Meanings of the word "interpretation" (ex. how will what you write be interpreted by the reader)
Thread poster: George Trail

George Trail  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:17
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
May 15, 2010

"Interpretation" is a very common word to those in the languages industry; but not just because "interpretation" is the speaking equivalent of translation. Anyone expecting to be taken seriously as a translator should not only be very careful to translate the material in the original document of a particular project accurately, but also consider how what they write will truly be interpreted by the reader. Now, I am nearly always generally comfortable that, during a translation project, my work will be accepted as "good" and "high quality" - but whenever I do send a completed product off to an awaiting client or translation agency, I always keep a record of it on my computer, because, to be frank, I know better than to be surprised if the person receiving it would still want to ask me any questions about the translated product, even with my skill set and experience. Perhaps one of the biggest sources of unnervingly complex and hard-to-discuss-coherently uncertainty in the field of translation, is the idea of the actual interpretation of something. To wit: yes, people misinterpret or misunderstand things from time to time without being any the wiser (and will not necessarily understand the truth when one tries to point it out to them); but people always talk of the "interpretation" of laws and regulations, which would explain why the law can be so contraversial sometimes - look up the term "loophole" and read the Baby P story. I believe that translators cannot do their work effectively without approaching a particular piece of material to be translated at all angles, but there is also a requirement of speculating multiple interpretations of the translated product in production, even "creating" hypothetical interpretations. If that is hard to follow I'm sorry; but I promise only to use plain language. I'll put forth an example. I have considerably enjoyed playing the gamebook "Legend of Zagor" ( I want to refer us to that bit in the rules that talks about the "Fast Hands" spell. Here is the ipsissima verba description of what it is and what it does: "Fast Hands (costs 2 Magic Points) This spell can be cast immediately before any combat but not during one. For the first three Attack rounds of the combat, you may roll the dice twice when working out your Attack Strength and take the higher total rolled." When I first started playing this book, when I read this the very first time, my interpretation of this was: normally when you are fighting someone in the gamebook you perform Attack Rounds (as many as necessary until the fight is over); each Attack Round consists of rolling two dice for your enemy and two for yourself and whoever gets the higher total wins the Attack Round, the result being that they will be the one to inflict damage on their enemy as reflected in an appropriate reduction of their enemy's Stamina points. Anyway, my original interpretation of what the Fast Hands spell meant was that whenever I was in a combat and working out my Attack Strength for an Attack Round in which I was using the Fast Hands spell, I would get two chances, rather than one, to roll a higher Attack Strength than my enemy, by rolling two dice for myself in the usual way. But I would eventually get so into playing this gamebook that I actually deliberately placed an alternative interpretation on the description of the Fast Hands spell. I.e..: when working out your Attack Strength, roll the two dice twice; thus accruing an accumulatively high single Attack Strength total of four dice rolls, rather than determining two separate totals with two rolls of two dice and taking the higher of those totals. Who could argue that the former idea has a much higher chance of success, even against very strong enemies? Actually, I wonder if my own interpretation of the description of the Fast Hands spell was what was meant by Mr. Livingstone from the beginning. Then again, of the four characters you can choose to play as (a barbarian, a warrior, a dwarf and a wizard), you are never able to use this spell if you are playing as the barbarian (in fact, I know the game well enough that if you are playing as anyone other than the wizard, you can never ever gain an increase your Magic Points Initial score, no matter what you do - you need a Magic Points Initial score of at least 2 to use the Fast Hands spell and the barbarian's can never ever be higher than 1). The barbarian, for all his traits compared to the other characters, would appear to be at a considerable disadvantage here. But that's just my opinion.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-05-16 12:19 GMT]


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Meanings of the word "interpretation" (ex. how will what you write be interpreted by the reader)

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