Does a translator need to translate the real words that someone uses (even though it’s simple words) or the intent behind the words used?

I remember a small article in the newspaper — I treasure — 20 years ago, where an American fighter pilot had flown over Chinese territory.

Of course, the Chinese were not talking about the incident, and they demanded official excuses from the Americans.The Americans in turn obviously did not make much sense to do so.

After some diplomatic consultations, America sent an official message that they ‘depled‘ the incident.

They were informally aware that they could not guarantee that the official text in the Chinese translationcould ‘ happen more‘.

I still continue to find a great example of diplomacy.No one had suffered a loss of sight and both parties were satisfied. All by simply using a creative translation.

Translating correctly is enormously difficult.It seems to me that in most cases you have to translate as faithfully as possible without losing sight of the intent of text. Since you often do not know the intent of the author at all and it is not possible that you are about to interpret things, that is almost impossible.

I have a meeting at my work 1 times a year where there is simultaneous translation from Dutch to French and vice versa.You can set up headphones and select the Dutch or French channel. I often put the French channel on just because I admire the people who have to do it so. There are always two translators and they alternate regularly because it requires a lot of concentration, which I can only understand too well.

There was once a story of a war between China and the mongolis that one wanted to resolve in a diplomatic way.So Chinese and Mongolian diplomats came together and they came to a good peace proposal, which was put on paper by the Chinese with a copy for both parties as proof of the peace agreement. The Chinese then pitched well and the Mongolen threw it into the fire and * POUF * The agreement was gone! The Chinese immediately insulted heavily and angry and the war was going again…

But the Mongolias did not understand why.This is because for the Mongolans the Wind gods were the most important and to secure a contract you send it to the Wind gods. The way you do that is by burning it, on which the Wind gods would put the treaty forever safe. According to the Mongolian doctrine so the best place for this contract. So for them it was China that broke the treaty…

A war that could have been avoided if both were better acquainted with each other’s culture.So yes, if you translate then you should explain the intent behind it. But the original words can also have a lot of value so you should translate the original words and mention a footnote to explain it. So do not self-assumptions of what you think what is meant. After all, you can be wrong…

Long ago, when the Antwerp South was far from hip and trendy, I was a student at HIVT, the Higher Institute for Translators and Interpreters.

You notice it right away: translating and interpreting are other things.

In ‘ My time ‘, translating to languages other than Dutch was gradually abolished and you only saw other nationalities at the last year.But I do recall a handsome Jewish Antwerp who had studied Chinese and had set up a trade in Chinese carpets (?).

Back to the question.Translating is indeed not as stressful as interpreting. Even in the Google-less times, you could consult dictionaries.

And of course there is a vast difference between translations of literary texts and, for example, technical texts.You have also experienced the fact that you had to use the instructions of a kitchen appliance in different languages before you saw the light.

One case apart: the subtitles on television where I-professional deformity?-Arranged a kemel of format discover.

Proffen also explained that interpreters were mostly people with a multilingual education, such as children of diplomats.A pro, full of admiration, told the story of a simultaneous interpreter that not only accurately translated, but at the same time also mimed the body language of the original speaker.

A sloppy or outright erroneous translation can have profound consequences in diplomacy, which happens occasionally, often when translated too literally.I therefore have the utmost respect for the interpreters who, somewhere invisible in the décor, make sure that we think that Trump and Putin can converse smoothly.

As a companion an anecdote from my newspaper time.Belgium was President of some European affair and there was a discontent of the promotional gifts that our country would offer. Press Agency Belga talked about Delvaux’s ‘ serviettes ‘, which was translated as very expensive towels and totally inappropriate.

But the French ‘ serviette ‘ can also be targets on a briefcase.And then such a ‘ serviette ‘ or a book bag of leather goods Delvaux is a great Belgian promotional gift!

I work a lot with refugees and asylum seekers who do not yet control the Dutch language.That makes a (telephone or live) interpreter necessary. I always ask to translate as literally as possible-it is very important for me to know how patients experience, experience, post, self-appreciate the complaints, put into words. It is, however, that the interpreter will give a remarkably long translation in a simple question (“Do you sleep well every night?”), and V.V.: The long answer of the patient is translated with ‘ yes ‘. That’s killing! I want to necessarily have the literal translation.

When it comes to books or subtitles on TV, it is less accurate for me.I can understand that ‘ to the scope ‘ is translated. I do not need to make a diagnosis; Moreover, it is not all about literally bringing about.

My special appreciation goes to translators of poetry.It seems to me to be an almost impossible task.

Translating is insanely difficult.The works of F. Nietzsche are all translated by Pë Hawinkels, and he did that brilliantly. The works of Freud are translated into Dutch by several translators, sometimes a translators collective. Dramatically!

A translator must translate the real words, but they can give a brief explanation or interpretation.Provided that it indicates, possibly in parentheses.

Suppose someone calls “mother fucker”, then an interpreter should literally translate it, but she may give her interpretation of it if it is confusing. But the danger is, if you interpret too much, that you give too much your own interpretation to it.

That is why I would do as little as possible.

This depends on the purpose of the translation.If the goal is to get to know the text in the source language better, then one could literally translate the real words. But if the goal is to display the intent or intention of the text in the target language, then one can freely translate.

So it is different per case.

When it comes to simultaneous translation of conversations or interpreters, it is better to translate freely.In case of unclear cases, one can dwell to give explanations.

I hope it is clear. Thank you for asking me this question Céline Décamps (Quora user).

In an agreement with legal impact, a translator must ensure that the person for whom translation is able to overlook the consequences.In that case, a sworn interpreter is necessary (natural person) or very desirable (legal person).

Then we have interpreters who translate spoken language directly, in this case it will often be reasonable word for word, because the intent is not always clear while spoken.

When translating in retrospect, or by written documents and books, it is often important that the intent is conveyed, the literal wording is of much less importance.

This shows that it depends very much on the context, whether a translator literally has to translate or translates the intent.What is important is that the intention is always translated. This also makes the profession of a translator tricky, because you have to have very good knowledge of both languages to convey the intent correctly, it is much more if only the words translate.

It’s good to stay a little at the original words, but it shouldn’t be nonsense.You can translate ‘ I love you ‘ just fine as ‘ I like you ‘, but the colour of the word ‘ loving ‘ is not exactly correct. The word has something main. You just have to say ‘ I love you. ‘

A translator has to continually make such choices.Sometimes an expression can display a word better than the official word from the dictionary.

The intent should always be given the highest priority.


If someone tells me that ‘ ie wants to do something and I think that little chance, I can say in Dutch ‘ well, if you don’t want to fly in that way… Pleasant match. “

In English, the verbatim translation has little significance, so a translator would be diverging to “well, if you want to take that approach, I wish you luck.”

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