How do you translate a sentence written in a third language?
Thread poster: Helena Diaz del Real

Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:48
German to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 13, 2006

Hello!

This is a question about your mind and how do you handle with it. As I do not know how to put the question in a few words, I make it with an exemple, ok? (which languages do I mention are not important)

Well: You have an italian text to translate into german. And few times, in the text, there are few sentences in english.

How do you make the reader see, that there is something in another completely different language?

Now imagine, in the mentioned text, you find a german sentence.

Same question: How do you let the reader know there is a sentence in his own language?
Do you let him know thatat all?

I thank you very much for your answers and hope it was explained not too complicated!

Good luck and happy 2006!
Helena


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 05:48
Member (2005)
English to German
comment on it? Jan 13, 2006

First situation: English in Ita>Ger translation: why do you want to translate it at all? If it is English in the Italian original, let it be English in the German translation?!

Second situation: English in Ita>En translation:
"...", he said in English.
She quoted in English: "..."

Or am I too technically-minded and this is beneath the honour of a literary translator?




[Edited at 2006-01-13 09:56]


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Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:48
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You are right Jan 13, 2006

Hi Ricki!

Thank you very much for your quick help.

The matter is that sometimes the autor of the text, himself, makes a sort of translation and so you are obliged to repeat the translation.

In my own case, now, I have a german text into spanisch about a team that makes a trip around Mexico. Sometimes, there are english expressions in that or if they meet any native, the writter of the text tells the sentences exactly as he said them to the mexicans and their exactly answer. As sometimes it seems like a conversation in spanish, I don't know how to quotate it.

I thank you once more for your help.
Schöne Grüße
Helena


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Deschant
Local time: 04:48
Italics Jan 13, 2006

I have sometimes seen this kind of situations (in books in Spanish) handled in this way: the sentence is printed in italics with an asterisk at the end which leads to a note which says "in Spanish (German, English...) in the original".

If there's more than a sentence in the same page/chapter, usually only the first one bears an asterisk. The other ones are just printed in italics.

Personally I don't like this solution very much, I think it destroys the effect of the foreign language in the original text, but I really can't propose a better solution.

[Edited at 2006-01-13 15:05]


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Diana Golubova
Local time: 05:48
English to Macedonian
+ ...
Footnotes Jan 13, 2006

Helena1962 wrote:

Hello!

This is a question about your mind and how do you handle with it. As I do not know how to put the question in a few words, I make it with an exemple, ok? (which languages do I mention are not important)

Well: You have an italian text to translate into german. And few times, in the text, there are few sentences in english.

How do you make the reader see, that there is something in another completely different language?

Now imagine, in the mentioned text, you find a german sentence.

Same question: How do you let the reader know there is a sentence in his own language?
Do you let him know thatat all?

I thank you very much for your answers and hope it was explained not too complicated!

Good luck and happy 2006!
Helena


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:48
French to English
+ ...
Indicate this somehow Jan 13, 2006

I would, if possible, provide a translation into the target language (one of the advantages of working with several!) and provide some sort of indication (a bracketed notation, a footnote, or something of that sort) that makes it clear what language the original was in. Of course like most principles of translation, this approach is highly dependent on the context and target audience and I can certainly imagine situations where that would be undesirable. I mostly deal with legal texts, however, where accuracy and faithfulness to the original are at a premium.

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shule  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:48
English to Turkish
+ ...
Italics plus asteriks and footnote Jan 13, 2006

I would keep the sentence in third language as it is but preferably in italics. Add an asterisk (*) (and similar symbols if there are more than one page) You can refer to Word's deepnote options for the following symbols.

If any expression is used frequently during the translation text you don't need to translate it each time.

This was just what the translator used in a book of Elif Safak I have just read where many third language expressions were used.( "The Saint of Incipient Insanities")

[Edited at 2006-01-14 19:22]


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Bianca Adriaensen  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:48
English to Dutch
+ ...
more languages in one translation Jan 14, 2006

Hi Sule.

Most of my clients prefer a symbol like the asterisk *, plus a short line in the footnote in which I refer to an entirely new, last page.
The new page contains the source sentence, the translation in the main (first) language and the translation in the other (second) language. In the text itself the sentence remains the same, without distracting the reader's attention. If necessary, the reader can look up the translation him/herself.

I hope this does not make things worse for you when deciding what's the best method for your customer...


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:48
Member
English to Turkish
May also depend on the type of translation Jan 15, 2006

Hi Helena,

It seems to me that you are rather referring to literary translation. Well, I just hate to add footnotes in literary texts, in fiction, to be more precise, especially if the 3rd language sentences are many and frequent. For the first situation you describe:


Well: You have an italian text to translate into german. And few times, in the text, there are few sentences in english.

How do you make the reader see, that there is something in another completely different language?


I leave them as they are and try to make the reader get the meaning with small additions; for instance, if the original English sentence was "She had a funny chapeau", I would translate it as "She had a funny chapeau on her head" and so on. I once had to deal with a text interspersed with many Yiddish phrases and terms, and applied this solution throughout. As far as I can tell, it worked, and otherwise -with footnotes, that is- the flow would be interrupted too often and that would be annoying for the reader. However, care should be taken to avoid creating something that's not there. In some places of the same text where the 3rd language insert was a full sentence, I just repeated it between quotation marks in the target language, again avoiding notes.


As for your second situation,


Same question: How do you let the reader know there is a sentence in his own language?
Do you let him know that at all?


I also had this one, but it was an academic text about Turkey and the author had already given Turkish quotes with all their references (publication date, page number, etc.), so I didn't need to add any note to make the reader aware that it was in the target language already. However, in a different scenario where it was not a quote, I think the best thing to do is add a note like "...ish in the original". I do think the translator should make the reader know this, although in cases where you have only words (concepts or names of objects, for instance), but not sentences written in the target language, italics might serve the same purpose without any interference by the translator.


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