Re: Translation topic

Subject: Re: Translation topic
From: Robert Bononno <bononno -at- ACF2 -dot- NYU -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 1994 23:37:35 -0500

This approach is bound to lead to disaster. I'm a professional translator
and I teach technical translation in NY. Non-native speakers do very
poorly translating into a language that is not their mother tongue. The
problems are immediately apparent. And it's not simply a question of
terminology. It's a question of grammar, usage, and the natural flow of
language. All that is missing. Translations--if they're well done--should
not sound like they were cobbled together by someone with a glancing
knowledge of the language. They should sound like any other
target-language text. If the translation involves technical
material/documentation, that's what it should sound like. As technical
writers I think you know the difference between good and bad writing. Why
accept anything less in a translation?

Non-native speakers (and few of them have native-level proficiency, but
some do) are rarely able to capture the feel of a language, even if much
of what they write is technicaly correct. I think this is a very
short-sighted approach to the issue of translation.

Robert Bononno

On Tue, 8 Feb 1994, Karen Kay wrote:

> JACK P. SHAW said:
> > On the other hand, a non-native translator to German seems
> > more likely (again, in my experience) to prefer simpler,
> > more direct structures and be more aware of subtleties--maybe

> But if those simpler structures are not what a native speaker
> would prefer, isn't there a problem then w/ the "naturalness"
> of the language thus produced?

> Karen
> karenk -at- netcom -dot- com

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