Translation: A Difficult Task? HassaneDarir
Some of the difficulties in studying translation: An Outline • The Importance of Translation • Defining Translation • Misconceptions about translation • Linguistic activities easily confused with translation • Translation as Process and Translation as Product • Translation as process: Steps / stages in translation • The Translator’s Dilemma • Translation Paradox • Variables in translation (primary factors in translation decisions)
Far from discouraging students from studying translation, this presentation is meant to get rid of the misconceptions about translation, sensitize them to its difficulties and prepare them for a fruitful study of translation and/ or pave the way to a career in translation.
The layman in JamaaLafna who knows two languages thinks that he is a fine translator. • At undergraduate levels, some students never bother about translation (both as theory and as practice) and claim they can come on the day of a test or examination and produce a fine translation…
The layman’s translation can serve specific immediate purposes (…) but can never / should never be trusted with, for instance, legal or religious translation. • Here is an example: (the) Arab territories issue: • In 1967, the UN Security Council called Israel to withdraw from Arab territories occupied in 1967 • (Resolution 242)
Withdrawal from Territories • “The most controversial clause in Resolution 242 is the call for the "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”…. • “The resolution does (….) does not specify how much territory Israel is required to give up. The Security Council did not say Israel must withdraw from "all the" territories occupied after the Six-Day war.”
Here are other examplesExample 2 • “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that Israel was prepared to withdraw from considerable Palestinian territory in exchange for peace.”
Example 3 • 1973-1974 Arab summit in Algeria, 73 and 74 in Rabat, and adopted a resolution of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
Example 4 • If translation is this important in worldly affairs, then it is no less serious in matters of sacred texts.
Not surprising then that US resolutions are issued in more than one official language since it is risky to leave such matters into the hands of amateurish translators.
If translation is this important in worldly matters, it goes without saying that it is all the more important in the case of religious or sacred texts.
Translation is often confused with other linguistic activities, like: • Summarizing and précis-writing • Commenting • Literary criticism But it is different from such activities.
The “colonialism contributed to the development of Third World countries issue”
Similarly translation is not to be confused with summary or preçis-writing to the risk of becoming more like the conciseness lover than the talkative person in the famous story of الثرثار و محبالاختصار/ the talkative and the conciseness lover.
This is a story that was disseminated in the Arabic language Teaching textbook meant for Moroccan primary schools known as إقرأ. This is the story of a man who, before traveling to a distant place, wanted to have news of his friend, the talkative, so as to transmit the news to his relatives when he meets them. The conciseness lover asked him “what do you want me to tell them?”, the talkative replied “Tell them I am not feeling well. Tell them I have a headache, tell them I have a stomachache, tell them I have a broken leg, and…..;” The conciseness-lover replied “I will simply tell then you died.” This is a bad and sad instance of intralinguistic translation but just as well it could be used to exemplify an approach that definitely cannot and should not applied to translation proper.