overtranslation

English translation: unnecessary translation, translation giving information that is not in the original or using words in broader meaning

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:overtranslation
English translation:unnecessary translation, translation giving information that is not in the original or using words in broader meaning

12:43 Apr 17, 2005
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Linguistics / Translation Business Terminology
English term or phrase: overtranslation
Dear colleagues,

At the moment I'm evaluating sample En>Ru translations done by other people. In one work I have come across a flaw which I don't know how to characterise by one word. A term 'overtranslation' has come into my mind but I'm not sure it is a proper one. That's why I would like to ask you to explain the exact meaning of the term so that I could be sure how to use it correctly. Thank you.
Nikita Kobrin
not for grading
Explanation:
May I state an opinion?

Some words are rich and have multiple interpretations while other words are specific and to the point. When we translate we select words which are the closest in meaning. Sometimes, due to ego or ignorance, we choose a term which is richer and not as precise. To me, that can lead to overtranslation. (the opposite is also possible). It's as if we are filling in little blanks left by the author.

The boy went to school on a rainy day.
The youngster/adolescent/child ran/hurried/walked/ to school in a thunderous storm/under a fine drizzle.
Selected response from:

RHELLER
United States
Local time: 05:40
Grading comment
Thank you Kurt, Lucy, Rita and all others who took time to discuss my question. In addition to all suggestions posted here I have also found on the Net ATA guidelines called Framework for Error Marking. After reading everything I have come to the conclusion that in my case (too many words) it's better to use the term "Addition" (a kind of Mistranslation according to ATA definition) and to keep the term "Overtranslation" for cases described in the answers by Kurt (unnecessary translation), Lucy (information that is not in the original) and Rita (broader meaning).
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +9Too wordy
Kurt Porter
3 +6not for grading
RHELLER
4 +5giving information not in the original
Lucy Phillips


Discussion entries: 4





  

Answers


7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +9
Too wordy


Explanation:
Without a bit more context, I'd say the the translations you're looking at are a bit padded? Using too many words, when brevity would suffice, therefore driving up the price? If so, too wordy is fine.

Another example is unecessary translation. This is from the below link: "And to translate the names of newspapers - Frankfurt News for Frankfurter Zeitung, Berlin Daily News-Sheet for Berliner Tageblatt, Racial Observer for Völkischer Beobachter - is just silly. At one point Evans cites a contemporary article from The New York Times. A German historian might well do the same, but he would call it The New York Times, and not translate it into Die Neuyorker Zeiten."



    Reference: http://www.languagehat.com/archives/001635.php
Kurt Porter
Local time: 16:40
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Pike: second definition is what we were taught...
7 mins
  -> Pike, thank you and concur.

agree  Dina Abdo
2 hrs
  -> thank you.

agree  tappi_k
2 hrs
  -> thank you.

agree  Can Altinbay: Yes, asker should use "too wordy" here. Your explanation of overtranslation is good.
3 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Alfa Trans (X)
4 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Alexandra Tussing
7 hrs
  -> Thank you, Alexandra.

agree  Fuad Yahya: If the fault is "too many words," then "wordiness" or "padding" is the name of the fault. I would reserve "overtranslation" for translating what is not to be translated.
10 hrs
  -> Thank you, Fuad. Good distinction.

agree  Java Cafe
2 days 21 mins
  -> Thank you, Java Cafe.

agree  María Leonor Acevedo-Miranda
1797 days
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +5
giving information not in the original


Explanation:
Hi Nikita

I think I would define 'overtranslation' as a translation that gives information that is not in the original. For example, you often have to deal with texts where a meaning is slightly unclear and it can be tempting to try to improve on the original and make it clearer. Sometimes this could be a good thing - perhaps you are dealing with a badly written marketing text or similar - but generally I guess you have to try not to rewrite things!

This might also be defined as 'overinterpretation' I suppose.

I don't think it's just 'too wordy' - that might simply be someone's clumsy writing style, or could be due to the fact that the target language has no way of saying something as concisely as in the source language.

Lucy Phillips
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:40
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 2

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  humbird: Good definition of "overtranslation".
48 mins

agree  RHELLER: I have often seen this (overinterpretation) in French kudoz - I don't think we have the right to make assumptions in the author's name
57 mins

agree  Can Altinbay: Good definition. You may also have a point re "wordy".
1 hr

agree  Alexandra Tussing: possible
5 hrs

agree  Robert Donahue (X)
3 days 3 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +6
not for grading


Explanation:
May I state an opinion?

Some words are rich and have multiple interpretations while other words are specific and to the point. When we translate we select words which are the closest in meaning. Sometimes, due to ego or ignorance, we choose a term which is richer and not as precise. To me, that can lead to overtranslation. (the opposite is also possible). It's as if we are filling in little blanks left by the author.

The boy went to school on a rainy day.
The youngster/adolescent/child ran/hurried/walked/ to school in a thunderous storm/under a fine drizzle.

RHELLER
United States
Local time: 05:40
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 59
Grading comment
Thank you Kurt, Lucy, Rita and all others who took time to discuss my question. In addition to all suggestions posted here I have also found on the Net ATA guidelines called Framework for Error Marking. After reading everything I have come to the conclusion that in my case (too many words) it's better to use the term "Addition" (a kind of Mistranslation according to ATA definition) and to keep the term "Overtranslation" for cases described in the answers by Kurt (unnecessary translation), Lucy (information that is not in the original) and Rita (broader meaning).

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Can Altinbay: Good point!
32 mins
  -> thanks Can :-)

agree  Charlie Bavington (X): although you could have said "eductional establishment for juveniles", just to ram the point home :-) But yes, a good point indeed.
1 hr
  -> "juvy"is juvenile hall in the U.S; parallel to prison for minors! - but yes, of course, I could "drive" or "hammer" the point home by using "place of learning" or some such expression :-)

agree  Alexandra Tussing: :)
4 hrs

agree  Java Cafe
1 day 21 hrs

agree  Robert Donahue (X): Nice...
3 days 2 hrs

agree  María Leonor Acevedo-Miranda: YES, VERY GOOD POINT
1796 days
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