2
   

Literal Translation and Free Translation,Which to Choose?

 
 
Reply Fri 8 Apr, 2016 11:50 am
Literal translation and free translation, which is better?Actually, this question has pazzled me few years since I studied English.
On the one hand, I think we should be faithful to the original so literal translation is a good choice to show an original culture.
But on the other hand, because of the culture differences, sometimes literal translation is hard for ordinary people to understand, so it seems like that free translation is "easy-going".
However, most of the time we read foreign novels because we want to get different thoughts from other countries to enrich ourselves. If the foreign novels are just translated into our language with our thought, how can we get the thought from other cultures?
So how can we balance the two ways of translation?
Thanks in advance!
 
Tes yeux noirs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Apr, 2016 12:00 pm
Please say more clearly what you mean by 'literal translation' and 'free translation'.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Fri 8 Apr, 2016 04:46 pm
A literal translation can lead to confusion if an idiom or other figure of speech doesn't exist in the language into which they are being translated so an approximation or explanatory translation of that expression or figure of speech would help to avoid any confusion. The problem is that it would not be a faithful translation of that figure of speech and might lead to the stifling of an artistic intent behind it.

Along similar lines, unfortunate subtitles or dubs in foreign movies abound and can leave viewers scratching their heads in bewilderment or laughing at unintentionally humorous ones. When I watch movies in Spanish I frequently find myself thinking that this line or that line of dialogue could have been better transcribed in the English subtitles.
Tes yeux noirs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Apr, 2016 04:51 pm
So a 'literal translation' is something like what Babelfish or Google Translate produce? (I.e. not much use?), and not what any reasonably competent human translator would produce.

mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Apr, 2016 09:56 am
@littleluking,
Just form a universal language.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  3  
Reply Sat 9 Apr, 2016 03:19 pm
@Tes yeux noirs,
Tes yeux noirs wrote:

So a 'literal translation' is something like what Babelfish or Google Translate produce? (I.e. not much use?), and not what any reasonably competent human translator would produce.

The level of competency varies among translators. Also, even among highly competent translators there exists the dilemma of how to deal with one language's idioms that don't exists in another.
0 Replies
 
littleluking
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2016 08:33 pm
@InfraBlue,
First of all,thanks a lot!I'm really excited that you understand what I mean.Yes.,just like the subtitles of foreign movies,sometimes when I watch them,I really think native people will know what it means but people from another countries will not. So as a English major who want to be a translator,how I could do with it?
0 Replies
 
littleluking
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Apr, 2016 09:13 am
@Tes yeux noirs,
no no not that means. Let me take an example. I want to translate an English article into Chinese. If I use literal translation, I will translate it in a American thinking way. but if I use the free translation, maybe I will use the Chinese thinking way,I mean, the translation may be different from the original article but will be easy for Chinese people to understand.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Apr, 2016 09:26 am
If you translate litteratur it has to be the way the author thinks.
So you have to study the author.
And you have to know what he is talking about.
I read the book "Beloved" and in English a person living in Georgia " walked to the Miami burial ground"
In the Swedish translation is was "walked to the Miami Indian burial ground"
This showed the Swede knew that there were Miami Indians.
The German translation was
"walked to Miami to the cementry" So this tranlater did not know about Indians and not the difference between a burial ground and a cementry.
Plus only knew about Miami as a city and did not even look on the map how far Georgia and Miami are from one another.
Poems are very difficult to translate.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Apr, 2016 09:28 am
@saab,
saab wrote:

Poems are very difficult to translate.


I was just thinking about how it takes a truly gifted translator to work with poetry.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Apr, 2016 10:44 am
@ehBeth,
http://www.koelner-wochenspiegel.de/images/248810/248820/253561/254833/477339/607340/607353_v1.jpg
In Germany they have places where you walk thru icecold water, lifting your legs up high. It is suppposed to be very healthy.
The Danes find it not very healthy, but very funny and very stupid.
I was going to translate a brochure from German to Danish in which one of these Wassertretstelle were described as something wonderful and very nicely situated in the forrest. What to do? Translating it as written - no Dane would understand what it was about. Describing what it is? The Danes would just shake their heads and laugh.
I wrote "There are lovely and beautiful trails around ........
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » Literal Translation and Free Translation,Which to Choose?
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/20/2021 at 12:01:32