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Linguaholic

What do you think it's the hardest part about translating?


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Even if I don't really work as a translator, as a bilingual person, I usually find myself in situations where I need to translate for various reasons, even if I post something in English, I still sometimes think what I'm going to write on Spanish, and sometimes it can be difficult. I think that the hardest part for me is when a word has a meaning ofits original language, but when you try to translate it, it doesn't make any sense and you need to look for a word that has a similar meaning and sometimes the sentence doesn't have the same meaning, that can be really stressful to me!

So what about you? In your experience, what's the hardest part when it comes to translating?

I would love to hear your opinions and experiences! 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think that the hardest thing about translating, like you said, is keeping the same essence of a sentence while translating. It is very difficult to keep the exact same mood of the sentence when different words in different languages might have the same diction, but not connotation. Also, idioms are very hard to translate! Idioms are a very touchy thing to translate, most definitely!

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I completely agree with you! The hardest part of translating, in my opinion, is trying to keep the same meaning in both languages. I have an exclusively Spanish-speaking mother, and sometimes when I try to translate things for her I realize that what I say has a slightly different connotation than it originally did in English. Effective translation really is an art.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My current focus is Yiddish and the order of words changes if a moment in time is emphasized in a sentence by beginning the sentence which can make it take longer for my brain to process and understand when people speak Yiddish so I can mentally translate and reply to them or understand the full context of sentences when they talk.  A very simple sentence like "I should buy something today" where haynt in Yiddish means today would be "Ikh zol koyfn epes haynt" which is constructed just like in English, but if the word for today is emphasized by saying "Today I should buy something" you don't say "Haynt Ikh zol koyfn epes".  Instead, you emphasize the moment in time by saying "Haynt zol Ikh koyfn epes", which sounds like a question because zol means should and Ikh means I, which can confuse and disrupt my immediate translation when I listen to people speak Yiddish.  Similarly, if I say in Yiddish "Ikh ken redn un farshtayn a sakh yiddish itst" which means "I can speak and understand a lot of yiddish now" where itst means now, Ikh means I, and ken means can.  If I emphasize now as the moment in time and say "Now I can speak and understand a lot of yiddish" the rule is I have to say "Itst ken Ikh redn un farshtayn a sakh yiddish" which sounds like a question to someone who is used to English sentence construction.  This does not cause me problems when I am translating Yiddish while reading it but it can and has caused me issues when I need to instantly translate speech while listening to someone talk using multiple sentences in the language. 

 

 

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The hardest part IMO is to make sure the translated text makes sense when translating some features the source language has, but the target language doesn't.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it's very difficult if there is a word or an expression that doesn't exist in other languages. Sometimes you have a really good sentence in your mother tongue in mind, but there is no word or expression that translates it as you'd like to say it! Or - even worse: there really is no similar word for that in the other language!

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  • 1 month later...

For new translators, I think the hardest thing is to avoid being literal in your translation.  You need to find your style and be able to convey the intent of the original source message while making sure it reads correctly and smoothly in your target language.

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