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For example, the known text of the Till Eulenspiegel folk tales is in High German but contains puns that work only when back-translated to Low German.
This seems clear evidence that these tales or at least large portions of them were originally written in Low German and translated into High German by an over-metaphrastic translator.
Supporters of Aramaic primacy —of the view that the Christian New Testament or its sources were originally written in the Aramaic language —seek to prove their case by showing that difficult passages in the existing Greek text of the New Testament make much better sense when back-translated to Aramaic: Due to similar indications, it is believed that the 2nd century Gnostic Gospel of Judas , which survives only in Coptic , was originally written in Greek.
John Dryden — , the dominant English-language literary figure of his age, illustrates, in his use of back-translation, translators' influence on the evolution of languages and literary styles.
Dryden is believed to be the first person to posit that English sentences should not end in prepositions because Latin sentences cannot end in prepositions.
As Latin does not have sentences ending in prepositions, Dryden may have applied Latin grammar to English, thus forming the controversial rule of no sentence-ending prepositions, subsequently adopted by other writers.
A competent translator is not only bilingual but bicultural. A language is not merely a collection of words and of rules of grammar and syntax for generating sentences , but also a vast interconnecting system of connotations and cultural references whose mastery, writes linguist Mario Pei , "comes close to being a lifetime job.
Viewed in this light, it is a serious misconception to assume that a person who has fair fluency in two languages will, by virtue of that fact alone, be consistently competent to translate between them.
The translator's role in relation to a text has been compared to that of an artist, e. Translation, like other human activities,  entails making choices, and choice implies interpretation.
And there, my dear, I beg you to let yourself be guided more by your temperament than by a strict conscience The necessity of making choices , and therefore of interpretation, in translating [f] and in other fields of human endeavor stems from the ambiguity that subjectively pervades the universe.
Part of the ambiguity, for a translator, involves the structure of human language. Psychologist and neural scientist Gary Marcus notes that "virtually every sentence [that people generate] is ambiguous , often in multiple ways.
Our brain is so good at comprehending language that we do not usually notice. Ambiguity is a concern to both translators and, as the writings of poet and literary critic William Empson have demonstrated, to literary critics.
Ambiguity may be desirable, indeed essential, in poetry and diplomacy ; it can be more problematic in ordinary prose.
A translator is faced with two contradictory tasks: A translator may render only parts of the original text, provided he indicates that this is what he is doing.
But a translator should not assume the role of censor and surreptitiously delete or bowdlerize passages merely to please a political or moral interest.
Translating has served as a school of writing for many an author, much as the copying of masterworks of painting has schooled many a novice painter.
Translating like analytic philosophy compels precise analysis of language elements and of their usage. In the poet Ezra Pound , then at St.
Elizabeth's Hospital , in Washington, D. Translators, including monks who spread Buddhist texts in East Asia , and the early modern European translators of the Bible , in the course of their work have shaped the very languages into which they have translated.
They have acted as bridges for conveying knowledge between cultures ; and along with ideas, they have imported from the source languages, into their own languages, loanwords and calques of grammatical structures , idioms , and vocabulary.
Interpreting , or "interpretation," is the facilitation of oral or sign-language communication , either simultaneously or consecutively, between two, or among three or more, speakers who are not speaking, or signing, the same language.
The term "interpreting," rather than "interpretation," is preferentially used for this activity by Anglophone translators, to avoid confusion with other meanings of the word " interpretation.
Interpreters have sometimes played crucial roles in history. As a child she had been sold or given to Maya slave-traders from Xicalango, and thus had become bilingual.
Nearly three centuries later, in the United States , a comparable role as interpreter was played for the Lewis and Clark Expedition of —6 by Sacagawea.
As a child, the Lemhi Shoshone woman had been kidnapped by Hidatsa Indians and thus had become bilingual. Sacagawea facilitated the expedition's traverse of the North American continent to the Pacific Ocean.
Sworn translation , also called "certified translation," aims at legal equivalence between two documents written in different languages.
It is performed by someone authorized to do so by local regulations. Some countries recognize declared competence. Others require the translator to be an official state appointee.
In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, translators must be accredited by certain translation institutes or associations in order to be able to carry out certified translations.
Many commercial services exist that will interpret spoken language via telephone. There is also at least one custom-built mobile device that does the same thing.
The device connects users to human interpreters who can translate between English and other languages.
Web-based human translation is generally favored by companies and individuals that wish to secure more accurate translations.
In view of the frequent inaccuracy of machine translations, human translation remains the most reliable, most accurate form of translation available.
While not instantaneous like its machine counterparts such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish , web-based human translation has been gaining popularity by providing relatively fast, accurate translation of business communications, legal documents, medical records, and software localization.
Language tools on the internet provide help in understanding text. Computer-assisted translation CAT , also called "computer-aided translation," "machine-aided human translation" MAHT and "interactive translation," is a form of translation wherein a human translator creates a target text with the assistance of a computer program.
The machine supports a human translator. Computer-assisted translation can include standard dictionary and grammar software. The term, however, normally refers to a range of specialized programs available to the translator, including translation-memory , terminology-management , concordance , and alignment programs.
These tools speed up and facilitate human translation, but they do not provide translation. The latter is a function of tools known broadly as machine translation.
Machine translation MT is a process whereby a computer program analyzes a source text and, in principle, produces a target text without human intervention.
In reality, however, machine translation typically does involve human intervention, in the form of pre-editing and post-editing. These produce rough translations that, under favorable circumstances, "give the gist" of the source text.
Whole-page-translation tools are of limited utility, however, since they offer only a limited potential understanding of the original author's intent and context; translated pages tend to be more humorous and confusing than enlightening.
Interactive translations with pop-up windows are becoming more popular. These tools show one or more possible equivalents for each word or phrase.
Human operators merely need to select the likeliest equivalent as the mouse glides over the foreign-language text. Possible equivalents can be grouped by pronunciation.
Also, companies such as Ectaco produce pocket devices that provide machine translations. Relying exclusively on unedited machine translation, however, ignores the fact that communication in human language is context -embedded and that it takes a person to comprehend the context of the original text with a reasonable degree of probability.
It is certainly true that even purely human-generated translations are prone to error; therefore, to ensure that a machine-generated translation will be useful to a human being and that publishable-quality translation is achieved, such translations must be reviewed and edited by a human.
The weaknesses of pure machine translation , unaided by human expertise, are those of artificial intelligence itself. Translation of literary works novels , short stories , plays , poems , etc.
Notable in Canadian literature specifically as translators are figures such as Sheila Fischman , Robert Dickson , and Linda Gaboriau ; and the Canadian Governor General's Awards annually present prizes for the best English-to-French and French-to-English literary translations.
In the s a substantial gender imbalance was noted in literary translation into English  , with far more male writers being translated than women writers.
In Meytal Radzinski launched the Women in Translation campaign to address this. The first important translation in the West was that of the Septuagint , a collection of Jewish Scriptures translated into early Koine Greek in Alexandria between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE.
The dispersed Jews had forgotten their ancestral language and needed Greek versions translations of their Scriptures. Throughout the Middle Ages , Latin was the lingua franca of the western learned world.
Meanwhile, the Christian Church frowned on even partial adaptations of St. Jerome 's Vulgate of c. In Asia , the spread of Buddhism led to large-scale ongoing translation efforts spanning well over a thousand years.
The Tangut Empire was especially efficient in such efforts; exploiting the then newly invented block printing , and with the full support of the government contemporary sources describe the Emperor and his mother personally contributing to the translation effort, alongside sages of various nationalities , the Tanguts took mere decades to translate volumes that had taken the Chinese centuries to render.
The Arabs undertook large-scale efforts at translation. Having conquered the Greek world, they made Arabic versions of its philosophical and scientific works.
There Arabic texts, Hebrew texts, and Latin texts were translated into the other tongues by Muslim, Jewish and Christian scholars, who also argued the merits of their respective religions.
Latin translations of Greek and original Arab works of scholarship and science helped advance European Scholasticism , and thus European science and culture.
The broad historic trends in Western translation practice may be illustrated on the example of translation into the English language.
The first fine translations into English were made in the 14th century by Geoffrey Chaucer , who adapted from the Italian of Giovanni Boccaccio in his own Knight's Tale and Troilus and Criseyde ; began a translation of the French-language Roman de la Rose ; and completed a translation of Boethius from the Latin.
Chaucer founded an English poetic tradition on adaptations and translations from those earlier-established literary languages.
The first great English translation was the Wycliffe Bible c. Only at the end of the 15th century did the great age of English prose translation begin with Thomas Malory 's Le Morte Darthur —an adaptation of Arthurian romances so free that it can, in fact, hardly be called a true translation.
Meanwhile, in Renaissance Italy , a new period in the history of translation had opened in Florence with the arrival, at the court of Cosimo de' Medici , of the Byzantine scholar Georgius Gemistus Pletho shortly before the fall of Constantinople to the Turks A Latin translation of Plato 's works was undertaken by Marsilio Ficino.
This and Erasmus ' Latin edition of the New Testament led to a new attitude to translation. For the first time, readers demanded rigor of rendering, as philosophical and religious beliefs depended on the exact words of Plato , Aristotle and Jesus.
Non-scholarly literature, however, continued to rely on adaptation. The English poets and translators sought to supply a new public, created by the rise of a middle class and the development of printing , with works such as the original authors would have written , had they been writing in England in that day.
The Elizabethan period of translation saw considerable progress beyond mere paraphrase toward an ideal of stylistic equivalence, but even to the end of this period, which actually reached to the middle of the 17th century, there was no concern for verbal accuracy.
In the second half of the 17th century, the poet John Dryden sought to make Virgil speak "in words such as he would probably have written if he were living and an Englishman".
As great as Dryden's poem is, however, one is reading Dryden, and not experiencing the Roman poet's concision. Similarly, Homer arguably suffers from Alexander Pope 's endeavor to reduce the Greek poet's "wild paradise" to order.
Both works live on as worthy English epics, more than as a point of access to the Latin or Greek. Throughout the 18th century, the watchword of translators was ease of reading.
Whatever they did not understand in a text, or thought might bore readers, they omitted. They cheerfully assumed that their own style of expression was the best, and that texts should be made to conform to it in translation.
For scholarship they cared no more than had their predecessors, and they did not shrink from making translations from translations in third languages, or from languages that they hardly knew, or—as in the case of James Macpherson 's "translations" of Ossian —from texts that were actually of the "translator's" own composition.
The 19th century brought new standards of accuracy and style. In regard to accuracy, observes J. Cohen, the policy became "the text, the whole text, and nothing but the text", except for any bawdy passages and the addition of copious explanatory footnotes.
An exception was the outstanding translation in this period, Edward FitzGerald 's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam , which achieved its Oriental flavor largely by using Persian names and discreet Biblical echoes and actually drew little of its material from the Persian original.
In advance of the 20th century, a new pattern was set in by Benjamin Jowett , who translated Plato into simple, straightforward language.
Jowett's example was not followed, however, until well into the new century, when accuracy rather than style became the principal criterion. As a language evolves, texts in an earlier version of the language—original texts, or old translations—may become difficult for modern readers to understand.
Such a text may therefore be translated into more modern language, producing a "modern translation" e.
Such modern rendering is applied either to literature from classical languages such as Latin or Greek , notably to the Bible see " Modern English Bible translations " , or to literature from an earlier stage of the same language, as with the works of William Shakespeare which are largely understandable by a modern audience, though with some difficulty or with Geoffrey Chaucer 's Middle English Canterbury Tales which is understandable to most modern readers only through heavy dependence on footnotes.
Modern translation is applicable to any language with a long literary history. For example, in Japanese the 11th-century Tale of Genji is generally read in modern translation see " Genji: Modern translation often involves literary scholarship and textual revision, as there is frequently not one single canonical text.
This is particularly noteworthy in the case of the Bible and Shakespeare, where modern scholarship can result in substantive textual changes.
Modern translation meets with opposition from some traditionalists. In English, some readers prefer the Authorized King James Version of the Bible to modern translations, and Shakespeare in the original of c.
An opposite process involves translating modern literature into classical languages, for the purpose of extensive reading for examples, see " List of Latin translations of modern literature ".
Views on the possibility of satisfactorily translating poetry show a broad spectrum, depending largely on the degree of latitude to be granted the translator in regard to a poem's formal features rhythm, rhyme, verse form, etc.
Douglas Hofstadter , in his book, Le Ton beau de Marot , argued that a good translation of a poem must convey as much as possible not only of its literal meaning but also of its form and structure meter, rhyme or alliteration scheme, etc.
The Russian -born linguist and semiotician Roman Jakobson , however, had in his paper " On Linguistic Aspects of Translation ", declared that "poetry by definition [is] untranslatable".
Vladimir Nabokov , another Russian-born author, took a view similar to Jakobson's. He considered rhymed, metrical, versed poetry to be in principle untranslatable and therefore rendered his English translation of Alexander Pushkin 's Eugene Onegin in prose.
Hofstadter, in Le Ton beau de Marot , criticized Nabokov's attitude toward verse translation. In Hofstadter published his own translation of Eugene Onegin , in verse form.
Gregory Hays, in the course of discussing Roman adapted translations of ancient Greek literature , makes approving reference to some views on the translating of poetry expressed by David Bellos , an accomplished French-to-English translator.
A translation is an assemblage of words, and as such it can contain as much or as little poetry as any other such assemblage.
Book-title translations can be either descriptive or symbolic. Such symbolic book titles usually indicate the theme, issues, or atmosphere of the work.
When translators are working with long book titles, the translated titles are often shorter and indicate the theme of the book. The translation of plays poses many problems such as the added element of actors, speech duration, translation literalness, and the relationship between the arts of drama and acting.
Successful play translators are able to create language that allows the actor and the playwright to work together effectively. Audiences in Shakespeare's time were more accustomed than modern playgoers to actors having longer stage time.
In translating Chinese literature, translators struggle to find true fidelity in translating into the target language. In The Poem Behind the Poem , Barnstone argues that poetry "can't be made to sing through a mathematics that doesn't factor in the creativity of the translator".
A notable piece of work translated into English is the Wen Xuan , an anthology representative of major works of Chinese literature.
Translating this work requires a high knowledge of the genres presented in the book, such as poetic forms, various prose types including memorials, letters, proclamations, praise poems, edicts, and historical, philosophical and political disquisitions, threnodies and laments for the dead, and examination essays.
Thus the literary translator must be familiar with the writings, lives, and thought of a large number of its authors, making the Wen Xuan one of the most difficult literary works to translate.
Translation generally, much as with Kurt Gödel 's conception of mathematics , requires, to varying extents, more information than appears in the page of text being translated.
Translation of a text that is sung in vocal music for the purpose of singing in another language—sometimes called "singing translation"—is closely linked to translation of poetry because most vocal music , at least in the Western tradition, is set to verse , especially verse in regular patterns with rhyme.
Since the late 19th century, musical setting of prose and free verse has also been practiced in some art music , though popular music tends to remain conservative in its retention of stanzaic forms with or without refrains.
A rudimentary example of translating poetry for singing is church hymns , such as the German chorales translated into English by Catherine Winkworth.
Translation of sung texts is generally much more restrictive than translation of poetry, because in the former there is little or no freedom to choose between a versified translation and a translation that dispenses with verse structure.
One might modify or omit rhyme in a singing translation, but the assignment of syllables to specific notes in the original musical setting places great challenges on the translator.
There is the option in prose sung texts, less so in verse, of adding or deleting a syllable here and there by subdividing or combining notes, respectively, but even with prose the process is almost like strict verse translation because of the need to stick as closely as possible to the original prosody of the sung melodic line.
A sung translation may be considerably or completely different from the original, thus resulting in a contrafactum.
Translations of sung texts—whether of the above type meant to be sung or of a more or less literal type meant to be read—are also used as aids to audiences, singers and conductors, when a work is being sung in a language not known to them.
The most familiar types are translations presented as subtitles or surtitles projected during opera performances, those inserted into concert programs, and those that accompany commercial audio CDs of vocal music.
In addition, professional and amateur singers often sing works in languages they do not know or do not know well , and translations are then used to enable them to understand the meaning of the words they are singing.
An important role in history has been played by translation of religious texts. Such translations may be influenced by tension between the text and the religious values the translators wish to convey.
For example, Buddhist monks who translated the Indian sutras into Chinese occasionally adjusted their translations to better reflect China 's distinct culture , emphasizing notions such as filial piety.
One of the first recorded instances of translation in the West was the rendering of the Old Testament into Greek in the 3rd century BCE. The translation is known as the " Septuagint ", a name that refers to the supposedly seventy translators seventy-two, in some versions who were commissioned to translate the Bible at Alexandria , Egypt.
According to legend, each translator worked in solitary confinement in his own cell, and, according to legend, all seventy versions proved identical.
The Septuagint became the source text for later translations into many languages, including Latin , Coptic , Armenian and Georgian.
Still considered one of the greatest translators in history, for having rendered the Bible into Latin , is Jerome of Stridon — C.
For centuries the Roman Catholic Church used his translation known as the Vulgate , though even this translation stirred controversy. Jerome's colorful Vulgate translation of the Bible includes some crucial instances of "overdetermination".
For example, Isaiah 's prophecy announcing that the Savior will be born of a virgin, uses the word ' almah , which is also used to describe the dancing girls at Solomon 's court, and simply means young and nubile.
The periods preceding and contemporary with the Protestant Reformation saw translations of the Bible into vernacular local European languages—a development that contributed to Western Christianity 's split into Roman Catholicism and Protestantism due to disparities between Catholic and Protestant versions of crucial words and passages though the Protestant movement was largely based on other things, such as a perceived need to reform the Roman Catholic Church to eliminate corruption.
Lasting effects on the religions, cultures, and languages of their respective countries were exerted by such Bible translations as Martin Luther 's into German , Jakub Wujek 's into Polish , and William Tyndale 's and later the King James Bible ' s translators' into English.
Efforts to translate the Bible into English had their martyrs. Debate and religious schism over different translations of religious texts continue, as demonstrated by, for example, the King James Only movement.
Such fallibility of the translation process has contributed to the Islamic world's ambivalence about translating the Quran also spelled Koran out of the original Arabic , as received by the prophet Muhammad from Allah God through the angel Gabriel.
During prayers, the Quran , as the miraculous and inimitable word of Allah, is recited only in Arabic. However, as of , it had been translated into at least languages.
A fundamental difficulty in translating the Quran accurately stems from the fact that an Arabic word, like a Hebrew or Aramaic word, may have a range of meanings , depending on context.
This is said to be a linguistic feature, particularly of all Semitic languages , that adds to the usual similar difficulties encountered in translating between any two languages.
Muslims regard any translation of the Quran as but one possible interpretation of the Quranic Classical Arabic text, and not as a full equivalent of that divinely communicated original.
Hence such a translation is often called an "interpretation" rather than a translation. To complicate matters further, as with other languages, the meanings and usages of some expressions have changed over time , between the Classical Arabic of the Quran , and modern Arabic.
Thus a modern Arabic speaker may misinterpret the meaning of a word or passage in the Quran. Moreover, the interpretation of a Quranic passage will also depend on the historic context of Muhammad's life and of his early community.
Properly researching that context requires a detailed knowledge of hadith and sirah , which are themselves vast and complex texts. Hence, analogously to the translating of Chinese literature , an attempt at an accurate translation of the Quran requires a knowledge not only of the Arabic language and of the target language , including their respective evolutions, but also a deep understanding of the two cultures involved.
Technical translation renders documents such as manuals, instruction sheets, internal memos, minutes, financial reports, and other documents for a limited audience who are directly affected by the document and whose useful life is often limited.
Thus, a user guide for a particular model of refrigerator is useful only for the owner of the refrigerator, and will remain useful only as long as that refrigerator model is in use.
Similarly, software documentation generally pertains to a particular software, whose applications are used only by a certain class of users.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about language translation. For other uses, see Translation disambiguation. For other uses, see Translator disambiguation.
For article translations in Wikipedia, see Wikipedia: Not to be confused with Transliteration. This section needs expansion.
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