The Translation Process

As we all know, authors and translators share a great many attributes but it is what distinguishes them that is truly fascinating. And what differentiates them? Perspective.

The author stands besides the ocean shore listening to the sound of the waves, occasionally wetting his/her toes in the foam or even going for a swim in the warm water. The translator sees the same ocean… on a postcard or if they’re lucky they may catch a glimpse of the ocean from afar. The author feels the ocean and is acutely aware of everything in and around it. Yes, the translator may have a better sense of the whole and may be able to grasp its entirety, like running his/her finger over a picture of all its waters, but it is the author who can recall the smell of the air, the temperature of the sand or the brightness of the sun on the beach.

Translation is all about perception and reaction. The translator must observe, analyse, understand and perceive the original text and then react to it. Translation is a response, an emotional reaction to the text. Authorship, on the other hand, is all about description and pro-action. The author describes his/her feelings and ideas and then reaches out with these to his/her audience.

Translation remains a quandary because the translator is obliged to create a text that appears to have all the characteristics of an authorial text. The translation must appear to be descriptive, unique and the first attempt to reach out to the audience with these feelings. In fact, it’s very much like expecting the same emotional response when seeing the ocean as seeing a picture of the ocean…

Advertisements

17 Responses to “The Translation Process”

  1. Madzik Says:

    Ok, on the one hand they (teachers, lectures) tell us to make a translation in our own way, but at some time they also state that we can’t chage much about a text. Therefore, why our perception is crucial…if we have a different point of view we can’t transform the whole text so it would be according to our principles…
    But hten again, everybody has their own point of view ;))

  2. transubstantiation Says:

    Every translator makes a translation his/her own. This is the realm of the translator – to take an authorial text and absorb it, understand it and then regurgitate it in a manner that #hopefully# resembles the whole meal. Perception #is# crucial, but we should add that #appropriate# perception is crucial. Subjectivity can be placed on a scale from #more objective# to #less objective# where shared subjectivities form common attributes and we see #standards# and #universals# appear. Perception in this sense is both tempered and polished by perceptions that are different from as well as similar to our own.

  3. Aureliusz Says:

    I found this post interesting since it emphasises the problem which has to be dealt by every translator. This problem is perspective. The perspective of the author of a text and that of the translator who decides to render this text. The author of the blog illustrates this problem by using an example of a situation in which the author stands ‘besides the ocean shore listening to the sound of the waves [and] occasionally going for a swim in the warm water.’ The translator, as the author of the blog continues, ‘sees the same ocean… on a postcard’. It is possible that the translator might have even better sense of the whole, but it is the author who experiences the exemplary ocean; he can smell the air, feel the temperature of sand, etc.

    Consequently, translation can be treated as a response and ‘emotional reaction to the text.’ It is about perception and reaction of the translator to a text, whereas authorship is connected with description and pro-action of the author.

    A great problem for the translator is to create a text which ‘appears’ to possess all the elements of an original text.

    I think that the art of giving ‘the same emotional response when seeing the ocean as seeing a picture of the ocean’ is extremely dificult for the translator to master, and requires a particular skill, as well as years of practice, which is possessed by few.

  4. transubstantiation Says:

    One of the best ways to be able to #taste the water# is experience. There is absolutely no substitute for experience. As Umberto Eco so often says, the best translator is the one who #translates# and #has been translated#. Experiential input is the only way a translator can really make qualitative steps forward. Only through continued work in translation, translation studies as well as being an author and editor can a translator hope to #taste the water#.

  5. Kasia Szukała Says:

    The translators should be very sensitive people .
    They must observe ,analyse,understand and perceive the original text and react to it.’Seeing the ocean’ should evoke the same set of feelings,deep emotions as’ seeing the picture of ocean’.I think they should also have enormous imagination to create in their minds the picture, atmosphere of the place.Translation is all about perception and reaction.But target readers should react in the same way as the readers of the source text.So the text should include the the same emotions ,funny words or even expressions that make the reader cry.

  6. transubstantiation Says:

    Exactly. Although we may attempt to re-create the atmosphere etc. the translator’s duty is to #give the impression# that the feelings and emotions are the same, or appropriate to the readership.

  7. olga grala Says:

    My opinion…Translation process… the process in which translator has to retain the meaning of the source text.it is the continous process of decision making, decisions about faithfulness. It requires great knowledge frommany king of fields like linguaistics or semantics. Process in which one has to present notonly the knowlegde of grammar, idioms but also the knowldge about cultures and differences between them. I like very much the comparison of translation process to the ocean. Emotions for emotions…

  8. olga grala Says:

    My opinion…Translation process… the process in which translator has to retain the meaning of the source text.it is the continous process of decision making, decisions about faithfulness. It requires great knowledge from many king of fields like linguaistics or semantics. Process in which one has to present notonly the knowlegde of grammar, idioms but also the knowledge about cultures and differences between them. I like very much the comparison of translation process to the ocean. Emotions for emotions…

  9. transubstantiation Says:

    Decision-making, yes, but surely there either #is# faithfulness or there is not. Do translators make a conscious decision to be faithful or unfaithful to the original text?

  10. Magda Chrzanowska Says:

    As it is mentioned in the text, in order to conduct an effective interlingual communication the translator ought to duplicate the author’s process of artistic creation. It is of importance to remember that what the translator is working at is a literary text written by somebody else and no single paragraph can be put together without revealing emotions of its author. Thus, the translator should do his utmost to turn translation into a work of art which is in conformity with the thought, feelings, and style of the original. As a consequence, the target text should look like carefully recreated craftsmanship. I mean that it should evoke in the audience similar emotions and be as vivid as the original work.

  11. Małgosia Krawczykowska Says:

    The translator must observe , analyse, understand and perceive the original text and then react to it.
    It demands from the translator a huge imagination and sensitivity.The good translator should evoke in readers the same emotional and imaginative atmosphere as that experienced by readers of the original.Moreover, he should possess the ability to create the same picture in the readers’ minds as the author.Apart from that, translators must constantly make choices , in each sentence, so as to decide which of them is most important and useful for the transfer of the ideas.All in all, his translation ought to be as faithful and accurate as possible.

  12. Magdalena Gołoś Says:

    I found this text really interesting. I am aware of the differences between authors and translators. I can list many of such disparities, but I would never look at them from such point of view (I think that the problem of different perspectives would be mentioned somewhere at the end of my list).What I also like in this text is the metaphore presented in the second paragraph. I think it pictures the problem of different perspectives in a very attractive way. It shows how difficult it is do do a good translation – a translation showing all the information included in the original text and the emotions presented by the author. It also reveals that the tranlstor has in fact limited power to prepare the translation. I also agree that perception and reaction are crucial for the process of translation. It is important that the tranlsator perceives the original text and reacts to it in a correct way (and here we can ask two basic questions: How can the translator know that s\he perceives the original text and reacts to it in a correct way? and Can s\he know it at all?). The translator must get into the spirit of the original text. It is very difficult to create the translation which has the characteristics of the original text and which evokes the same emotions in its readers. Answering your previous question: I think that usually translators do not consciously decide to be faithfull of unfaithfull to the original text. Their either manage to be faithful or not:). However,in my opinion there are some situations in which it is in fact a deliberate decision (here, for instance the problem of correcting mistakes and cultural differences should be taken into consideration).

  13. transubstantiation Says:

    Magda – good point but what makes one text a work of art and another not. When do we follow the ‘rules of art’ and become artisans and when do we not?

  14. transubstantiation Says:

    Małgosia – choices are the fulcrum around which the whole translation process hinges and without background information the translation can neither be faithful nor accurate.

  15. transubstantiation Says:

    Magdalena – Thank you for your comments. The metaphor is a simple one. Translation, as has been mentioned many times before, can be understood in a variety of ways. This is but one such metaphor.

  16. Magda Chrzanowska Says:

    In response to your comment, I would like to stress the fact that literary works as well as translations are a kind of art created in language. Thus, every translator is somehow perceived as a craftsman; he ought to grasp the spirit of the original, tailor meticulously the sense of the source text to the target text as well as transfer perfectly feelings of which the original work is made up. Such a creative artistic translation is necessary, since the main task of translation lies in the faithful reproduction of the spirit and features of the original. For pseudo-translators, whose process of translating is not complex, it is impossible to make the target text resonate on the reader’s emotional level and to evoke in the target audience similar feelings as the source text.Therefore, what one demands of translations is not merely the recording of concepts and incidents, but also the duplication of artistic images that are attractive to readers. Only then, the reader of the translation may be aesthetically moved in the same way as the native reader is by the original.

  17. transubstantiation Says:

    Is it a craft? Or is it a science? Some may say it is actually more one than the other…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: