Translation gives different meaning of words/sentence


I found this picture in the message logging, that my friend sent it to me and asked if the translation is right. Then I went to do the research about this “八股文”. In classical Chinese, the word “股” means legs, but in this case, it can not be translated as legs.  “八股文” was been truly translated to “Eight shares”. “Eight shares” is an imperial examination system been used by the kings of the time from Song dynasty to Qing Dynasty. It was the most complete selection of civil servants recruitment system in the ancient world. it was the way that the vast majority of Chinese nationals can enter the national decision-making center through the examination and then share the state power. In the Sui and Tang dynasties, the imperial examination was mostly focused on the article from Ming Jing and mainly to write poetry, until the Ming and Qing dynasties were officially converted into eight shares. (sourced from ) After read through the articles about the “Eight Shares”, I started to realize when translation goes wrong doesn’t make any sense is not the worst thing, the thing is if the wrong translation does make somewhat sense but has different meanings, we should be careful on this problem.

In the reading “Sappho’s Hymn to Aphrodite”, the authors use different word choice to translate the same poem. The meaning of the poems was basically the same, but the words that author used changes reader feeling about the poem. In Poochigian’s translation, he wrote “I beg you, Empress, do not smite me with anguish and fever”, compare with Carson’s Translation “I beg you do not break with hard pains”.  Poochigian’s translation has seemed to have more details and express the mood of fear and pleading. Which makes the sentence stronger than Carson’s Translation.

The mistake happens pretty often, as a writer, we have to be careful with the word choices, because when we translate the words in different languages, it might make no sense to the reader. as a reader, we also have to focus more on author’s word choice, because sometimes they might use the words in purpose.

Team Zeus, Yao



information of “eight shares”, sourced from


Hair vs. Horse

FullSizeRender(2)  Translating from different languages can be very difficult. Even after studying French for years, I still make small mistakes that can take on a whole new meaning. While practicing on the app duolingo, I translated this whole sentence incorrectly because I misread the “e” in cheveux as an “a”. This changed the word “hair” into the french word for horses. The word for greasy and for fat is the same, “gras”, depending on its use. Learning a new language is difficult due to all the words that are spelled the same or very similar but have completely different meanings. English also has plenty of words like that, homographs. Due to all the differences within a language, getting a perfect translation with the exact original meaning is near impossible.

In the reading of the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, line 44 for both translations, Hera is described as “one who knows prudence” by Tyrrell, but in the Nagy translation she is described as “one who knows the ways of affection.” The word choice here may seem insignificant but they do convey a different message. Calling her prudent describes Hera more as a cautious or wise person while the latter seems to take away from her having good sense and just paints her as a wife. Another simple change in words in in line 144 where Anchises is “seized with love” in the Nagy translation while only “passion seized Anchises” in the Tyrrell translation. Yet again it is a very small almost imperceptible difference, but it conveys the message that he is only feeling a physical reaction than actual love in the second translation.

Every translator has their own perception of the story and will influence it by their thought process, although translating will never be perfect, it is necessary to understand people from all around the world and can unite cultures which, at first glance, appear completely diametrically opposed.

“Eye” Spy…

There often comes a time in all of our lives where we allow our eyes to be deceiving and portrait the wrong message to our minds. The first image above comes from a Columbian magazine about cardiac arrhythmias during pregnancies. (Revista Colombiana de Cardiología Volume 24, Issue 4, July–August 2017, Pages 388-393) This specific example was chosen completely out of the randomness of me reading ransom articles that popped up while searching the web. While skimming through it, I came across a specific word that would conflict the overall message of the article to readers with less Spanish comprehension. The Spanish word “embarazada” as seen in the second image, means pregnant in English, although looks quite similar to the English word “embarrassed.” Words like this are called false cognates, and commonly cause misinterpretation and confusion to the reader due to the similarities in sound and spelling.
Carson’s and Vandiver’s translations to Sappho’s ‘’Hymn to Aphrodite’’ showed many differences with each other. This is due to the different angles of perception these two authors had while reading the original piece. At the end of Vandiver’s translation, there is a piece explaining that there was confusion on either the first words of the poem was either “poikiloTHron’’ or ‘’poikiloPHron,’’ which each has different meanings. This example fits in perfectly with my example about misinterpreting words just based on how they look, although they have different meanings. The second to last stanza in Carson’s translation, “For if she flies, soon she will pursue. If she refuses gifts, rather she will give them. If she does not love, soon she will love, even unwilling,” shows the love being confessed for Aphrodite, and encouragement to pursue her and continue to love her. While in the second to last stanza in Vandiver’s translation,“Now she  runs away, but she’ll soon pursue you; Gifts she now rejects–soon enough she’ll give them; Now she doesn’t love you, but soon her heart will Burn, though unwilling” There is a slight difference in wordplay that can shape the entire tone of the message. With using the word “though,” Vandiver portraits Aphrodite loving back to be less of an accomplishment or glorified achievement. The word “though” normally follows after good news, to then introduce bad news, or in this case, a let down. In Carson’s translation, he uses the word “even” which doesn’t carry such a negative connotation. Carsons use of the word even helps to ensure the confidence that they’re will be a way for Aphrodite to love back just as much.
Ishmeal, Team Artemis

Utopian Noodle House


IMG_0311 (2)Languages are a way of expressing different cultures, ideas, and cultural identity. Many things we say in English can have a completely different in Chinese. In the picture I have above, is a restaurant sign owned by my relatives in California. I was curious about what the Chinese translation meant, so I asked my grandma what it meant and to my disbelief, it was totally different in Chinese. In English, it would be Utopia Cafe. However, in Chinese, it literally translates to King Cow Noodles. Although according to my Mom’s explanation, there’s a deeper meaning to it in Chinese. She explained how some of the characters can be used to describe “The Best” or “Number One”. In a way, it means “the best” or it’s the “number one” noodle house or restaurant. Differences in translations exist because people perceive words depending on the languages they speak.

This can link to the examples of the different translations of the writings in the Homeric Hymns of Aphrodite, translated by both Gregory Nagy and William Blake Tyrell. One example of different translations in the article would be “She received the fat and sat in the middle of the house. In every temple of the gods, she is honored, and among all mortals, she is of the gods the one venerated.” translated by Tyrell. He’s explaining how Aphrodite is the main goddess compared to the others and received most of the sacrificial offerings. She is the most respected as well. In Nagy’s version, he says “She is seated in the middle of the house, getting the richest portion. And in all the temples of the gods, she has a share in the tîmê. Among all the mortals, she is the senior goddess.” Both of their translations are similar but their word choices when describing Aphrodite was different, an example being “She received the fat and sat in the middle of the house.” compared to “She is seated in the middle of the house, getting the richest portion.”

Overall, every person has a different perspective in how they translate meanings of words varying from each language they speak.

Languages that are different and yet the same

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This is a subway map that has been confuse me for a while. When I went back to China GuangZhou this summer, subway was the most common transportation I take in order to go places. In city like GuangZhou, you can see there are a lot of foreigner come to travel or even stay because of work. The most convenient transportation for them is subway, and I see a lot of people taking it. But how can people read the destination name in English in a way which even me, a local Chinese can get confuse of? As an example, Changshou Lu, in Chinese “changshou” would have meant “Longevity”, and for “Lu” it meant “road” or “street”. In United States, many of the streets were given by name, like “Prince Street”,  “Wall Street” and “Mott Street”. So the English that was shown on the map was not exactly “English”, they are “phonetic transcription”. But for some destinations, their name are written in correct English, like “Haizhu Square”, “The Second Workers’ Cultural Palace”, and people can recognize base on the names.

If you are wondering how can this subway map links to the reading of Aphrodite, it’s because when a single Hymn were translate from two different person, the meaning of the Hymn might be different base on how the person understand the Hymn. If they translate the reading word by word, then it must be terrible because different languages have their own specific structures.

When the “Homeric Hymn of Aphrodite” was translated by Gregory Nagy, the story are more life telling and easier to be understand. In another hand, the reading that was translated by William Blake Tyrrell, was more a standard poetry, with standard format. Also in line 3 Gregory Nagy translated the sentence to “…who arouses sweet desire for gods and who subdues the races of mortal humans…” and William Blake Tyrrell translated to “…who stirs up sweet longing in gods and subdues the tribes of mortal men,” they chose different words in one single sentence. I think that William sentence reflect more about the ancient society of Greece because he chose the word “mortal men” instead of “mortal human” like Gregory did. Back at the time, men and women were in an unequal status, and in many agreements in history, human being were being written as “men”, so I look at the reading, I think William have a more precise translation.


Translating Henna words in a different way


When I was looking through the back of this Henna, I saw that there Bengali and English translation. While I was reading the English part,  I saw that the henna didn’t fully translate what it was said on the Bengali part. If a none- Bengali were to use this Henna, then they wouldn’t able to understand what it was saying on the Henna or how to use it. Even if a Bengali were to use this Henna, then they would be really confused. They would be really confused because the translation of the English it says, “Discovering the ancient art of Henna body decoration”. But in the Bengali language, it was translated different way because it saying more than just body decoration. In Bengali, it saying that there are many colors in the Henna. Also, how long the Henna needs to kept for. If this was not-Bengali, then they wouldn’t able to understand that how long they would have to keep the Henna. The translation from Bengali to English isn’t even accurate. There are still mistake with the English translation. In the English translation, it should be saying more than just discovering ancient art.

The translation wasn’t just different in the Henna but well as readings we had done so far. For example, in the excerpt “Oedipus Rex” it states,  “Strophe There is no clash of brazen 17 shields but our fight is with the War God, 18   May Phoebus who gave us the oracle 180 come to our rescue and stay the plague. [ Exit all but the CHORUS.]” (line 17- 18). The same line was translated to as follows to this,  “Strophe There is no clash of brazen17 shields but our fight is with the War God,18  who so among you knows the murderer by whose hand Laius, son of Labdacus, died- I command him to tell everything 245 to me, — yes, though he fears himself to take the blame”. The translation was translated somewhat similar but it didn’t fully. The translation one talks more about how Laius was murdered by the son of Labdacus. It also translates more about how the son of Labdacus scared to take the blame of the murdered. But without the translation, it doesn’t talk about the fear that son of Labdcus had.

-Mantaha, Team Vulcan


“Exito Aqui”


Exit here…

Spanish tends to be the one that ends up with a bad translation. The “Exit only” sign, has the Spanish translation be “Exit here”. A subtle change, where this sign only tells those leaving the Subway counter to exit here, Spanish-speakers would be very confused here, in that it would say that the exit is located here. Exit to what? The store? The line? The counter? Even more so, the Spanish translation isn’t even accurate, the word “Exit” in English isn’t “Exito” in Spanish. It is “Salida”. The translation is borderline hilarious, showcasing some truth in the stereotype of English speakers adding an o at the end of a word to make it sound Spanish. Such examples include “Caro, Entrero, and Telephono”.

The translations being completely different can be seen in the readings we had as well. For example, in Oedipus Rex, there’s a text, that states “Sweet-voiced daughter of Zeus from thy gold-paved Pythian shrine. Wafted to Thebes divine,What dost thou bring me. My soul is racked and shivers with fear. (Healer of Delos, hear!)”, (line 296-300). The translation of the same lines reads as follows, “As you have held me to my oath, I speak: I neither killed the king nor can declare the killer; but since Phoebus set the quest
it is his part to tell who the man is.” (ii). The translation completely omits any sign of Gods, and goes straight to the point of what happened, showing how in the times of the translation, the idea of Gods being the ones to look to has decreased. The low impact of Gods has made texts such as Oedipus become more like modern tales, meant to also illustrate lessons, but without any divine intervention, rather, flaws and consequences occurring due to the direct result of the mortal, and not the Gods at hand.

#translation #CLAS2 #Team Cronos #Oedipus

Translation of the words

In the picture above those Chinese words means “Fujian hundreds Second Sino-Japanese War soldier only left with 68 veterans, hundred years old veteran live in Ming style shabby room by himself”. Google translate is a great tool for me when I need to translate some words, but it is not really satisfying when it is translating a whole sentence. In Chinese, there are many words write shortly but it usually means one thing, for example, “抗战” in the picture above, it usually means “Second Sino-Japanese War” specifically, not something like Korean War, or Vietnam War. I can see why Google Translate have that kind of mistake because most of the time Google would only translate the sentence word by word, and so it makes the translation seems not so right. But even so, sometimes I would still copy the whole sentence down and let it translate since I can briefly understand what it is saying.

Also, sometimes the combination of Chinese words would lead misunderstanding too. “明朝陋室” above seems very confusing, right? “Ming Ming shabby room” doesn’t make sense for me at all, even if I never heard of this combination word but if I’m the translator I would say it is means Ming dynasty style old room, not saying “Ming Ming shabby room”. At the end, this newspaper title translation through Google Translate is just like what I have learned in the class before, Aphrodite hymns translation may be much better than machine translation since they are human-made translations, but different translation might lead to a hugely different meaning. Like “抗战” I showed before, “anti-war” is not really an “incorrect” translation, but in our mind, it only has one meaning so this might lead to a misunderstanding if you did not continue the reading. And so to the Aphrodite hymns translation, you never know this Greek word seems like this meaning but it really means another thing, you never know what the ancient Greeks were thinking at that time, and the translator will analysis those words into different meaning. So at the REAL end, translations might cause a bunch of misunderstanding or maybe errors.

#translation #CLAS1 #google translate

Is this a mistake made on purpose?

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As we know many people who don’t speak other languages than English and want to translate a phrase or anything, they would use google translate which is not always a good idea. I’m from Poland, so I speak polish and when I saw the billboard, it hurt my eyes. The mistake here is that instead of word WYPORZYCZALNIA should be WYPOZYCZALNIA, which is a grammar mistake. However, in my country, it would be considered as a bad mistake. I believe that this might be a mistake on purpose to bring polish people’s attention. This photo was taken in Ridgewood, Queens.

1st translations from “Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite”:
“But should you live as you are now in looks and body” (241) – Blake Tyrrell
“If you could only stay the way you are, in looks and constitution” (241) – Gregory Nagy
These translations are different because Tyrell used word “should”, but Nagy used “could” which have slightly different meaning. Another different choice of words is between “body” and “constitution”. Nagy and Tyrrell made somehow similar, but different translations.

2nd translation from “Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite”:
“For bows please her and the slaying of beasts in mountains, lyres, dancing choruses, and piercing cries” (18-19)- Blake Tyrrell
“For she takes pleasure in the bow and arrows, and the killing of wild beasts in the mountain” (18-19) – Gregory Nagy
In this translations, part of sentence “lyres, dancing choruses, and piercing cries” by Tyrrell is different in Nagy translation, and sound “for she takes pleasure in the bow and arrows” which is completely different. Tyrrell gave more verbs about how she was pleased by “lyres, dancing choruses, and piercing cries”, but Nagy only used “bow and arrows”.

Edyta, team Aphrodite



  1. I am not trying to curse here. What they were trying to say is that ice cream is selling in assortment. 
  2. 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


Blotting Paper Translation


Most people have probably come across a translation from one language to another where it just does not look or sound right. This usually does not happen in branded stores/ companies because they are usually checked thoroughly for errors but much rather happens in mom and pop shops. The image shown above is the packaging of blotting papers that I purchased straight from the Daiso Japan store when I went to California. The packaging does not have that many errors but I still see a few.  The translation is from Japanese to English but the English translation is a little off when we look at the ‘Description’ section “A made from old tradition japanese…”, the ‘A’ could have just been left out because it clearly does not fit in. Then, in the ‘How to use’ section “For shinny face…”, the word “shinny” has a completely different meaning which is pick-up hockey. They meant to spell it without the extra n as “shiny” which fits into the context. Another translation error is in the ‘Caution’ section “Please do not rud on the skin strong.”, the word ‘red’ is used incorrectly here because it means the color red especially on the face. The word ‘rub’ would have been better, although small errors, it still confused me when reading this packaging.

There are two translations of “Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite”, the first translation is by Gregory Nagy where it states “Too bad that her thinking was disconnected! The Lady Eos did not notice in her phrenes that she should have asked for adolescence and a stripping away baneful old age.” (lines 223-224)

The second translation of “Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite” was translated by William Blake Terrell where it states “Fool, lady Eos did not think in her breast to ask for youth and the rubbing away of destructive old age.” (lines 223-224)

While looking at the first translation by Gregory Nagy, it says “Too bad that her thinking was disconnected!”, this turned into just “Fool” in the translation by William Blake Terrell. This was probably done because it was a shorter way of describing Lady Eos. Also, Gregory Nagy translated “…did not notice in her phrenes…” and William Blake Terrell translate “…did not think in her breast…”, two different words in each were used differently. The word choices were different when comparing the first translation to the second, the second translation uses words that are a lot easier to comprehend and while the first translation is understandable, it is not the easiest to read.

-Raine, Team Jupiter

Are We Living By The Word?

20170903_000342The difference in translation mean a lot to the readers as it carries different meanings. The hoe of words during interpretation is vital, as it must seek to retain the meaning of a text.

The picture above was taken today as I sat to read my bible in my local dialect. Psalms Chapter 35 verse 1 in English says,

‘O LORD, oppose those who oppose me, fight those who fight against me.’

But in “Asante Twi”, as pictured above translates it as

“O LORD, quarrel those who quarrel me and fight those who fight me”, which is totally different (misleading).

This makes me ask the question if we are really living by the Word since the bible was written in Hebrew and has so many translations in English alone not to talk of other languages such as Chinese and French.

There is a similarity between this and the Sappho, “Hymn to Aphrodite” we discussed in class. In the last stanza, Carson’s translation is as follows,

“Come to me now: loose me from hard
Care and all my heart longs
To accomplish, accomplish. You
Be my ally.”

Vandiver’s translation also says,

“Come to me once more, and abate my torment;
Take the bitter care from my mind, and give me
All I long for; Lady, in all my battles
Fight as my comrade.”

Both translations are emphasizing on a particular plea Sappho is telling Aphrodite. The difference exists as both used different words in re-writing the hymn which was in ancient Greek Language.

In Carson’s translation, he makes Sappho’s plea a little weak and circles it around the fact that she “Sappho” is calling on Aphrodite to come forth to her and loose her from her situation and to care for her for all she wants is to accomplish her dream (to get her lover to reason and love her as she loves her) by supporting her.

But in Vandiver’s translation, he makes Sappho’s plea carry a lot of passion as its sang by the use of the words “torment” and “bitter”. Analyzing that one can say Sappho is really heartbroken. Also it elaborates on how Sappho is in desperate need of love and affection from her lover. In lines 3 and 4, he lets us know with his choice of vocabulary that Aphrodite has helped Sappho many times in the past quote,

“All I long for; Lady, in all my battles

Fight as my comrade.”

And this shows the power Aphrodite possesses.

Richard, Team Vulcan.

What do you mean?


I decided to choose this prompt because I see this all the time on Facebook. Sometimes posts from different people with different languages get shared on my newsfeed. With my curiosity, I still want to know what the post is about and look through the comment section to pass time. The comment above is from pictures of a pretty young girl who is a model with down syndrome. The translation is incorrect because it changes the subject from a “she” to a “he”. I’m not sure why this error occurred since “hermosa” is feminine, but since the subject was translated in a masculine way, “su” continued on as “his”. To someone who doesn’t really understand Spanish and use this translation option on Facebook, they might think that maybe this young girl might associate with being a boy. I mean, it is 2017. However, it could contribute a different feel to their perspective and how they view her.

Depending on how something is translated, it could add an altered meaning or tone to a subject. We could see an example of this in the different translations of Sappho’s ‘Hymn to Aphrodite’. These are the openings of each translations:

“Subtly bedizened Aphrodite, Deathless daughter of Zeus, Wile-weaver, I beg you, Empress, do not smite me With anguish and fever” (Sappho, ‘Hymn to Aphrodite’, Poochigian’s Translation, lines 1-4)

“Deathless Aphrodite of the spangled mind child of Zeus, who twists lures, I beg you do not break with hard pains O lady, my heart!”(Sappho, ‘Hymn to Aphrodite’, Carson Translation, lines 1-4)

“Iridescent-throned Aphrodite, deathless Child of Zeus, wile-weaver, I now implore you, Don’t–I beg you, Lady–with pains and torments Crush down my spirit,” (Sappho, ‘Hymn to Aphrodite’, Vandiver Translation, lines 1-4)

As you can see, each translation sets a different tone on what is happening. The Vandiver translation gives a much more intensified feeling when confronting Aphrodite saying, “…I now implore you, Don’t—I beg you, Lady—with pains and torments Crush down my spirit,” (Lines 2-4). It shows how powerful Aphrodite actually is and how severe the plea is. In the Carson translation, the tone is slightly calmer and more heartfelt when coming to Aphodite for help, “…I beg you do not break with hard pains O lady, my heart!” (Lines 2-4). On the other hand, the Poochigian’s translation simply shows the need of assistance from Aphrodite with a little less emotion. Each of the translations could have been made to bring out a certain perception of the situation or subjects at hand. This shows how translation could deeply affect how we interpret certain things.

Ivory, Team Artemis

Die Hard


From one language to another or from one translation to another meanings are changed. Most translations are meant to convey the same meaning but at times can be interpreted in a vast way. In the image above is an advertisement for the american movie “Die Hard” translated in Russian as “Tough nut”. It may have been portrayed that way since sometimes people are referred to as a “tough nut to crack” meaning there a challenge  . So too, “die hard” would be considered as a difficult task; making dying hard.

In “Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite” there are two translations. In the first translation by Gregory Nagy it states: We were having a good time, and a crowd so large that you couldn’t count them was standing around us in a circle.Then it was that the one with the golden wand, the Argos-killer, abducted me.He carried me over many fields of mortal humans and over vast stretches of land unclaimed and unsettled, where wild beasts, eaters of raw flesh, roam about, in and out of their shaded lairs.” (lines 120-124)

The second translation by William Blake Tyrrell states:Many of us nymphs and virgins worth many oxen were playing, and an endless company encircled us.From there he carried me off, Argeiphontes of the golden wand.He led me across the many works of mortal men,over vast land unowned and uncultivated, that carnivorous beasts roam throughout shadowy haunts.”(lines 120-124)

In the first translation Gregory Nagy gives a more descriptive and clearer outline to whats taking place. For instance he writes “We were having good time, ….” unlike the second translation says that the “nymphs and virgins worth many oxen were playing”. The word playing does not inform us that they had a good time or of what they were playing. That is just one example of a translation being unclear or different some may be found in books and others in our everyday lives.

-Anora, Team Diana

Water smoke?


People have been mistranslating things since ancient times. The picture above is a set of instructions from a watch I bought this week. The instructions are written in Chinese and then translated into English. In the English translation many words are off. For example, it says not to wear the watch in ‘broiling or freezing environment’ , ‘Do not wear in puissant electric field’ , ‘Do not drop it onto hard ground. The watch can bear normal shake but not hard shock.’ And lastly of course the instructions say ‘water smoke’ instead of steam. The instructions may be translated this way because in Chinese there may be no word for steam for example and so they use a description hence, ‘water smoke’.
This is similar to the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite that we read in class. For example in one translation we were given it says,
“…Say he is the offspring of one of the flower-faced nymphs. But if you say out loud and boast with thumos bereft of phrenes that you made love to the Lady of Kythera , the one with the beautiful garlands…Avoid the menis of the gods.” (The first translation of the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite line 283-286, 290.)
In the second translation is says,
“ ‘He is the offspring,’ they say ‘Of a nymph as pretty as a flower bud, … But if you blurt out and boast foolishly that you mingled in love with garlanded Kytheria …Heed the wrath of the gods.” (Second translation of The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, second to last paragraph.)
In the second translation it translates as ‘a nymph as pretty as a flower bud’ and the first translation says ‘Flower-faced nymphs.’ This is perhaps so we don’t think the nymphs’ faces are actual flowers. The second translation also translates Greek words that the first translation does not translate, presumably for better understanding.

Hinda, Team Mars