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Thread poster: xxxAdrian MM.
xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 23:11
French to English
+ ...
Sep 13, 2008

Would it be right, in a translation, to qualify - with inverted commas or by adding the Latin term sic. - legal, historical or political facts that are suspect or should we allow ourselves to be instrumental in propagating untruths e.g. downright lies?

For instance, mis-informed Austrian/German journalists wrote, just last month, that 'suicide is a capital offence in the UK'. But there are now no capital offences, short of treason, plus suicide - previously an imprisonable offence and non-insurable event - was decriminalised in 1961.

[Edited at 2008-09-14 19:56]


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Marketing-Lang.  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:11
English to German
+ ...
My mother said don't tell lies... Sep 17, 2008

I take up dubious issues directly with the customer. If you have a problem, don't do the translation at all. If you are contactually bound then a) try to get out of it and b) be more careful about the materials you take on next time. That would be my advice. HTH. -M-

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:11
Member (2006)
French to English
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Insert a translator's note Sep 17, 2008

In the case of information that is actually wrong, such as the statement that there is a death penalty in the UK, I'd insert a footnote (headed "Translator's note") pointing it out.
As regards matters of opinion (political, religious, etc.) I think it's not the translator's job to comment and if you've accepted the job, just translate it.
Regards,
Jenny.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:11
French to English
+ ...
not a straight choice Sep 17, 2008

Tom Thumb wrote:

Would it be right, in a translation, to qualify - with inverted commas or by adding the Latin term sic. - legal, historical or political facts that are suspect or should we allow ourselves to be instrumental in propagating untruths e.g. downright lies?


You write as though there were a choice between only these two options (propagate lies vs altering the translation to reflect the truth as you see it). There are many more, not the least of which is raising the matter with the client before anything is submitted/published.


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xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 23:11
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Already in the public domain in the source language Sep 17, 2008

Many thanks for the lovely cogent comments so far.

I hasten to add that, in the case of the article on 'British' law, it - like misleading comments in documentary films on a variety of countries like Paraguay, Cuba, Israel and Poland - is already in the public domain in the respective source lingos.

Even when I've raised the matter with the film-makers at film-festival screenings, their infuriating attitude is: 'the film has already been made and is doing the rounds. We are not going to withdraw it from circulation, even though your criticism may be historically right'.

[Edited at 2008-09-17 08:01]

[Edited at 2008-09-17 08:02]


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Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:11
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
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mistakes can still be corrected Sep 17, 2008

I still think the best policy is to simply bring it to the client's attention and let them decide how to handle it. Just because the source document has been published (I think that's what you mean by in the public domain) doesn't mean that subsequent republication or translation cannot correct factual errors in the original--for example, by using an editorial comment in square brackets if it's an informal sort of publication or a footnote if it's an academic text.

I wouldn't recommend using (or your recommending to the client the use of) inverted commas would not help the reader understand the problem. [sic] likewise does not tell the reader what the error consists of.

Factual errors in documentary films seem like a somewhat different situation than an informational text, and after sitting here thinking about it for a good minute or two I think I can put my finger on why (at least for me);

A documentary film of the sort that travels to international film festivals is *not*, ultimately, a neutral or factual source of opinion, but rather an artistic statement. Plus the fact that you can't really "fix" a factual error in a film the way you can in a written text.


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xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 23:11
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Translated sub- or sur-titles Sep 17, 2008

Kathryn Litherland wrote:

A documentary film of the sort that travels to international film festivals is *not*, ultimately, a neutral or factual source of opinion, but rather an artistic statement. Plus the fact that you can't really "fix" a factual error in a film the way you can in a written text.


Thanks for that, Kathryn. All of the the foreign-language documentaries I am referring to were sub-titled into-English or into-German translations.

You are implying the subtitled versions cannot be corrected or comments added inverted commas. The mechanics of film-making suggest you are right. I have never heard of a wrongly subtitled film or wrongly/sparingly = misleadingly surtitled play, opera or operetta for stage being recalled for editing, even to constant audience complaints, but others may have.

[Edited at 2008-09-17 16:22]

[Edited at 2008-09-17 16:23]


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:11
English to Hungarian
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Kart before horse? Sep 19, 2008

Tom Thumb wrote:

Would it be right, in a translation, to qualify - with inverted commas or by adding the Latin term sic. - legal, historical or political facts that are suspect or should we allow ourselves to be instrumental in propagating untruths e.g. downright lies?

For instance, mis-informed Austrian/German journalists wrote, just last month, that 'suicide is a capital offence in the UK'. But there are now no capital offences, short of treason, plus suicide - previously an imprisonable offence and non-insurable event - was decriminalised in 1961.

[Edited at 2008-09-14 19:56]


It would be hilarious, if the subject were not so sad.

Suicide as a capital offence?

I mean, for somebody, who committed suicide, it is neither here nor there, and for the failed ones it could be blessing in disguise.

Turning to the actual problem, the translator doesn't have the right to imply within the text that there is a gaffe in it.
The previous comments gave you the options.

The only thing I can add that subtitles can be changed, and it does happen. Sometimes because the distributor changes, or the purpose of the release - from screen to TV or DVD for example. Strange it may seem they often get re-translated.
Sometimes the studio decides to release a special edition, and the subtitles are corrected, or the film itself changes slightly because of time restrictions or other reasons.

The mistake in this case is in the original, and that is more difficult to influence, but that is - strictly speaking - their problem.


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xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 23:11
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Film subtitles and opera surtitles Sep 19, 2008

juvera wrote:

It would be hilarious, if the subject were not so sad.

Suicide as a capital offence?

I mean, for somebody, who committed suicide, it is neither here nor there, and for the failed ones it could be blessing in disguise.

.......

The only thing I can add that subtitles can be changed, and it does happen.


Koszönöm szepen. I could not rule out the prospect of film subtitles having been and being retranslated. Let's see whether Opera Houses in London & Vienna (no names mentioned) change their sometimes misguided surtitles.

Incidentally, (failed of course) suicide used to be an imprisonable offence in the UK. Many admissions to the erstwhile House of Detention in Clerkenwell of London - operating until 100 years ago - were for attempted suicides.


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