Re: How factual are second-hand translations?

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Jan 05 2002 - 15:06:17 MST

Spike Jones wrote:
> Dossy wrote:
> > On 2002.01.05, John Clark <> wrote:
> > > By the way, what's the difference between a translation and a
> > > second-hand translations?
> >
> > The difference between translating it yourself (presumably as one
> > with proficiency in the language being translated from) vs. only
> > reading in your own language text that was translated by someone
> > other than yourself.
> It is possible to translate text without actually knowing the language
> oneself. An exercise theology students must do is translate a passage
> of old testament aramaic by looking up the definition of one word at
> a time, laying it all end to end and coming up with an equivalent
> set of english sentences. Laborious, onerous task. But it can
> be broken up among a large number of individuals and done in
> parallel. spike

This is a very poor way to translate from one language to
another. It is mechanical and gives funny results. Remember
the old (joke?) of a translations of "The Spirit is willing but
the flesh is weak" to Russian by a translation machine. The
result supposedly came out to something like, "The Vodka is good
but the meat is rotten."

That is probably only a joke however, in serious translation you
can't just look at every word. You must understand grammar,
common phrasing, turns of speech, historical context and many
other things to do a decent job. You need at least a 3rd year
understanding of a language generally to translate a spoken
sample well. So no, I don't think word by word would be at all

- samantha

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:32 MST