BONJOUR! HOLA! JAMBO! NI-HAO!
The theme this week is much more international!
So, let’s pose the questions:
Would a book mean the same thing if it was translated in different languages?
Would there still be the same atmosphere, emotion and tone?
What would be different?
What would we like to stay the same?
We cannot deny that literature should be shared to EVERYONE.
And I mean EVERYONE!
But one of the main boundaries that stands in the way is language. But translating from one language to another risks shifting the meaning of the sentence. And because of this, that particular word, sentence or paragraph won’t have the same meaning and tone that the author intended. There are words in German, French and Spanish which cannot be directly translated to English and this works vica versa.
For example, In Spanish, the word tia literally means ‘aunt/uncle’ but when is used more informally, actually means something like ‘dude’. Another example in Spanish is the phrase, me estas dando la lata which literally means in English ‘to give the can’ but is used for the meaning like ‘you’re bothering/annoying me.’
THANK YOU SO MUCH TO MY SPANISH SPEAKING FRIEND FOR LENDING ME HER SPANISH SPEAKING MIND!!!
So if this is the case, if it is so hard to translate between the languages while trying to keep the same meaning and tone: how do we make sure that our favourite novels stay as true as possible so that people in Russia and China can enjoy them as well as we have?
Well, now we have translation software companies such as Smartling which allow this translation to become easier and more accurate. They have opened these doors so that websites, opinions and businesses can be shared not just within your own nation but so much more broadly. The ramblings I post here might be just as understood by people in the Philippines.
If you think about it more deeply, HOW COOL IS THAT?!
Whew, that’s one box ticked.
But then again: what aspects of writing would we want to keep the same? The tone? Atmosphere? Mood? Everything? Well, in a perfect world, everything. But when compromises have to be made, what would be prioritized?
In my opinion, I don’t really mind as long as the book stays true as possible. I’m not fluent in any other language other than English so I’ve never really experienced this sort of thing except for struggling through my French comprehension and translating.
That’s always fun: me going “T-the boy w-as going to play? run? cook for h-his s-sister.”
Okay, I’m not that bad but it’s much different to being fluent.
But, yes. Books in different languages are a huge question in the literary world. Tone, meanings and emotions all become swirled up but modern technology and corporations – Smartling – have made this easier so that words are available to be comprehended and enjoyed not just to the English-speakers but to everyone!
SO, WHAT’S YOUR OPINION?
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF BOOKS BEING TRANSLATED?
WHAT ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL WOULD YOU WANT TO REMAIN THE SAME?