Confessions of a Translator
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:42
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 18

"If you’ve ever been particularly moved by a line of dialog I translated; if something pithy spoke to you in some way, or had some meaning to you; if you thought something was cool or inspiring, or even if you laughed at a joke—that was probably me, not the original...."

http://www.tcj.com/confessions-of-a-manga-translator/

[Edited at 2017-08-18 19:50 GMT]


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Hedwig Lugaro  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 16:42
Spanish to French
+ ...
Nice article! Aug 18

Really nice, thank you for sharing. I love the Rule of Rubin

Cheers!


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 04:42
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Cultural diplomat Aug 19

LegalTransform wrote:

"If you’ve ever been particularly moved by a line of dialog I translated; if something pithy spoke to you in some way, or had some meaning to you; if you thought something was cool or inspiring, or even if you laughed at a joke—that was probably me, not the original...."

http://www.tcj.com/confessions-of-a-manga-translator/

[Edited at 2017-08-18 19:50 GMT]


Your topic is quite uneasy to differentiate a translator from an editor of paraphrases. Right now cultural interpretation requires extraordinary talents. This topic is a very good material to study how to translate literature excellently.
This also hints me it is better for novice translators to avoid translation of novels, fictions or non-technical contexts.

Dr. Soonthon Lupkitaro
Bangkok, Thailand


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Carole Wolfe  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:42
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Creativity always enters into a translator's work Aug 19

Thank you for this posting. It made me realize how important it is for the translator to be creative and have good writing skills. Even if you translate medical documents, creativity is involved in how you order your words and make transitions between sentences and paragraphs.
I think I'll try a technique mentioned in the article: His first step is not to read the comic book through but to read and translate each sentence from the beginning with fresh eyes and then go back and make corrections. I can apply this procedure to documents.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:42
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
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Thanks for sharing! Aug 19

Nice read...

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Agneta Pallinder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:42
Member (2014)
Swedish to English
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Don't ignore the comments! Aug 20

Very interesting article - and the comments (including replies by the author) are also well worth reading.

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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:42
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Still more derivative than creative Aug 20

LegalTransform wrote:
"If you’ve ever been particularly moved by a line of dialog I translated; if something pithy spoke to you in some way, or had some meaning to you; if you thought something was cool or inspiring, or even if you laughed at a joke—that was probably me, not the original...."
http://www.tcj.com/confessions-of-a-manga-translator/

[Edited at 2017-08-18 19:50 GMT]


I read this a few days back, I think from a link somebody provided on Twitter. I have some sympathy for the arguments of the author of the article. Naturally enough I think translators should be recognized for their skills. Nevertheless, the fact - glossed over in that article, I felt - is that translators are not the originators of the work.

Take the source text away from the translator, and what is left? How many could write something original that would be published in its own right? If the author of the article is really that talented, why isn't he able to leave people moved by a line of dialog that he has written himself without using an existing body of work as a crutch?

Those that can do that tend to already be established writers in their own right, such as Haruki Murakami, mentioned in the article, who is himself also a translator. Translation may be an art form (I am not claiming that I could translate literary fiction as well as somebody like Michael Hulse), but it requires as its departure point an existing work of art. In that sense it is, and always will be, secondary. The gilding of a beautiful and intricately carved piece of wood may be extremely skilful, but ultimately it is utterly dependent on the piece of wood. It is a derivative act.

Somebody made a sensible point in the comments to the article. They have read Murakami in three languages and they argued that Murakami is recognisably Murakami in each language. I have only read Murakami in two languages, but I agree that there is a recognisable "feel" to his works. While I would not deny that traditionally the role of translators into English seems to have been underappreciated, I feel this article veers the other way and oversells that same role.

Regards,
Dan


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