View Poll Results: translations

Voters
30. You may not vote on this poll
  • every word counts; keep it literal

    4 13.33%
  • change some words/dialogue to keep original spirit/meaning

    22 73.33%
  • anything goes as long as characters/plot are the same

    4 13.33%
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: what makes for a good translation?

  1. #1
    Member XiaoYu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    140

    Question what makes for a good translation?

    I'm curious, in all these wuxia novels everyone's working so hard to translate, what do you feel drives you more: getting every original word translated, or getting the spirit of the story across?

    Would you change your answer if these were literary classics that are hard to understand if translated literally?

  2. #2
    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    2,866

    Default

    Persoanlly, I think that if you tranlsated the work word by word as in the novel, it will sound awkward. It's best if you can change a few words or even the punctuation without changing the original text's meanings and spirits.

    I mean, sometimes when the translations are word by word, you'll get something like

    "Deep autumn. Cold wind blowing. A man standing under a lone tree."

    That to me, just sounds dry and awkward.

    I'd rather see something like

    "It was deep autumn and a cold wind was blowing. A man stood underneath a lone tree."

    This way, you don't fully alter the original meaning and it actually flows nicely in English and sounds good ...
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Han Solo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    5,562

    Default

    To do a translation, you not only need to translate the meaning of the piece, but also attempt to retain the structure of the paragraph or the style of the writer in mind.

    Thus, in Jaded's example above:

    "Deep autumn. Cold wind blowing. A man standing under a lone tree."

    seems much better for a writer of GL's style

    rather than:

    "It was deep autumn and a cold wind was blowing. A man stood underneath a lone tree."

    which is more prose, i.e. JY's style.


    Ramblings,
    Han Solo

  4. #4
    Senior Member TuToo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    reality
    Posts
    342

    Default

    to me:

    "Deep autumn. Cold wind blowing. A man standing under a lone tree."
    sounds like a detective novel

    it was deep autumn and a cold wind was blowing. A man stood underneath a lone tree."
    sounds like a romantic novel


    i read some of the translation in here and found them quite good; i mean, it (Eng trans.) sounds just the way the text was translated in my language. i, once, was taught that everything which translated is twice removed from its original meaning. first was from the person who translated it, and second is from the person who's reading the translated text. so i guess it depends. i agree w/ Han Solo that a person when do translation should attempt to stay in the writer's style and less the personal interest in a particular part in the novel or a character.
    i.am.2too.

  5. #5
    Member XiaoYu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    140

    Default

    In Chinese novels, names and titles add a lot of style and flair to a tale, but these are easily lost through literal translations...

    What do you do if you run into, say, a martial arts move that has a cool name in Chinese...but sounds totally lame in English? Would you keep it to stay true to the original term, and risk losing the move's once-commanding title? In doing some translations of my own, I find myself looking for a middle-ground if possible, deviating from the original to a better word in English that still carries the original meaning. Sometimes I just don't translate it at all, and use the sound of the word/phrase instead.

  6. #6
    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    2,866

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Han Solo
    To do a translation, you not only need to translate the meaning of the piece, but also attempt to retain the structure of the paragraph or the style of the writer in mind.

    Thus, in Jaded's example above:

    "Deep autumn. Cold wind blowing. A man standing under a lone tree."

    seems much better for a writer of GL's style

    rather than:

    "It was deep autumn and a cold wind was blowing. A man stood underneath a lone tree."

    which is more prose, i.e. JY's style.


    Ramblings,
    Han Solo
    I think that even for GL, you still need to make the sentence flow better. Maybe it's just 'cause I personally hate choppy sentences, but I think there is a lot more to conveying the author's intentions than just getting the right words.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  7. #7
    atlantean0208
    Unregistered

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TuToo
    to me:
    sounds like a detective novel .
    that's exactly what GL novel is all about, most of the time

  8. #8
    Senior Member TuToo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    reality
    Posts
    342

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by atlantean0208
    that's exactly what GL novel is all about, most of the time
    really? sometimes i read GL's novels and found cute love stories
    i.am.2too.

  9. #9
    Moderator Noodles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    London
    Posts
    836

    Default

    For me, keeping the spirit and style (especially important for Gu Long novels) of the novel and getting it across to the reader is more important than a literal word for word translation.
    I'm worse at what I do best
    And for this gift I feel blessed

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    9

    Default

    i agree with noodles...well as long as there isn't too much of a deviation

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    180

    Default

    I'll agree with Han Solo on this one.

    This

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded WenEr
    "Deep autumn. Cold wind blowing. A man standing under a lone tree."
    Sounds alot better than this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded WenEr
    "It was deep autumn and a cold wind was blowing. A man stood underneath a lone tree."

    But then again, I never really had a chance of reading anything of GL's aside from the translations here.

    I believe it is best not to be too literal. Often it is hard to translate some native phrases or popular sayings. It is in such circumstances that the best translators can be found, when they have a good enough grasp of the language they're translating to, to be able to find equivalent, similar phrases that can carry both the simple and direct meaning as well as some of the more subtle interpretations.

    But I'm just rambling...

Similar Threads

  1. What makes a fighting scene good?
    By Suet Seung in forum Wuxia Fiction
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-15-07, 11:12 PM
  2. What makes Jin Yong special?
    By PumpkinPi in forum Wuxia Fiction
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 05-26-07, 11:57 AM
  3. Which one makes you feel sad?
    By Sunlight_zero36 in forum Movies
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-09-06, 12:18 PM
  4. Replies: 22
    Last Post: 09-06-06, 01:49 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •