The essence of translation
Thread poster: Tina Vonhof

Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:57
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Oct 5, 2008

I would like to share this passage from the book "Crescent" by Diana Abu-Jaber (a beautiful book, highly recommended):

"You're not really fluent in a language until it's pretty much invisible to you," Han says. "When I translate, I deal with words as conscious things. You stare at the pages and you know what everything means, in both languages, and you wonder how on earth to make both languages - with all their history and innuendos - mean the same thing."

"When you put it like that, it sounds sort of impossible."

He rubs his palm over his forehead a moment. "Trying to translate Hemingway into Arabic is like trying to translate a bird into a river. Not only do you have to translate the words, you also have to try and translate the feelings and ideas for all kinds of things from one culture to another - like what faith or courage is."

This not really "off-topic" - I think we need a new category: "on the topic of translation".


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:57
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Beautiful Oct 5, 2008

Thanks a lot for sharing it. It's so beautiful and yet, so true.

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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:57
Member
English to Turkish
The essence of translation Oct 5, 2008

Hi Tina,

Thank you for sharing this beautiful quote. You are right that this is not off-[the]topic[of translation], though, and after a brief hesitation (as to whether the Lighter Side would be more appropriate) I've decided to move it here, to Translation Theory and Practice. Please let us know if you have a better idea.

Regards,
Özden


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:57
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No problem Oct 5, 2008

Özden Arıkan wrote:

Hi Tina,

Thank you for sharing this beautiful quote. You are right that this is not off-[the]topic[of translation], though, and after a brief hesitation (as to whether the Lighter Side would be more appropriate) I've decided to move it here, to Translation Theory and Practice. Please let us know if you have a better idea.

Regards,
Özden



Hi Özden,

I would not have thought of putting it there myself because it has to do with the "art" of translation rather than theory and practice but it's no problem. This forum is as good as any, as long as it resonates with people or makes them think.

Tina


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bright21st
China
Local time: 23:57
English to Chinese
+ ...
View from China Oct 6, 2008

In the academic field of China, the context in the translation gains increasing importance. It seems that the translation must balance the two cultures instead of two languages as words are intertwined in a meaning network, where culture plays an important role. Sometimes cultures even make translation impossible.

And what's your view on word for word translation?


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