish to English
+ ...
Overall rating Mar 31, 2015

Sebastian Wasserzug wrote:


1) How would you EVALUATE the translated phrases OVERALL? Good, alright, problematic, bad, etc. - TOO USA-CENTRIC. IT SEEMS THAT WHOEVER PUT THE EXPERIMENT TOGETHER THOUGHT THAT SPANISH AND ENGLISH WERE MORE UNIVERSAL THAN THEY REALLY ARE.
2) WHICH ONE/S do you find problematic if any? FOR EXAMPLE, THE ONES THAT SEEMED UNFAMILIAR EVEN TO LATAM SPANISH NATIVES PEAKERS (crica/canto...)
3) You DON’T NEED to propose better translations –just only to state if you find any of the translated phrases problematic and WHY (knowing, as you now know!, how the research paradigm was conducted, explained in my first and subsequent posts). I FIND THE BASIC PREMISE OF THE RESEARCH RATHER POINTLESS AND ITS METHODOLOGICAL ORGANIZATION SHAKY.
4) Any other issues you find problematic with the research/translations? ALREADY CITED BY COLLEAGUES ROBIN AND SUSANA.

Thanks a lot!


 


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