Saturday, July 12, 2014

t is for translation, trails, and a way of looking at things


Translation
By definition, translation is "the process of turning an original or "source" text into a text in another language"

Interesting word history: "The word translation derives from the Latin translatio (which itself comes from trans- and fero, the supine form of which is latum, together meaning "to carry across" or "to bring across")."

In German, "translation" is called "übersetzen" - which still has the second meaning of carrying across, for example: the passage of a ferry from one side to the other side of a river is also called "übersetzen".

Trails & Photos
The image above is a translation, too: the original photo is in color, and has a different format: it's a landscape photo. It's from France - which is called "Frankreich" in German.
Seen from a camera angle, every photo is a translation, too: a snapshot of reality as it presented itself at a certain time and place, seen from our angle.



A way of looking at things
And a beautiful link: Nobel laureate Herta Müller who grew up in Romania, yet learned German as mother language there, reflected on the art of translation in a speech, which itself got translated in over 10 languages. Here's a quote:
"The art of translation is looking at words in order to see how those words see the world...  Each sentence is a way of looking at things, crafted by its speakers in a very particular way. Each language sees the world differently, inventing its entire vocabulary from its own perspective and weaving it into the web of its grammar in its own way. Each language has different eyes sitting inside its words."
And here's the text page with links: The Space between Languages

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1 comment:

Chris said...

A way of looking at things indeed. I think the final stage of learning a language is understanding the vocabulary, idioms and word structure from the inside--the way a native speaker does. When you achieve that, you are fluent. This really came home to me when I wrote a piece in another language then translated it to my mother tongue. I thought it would be easy because, after all, I was translating myself. And yet, it turned out I had to translate my thinking as well. Not only were some of the idioms non-existent in English, they had no real equivalents. Some of the sentences that would make perfect sense to the original audience required explanations in English. An interesting exercise. I should probably do it more often.
Viel Spaß beim Übersetzen!