Always Learning!

The world through the prism of my mind

Happy International Translation Day!

Posted by Alexandre Rafalovitch on September 30, 2006

I always feel impressed by translators. Recently, I have finished reading the english translation of NightWatch and it was very well done. I have read the russian original a number of times and could not see how a translation could make it justice. Yet it did and did it well. Congratulations to Andrew Bromfield on that one.

Today (30th of September) is an International Translation Day. I want to say a delayed thank-you to those people who allowed me to read Pippi Longstocking, The Three Musketeers and Don Quixote de la Mancha in my native Russian by translating those works from Swedish, French and Spanish correspondingly. Even though the Russian language has many great books of its own, it was exciting to feel and see other cultures with the invisible assistance of good translators. I think my world would be much smaller and much more boring, if someone’s work and passion did not involve finding exactly the right words to pass on the meaning of the original text.

While neither my English nor my Russian is of the quality to do real translation, I have been recently trying to educate myself on what actually goes into the translation process. I feel that in the rapidly flattening world, being able to transfer the text sense from one language to another (even imperfectly) is an increasingly important skill.

In the process of looking for the information, I was pointed at a paper that is interesting as a background reading, but is – unfortunately – not well linked to. It is the Guidelines for the Translation of Social Science Texts, but it is applicable to other areas as well. And it is even available in 6 languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Japanese), so can serve as a translation case study itself.

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One Response to “Happy International Translation Day!”

  1. […] As an example, I want to take the book/movie Night Watch by my favourite author Sergey Lukyanenko. The book started in Russian, was made into the Russian movie with english subtitles, impacted American market and finally was translated (quite well) into English. What about Chinese or Egyptians? Would they be interested in this book? Maybe, but there is no easy way to find out because translation or even subtitling is very expensive. […]

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