- I am not trying to curse here. What they were trying to say is that ice cream is selling in assortment.
- Sausage in….dough. Like a HotDog!
So why do translators often make such an unacceptable and sometimes funny mistakes? Unfortunately, in our days it is really hard to find a master of language who will do own job well especially the one who is able translate complex, high-level literature. Everybody else do their job without focusing on the content and meaning of the primary source. It is not enough to just know the language, translators need to feel the text, being a writer himself. Therefore it is not surprising that there are so many low-quality translations recently because people only care about getting money for their job not quality of it.
But there is another problem with translations – interpretation. Each of us has a unique perception that make us think differently about the same things. The literature can be interpreted in so many different ways, it depends on what connections do you see between literature and your life.
It is especially hard to translate text from dead language, on which no one speaks. In this case it is hard to check texts for accuracy. But it is possible to look at few translations of the same text to compare. An example can be “The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite”. I am still curious how people translated such an old literature, how they learned the language in which the hymn was written. Two authors W.Tyrrell and G.Nagy kept the same plot of the hymn but they used different writing style, different adjectives and details. In translation by Tyrell hymn gets more detail description:
“But when the portion of death stands nearby,the beautiful trees wither on the earth, their bark shrinks away around them, and their branches fall. Together,their life’s spirit and the nymphs’ leave the sun’s light. The nymphs shall keep and rear my son.”
Compare to Gregory Nagy version, where he uses lots of unfamiliar to people words from original texts:
“But when the fate [moira] of death is at hand for them,
these beautiful trees become dry, to start with,
and then their bark wastes away, and then the branches drop off,
and, at the same time, the psûkhê goes out of them, as it leaves the light of the sun
These [the Nymphs] will raise my son, keeping him in their company”
His description of settings is simple and plain while in the first example there are more details. Also the last couple of lines confused me about ending in Nagy’s translation:
“Now then, everything has been said to you. You take note [verb of noos] in your phrenes.
And refrain from naming me. Avoid the mênis of the gods.”
So saying, she bolted away towards the windy sky.”
But in Tyrrell’s version ending was more clear:
“All is said. Think now in your mind.Refrain from naming me. Heed the wrath of the gods.”So saying, she darted up toward the windy heaven.”
He did not use the original words here and instead of “sky” he said”heaven” which means that Aphrodite went to heaven as she is a Goddess.
Both authors tried to express the essence and emotions of the text to the audience but they did it little differently because every author and translator has his own style and interpretation.
-Yuliya Kmit, Team Minerva