What is translation? Translation is the delivery of speech from on language into another. Also, it is considered an explanation. The meaning explanation is very important because it is the basis of translating. Therefore, it is very crucial that the translator achieves a full understanding of what he/she should translate
Who is the Translator?
The translator is the person who translates. The word refers to the one who does a written Translation i.e. translates a text from one language to another. Whereas, an interpreter is the person who mediates between speakers of different languages
Translation is a form of art that is difficult to practice. It is an art of unifying the branches of the sourcelanguage and the targetlanguage. It cannot be mastered, unless: 1.The translator has a broad knowledge of vocabularies of both languages. This is in order not to fall in the pitch of �Literal Translation� where the translator relies completely on dictionaries and thesauruses. The translator has to continuously read books of literature and sciences of the source language he/she is translating. Consequently, this will enrich his/her knowledge of the cultural background of the people who speak that language. 2.The translator has thoroughly studied the grammar, syntax, and the rhetoric of both languages. The goal is to understand the purpose of the writer and his/her work that is being translated. As a result, the Translation will be semantic equivalent. 3. The translator achieves an efficient understanding of various topics in the different fields of knowledge. This is attained through intensive reading on literature, history, medicine, geography, chemistry, biology, engineering�etc. The purpose of this is not to mix between words and utterances that appear in the text to be translated. For example, the translator should be aware of the difference between labor as in �working hard�, and labor as in �contractions of the womb at childbirth�, in order to realize that the second meaning is the intended in a medical book about pregnancy. 4.The translator has Fidelity: When delivering the ideas that are in the original text, the translator should pay attention that he/she is translating without summarizing or deleting parts of the text. He/she should do so while maintaining clarity and accuracy of meaning. Clearly, the amateur translator must learn the difference between fidelity and literal word-by-word translation. As fidelity requires keeping the soul of the original text, literal Translation only attempts to present a conversion of the words. This can lead to giving the readers a distorted image of the writer�s style and ideas. 5.The translator is patient: this is important as Translation needs practicing and training over a long period of time. In addition to constant search in thesauruses, dictionaries, and other resources. .
The first sign to show that there were translators was the letters that were sent t by Al-Sham's royals to Aknaton, asking him for money and help. Omar ben Al-Kattab is considered to be the first Arabic translator because he requested to translate some Persian books into Arabic.
In the Arab history, there were two historical periods, when translation took place from foreign language into Arabic and vise versa. When the period of the Arabic conquests was mostly stopped, Arabs started improving their culture by taking from the human traditions of those nations they lived with, such as Persian, Romans, Greeks and Indians. They also had translated the scientific traditions, so they translated lots of Greece science into Arabic, such as the books of Plato and Aristotle.The translation had reached the top during the age of the caliph Ma'moon, Haroon Al-Rasheed's son. Honayn ben Isaac was considered to be the best translator at that time.He was paid gold for how much his translation's weight. There were two ways in translation. John ben Al-Batreeq came up with the first way which was translation from Greece to Arabic word by word. The second way, however, was Honayn ben Isaac's who used to translate the meaning of each sentence. During the thirteen century, on the other hand, and as a result of the integration between European and Arabs, the translation from Arabic to Latinate and other European languages took place
Tools in Translation Every artist has his own tools to use in his art. A musician, for example, has his own instruments and his own musical notes. A painter has his own brushes, colors and pictures, but before using those tools, an artist should have a smart brain and great emotions. The tools that the translator must know how to use and deal with are: 1- Dictionaries that deal with only one language (English English dictionaries): Those dictionaries translate words from English to English and have different types of levels and fields. For example, some of them suit students in high school, others are suitable for university students, and others are helpful to professional translators. Examples of this kind of dictionaries: A- The Oxford English Dictionary B- Webster's (unabridged) dictionary 2- Dictionaries that contain two languages: �Arabic in general� They translate words from English to Arabic. Examples: A- Al-Mawred Al- Kabeer B- Al-Mugni Al-Kabeer 3- Dictionaries that contain two languages: �English in general� They translate from Arabic to English. Words in these kinds of dictionaries are organized upon infinitive verbs. Examples: A- Al-Qamoos Al- Asri Arabic/ English B- Al- Mawred Arabic/ English 4- Arabic dictionaries/ Arabic in general: They help in knowing the particular meaning, and in knowing the rare Arabic words. Examples: A- Al- Moa'jam Al- Wasee B- Al- Monjed Fe Alloghah wal A3lam 5- Dictionaries of art in language: A translator would need this type of dictionary to improve his competence in translation. There are five kinds under this type: A- Usage dictionaries which are used to improve the translator�s ability in dealing with non-ordinary expressions. Example: Dictionary of English Usage B- Dictionaries of synonyms and antonyms. Example: Roget's Thesaurus C- Slang dictionaries: The current American and English literature along with newspapers may contain many slang words that cannot be found in the normal dictionaries. Examples of slang words: Gotcha this word means I understood what you said Workaholic this word refers to a person who works a lot (a work addict). An example of slang dictionary: Dictionary of American Slang and Street Talk
D- Idioms dictionaries: Examples: A- A Concise Dictionary of English Idioms (Libraire du Liban) B- A Grammar of English Words (Longman) E- Dictionaries of English proverbs: Example: English Proverbs Explained (Libraire du Liban) 6- Specialist dictionaries: Translators should get help from specialist encyclopedias in every field they are translating in. If translating in economic sciences, forexample, a translator should use a dictionary of economic and commercial idioms. Example: El Assiouty's Banking and Financial Dictionary If translating in the field of policy and diplomacy, a translator should use a dictionary in that field, such as, A Dictionary of Diplomacy 7- General encyclopedias: It is very important for the translator to know how to use an encyclopedias because in most of the time the information contained there is what makes people understand the whole text, and there fore translate it well. There are many levels in these encyclopedias, first of which are specialized levels for kids. Example: The New Junior World Encyclopedia In other levels, huge encyclopedias are used, such as, Encyclopedia Britannica. These west encyclopedias, however, miss lots of Arabic information, so a translator should use some specialist encyclopedias in Arabic and Islamic culture while using them. 8- Specialist encyclopedias: When the translator is specialized in translating one of the science's branches, it's better for him to use an encyclopedia that serves the same branch as well. 9- Books of grammar of language: Example: Marja'ek Ada'em fe Qawa'ed Alloghah Al- gharbeah
10- Computers: Although the electronic translation has been there for many years, the whole dependency on computers is still mostly impossible.
Translation has no fixed rules. However, there are certain tips that professional translators have concluded as the answers to the common obstacles that they faced during the translation process. In order to understand the solutions, these translators divided the grammar and style difficulties into two categories: 1.difficulties related to vocabulary and utterances. 2.difficulties related to sentence structure.
Since the previous categories are very interrelated, each concept will be explained individually.
Vocabulary and Utterances
One important rule a translator should know is that words and utterances don�t have meaning on their own, but they acquire their meaning according to the context that contains them. Therefore, when a translator is before a word that he knows, yet not sure whether the meaning he knows fits the context or not, he/she must go back to a thesaurus to reveal the other possible meanings of the same word. Sometimes, the translator won�t find the intended meaning in those dictionaries. Then, he/she will have to think of what the word means in this particular context. For example, the following are sentences that involve the word �right� with a different meaning every time: I turned to the right, to find a car standing next to me. This is the right answer. He left right away. I was asked to draw a right angle on the board. In conclusion, always keep in mind that:
The context defines the meaning of the word.
In order to provide an accurate translation, there is a need to understand the difference between the English style of writing and the Arabic style of writing. Characteristics of the English sentence: 1.overusing complex sentences that consist of a sentence with the main verb, followed by several complements and modifiers, so that if a part of this complex sentence is omitted, the structure of the sentence collapses. e.g. As he knew the report that said their leader was ill, he felt sad. 2.delaying the main predicate and placing it near the end of the sentence to achieve suspense, like the previous example. 3.overusing the passive voice even if the subject is known. 4.the function of the word if defined by its position in the sentence, and the structure of the sentence is usually: S(ubject) + V(erb) + O(bject). Whereas in Arabic, the function of the word is defined through nunnation. e.g. The cat killed the rat is not the same as The rat killed the cat in English.
As for Arabic,
قتل القطُ الجرذ
َقتل الجرذ َ القطُ
القطُ قتل الجرذ َ
الجرذ َ قتله القط
As long as the end of the word القط has ُ”dumma” and the end of the word الجرذ has َ “fat-ha”, then the subject and the object can be determined. 5.the over usage of the abbreviations and idioms 6.using understatement when expressing feelings rather than overstatement.
Characteristics of the Arabic Sentence: 1.Arabic is an atomic language; the text is formed of small units (short sentences) that are separable. Then, the sentences can be joined with simple coordinating conjunctions. 2.Arabs cannot wait for the main predicate in the sentence. Therefore, the Arabic sentence should have the predicate near the beginning of the sentence. e.g. I felt sad since I wasn’t able to attend the party , is preferable over: Since I wasn’t able to attend the party, I felt sad. 3. the passive voice is used only when the subject is not mentioned. 4. the Arabic sentence usually starts with the verb (verbal sentence) that refer to “occurrence and revival” (يحارب الرجال). Also, it could start with the noun (nominal sentence) which refers to continuity (الرجال محاربون). However, if the predicate was a verbal sentence which verb is in the present tense, then it also means occurrence and revival (الرجال يحاربون).
In general, we should never forget the most important rule: Conversion of the style of the original language to the style of the language it will be translated to, and keeping the soul of the original text.
when translating proper nouns, start with a capital letter and spell the name as it is heard not as it means.
e.g. Helen = هيلين Omar = عمر There are some proper nouns that could tempt the translator to give the meaning of it rather that just delivering the pronunciation of it. e.g. George Bush = جورج بوش and not, شجيرة جورج Ali Al-Najjar = علي النجار and not, Ali the carpenter (unless the carpenter is his job not his name)
pay attention to the changes that occur to the names of the countries and cities of the world.
e.g. Ceylon = سيلان has been changed to Sri Lanka = سريلانكا Siam =سيام has been changed to Thailand = تايلاند
Another example of bad translation:
1- He let the cat out of the bag. ترك القطة خارج الحقيبة x أخرج القط من الحقيبة The Pacific Ocean has a larger surface than all the dry land on earth. المحيط السلمي عنده سطح أكبر من كل الأرض الجافة على الأرض x سطح المحيط الهادي أكبر من كل مساحة اليابسة على سطح الأرض
As the population of the world grows, the demand for water will increase too. كسكان العالم تنمين, الطلب للماء سيزيد جدا x كلما نما عدد سكان العالم, ازداد الطلبعلى الماء.
Types of Translation
While the two ways that Arab translators (John Ben Al-Batreeq and Honayn Ben Isaac) have used in translating sciences were stated before, Dryden differs between three types of literary translation. Those types are: 1- Translation of word by word which he calls as (metaphrase). 2- Translation of meaning which he calls as (paraphrase). 3- Translation that the translator may edit a sentence in it or edit the whole poem to let it occur in its best form which he calls as (imitation). Nowadays, we have different types of translation which are: 1- Literal translation: In this type, the translator translates each word in the same sentence's structure without caring about the expressions of the language he is translating to. This may end with having a bad and an unclear translated text. This type is usually used by untrained translators. Example, in translating this poem for Shakespeare: Take, O take those lips away That so sweetly were foresworn And those eyes, the break of day, Lights that do mislead the morn; But my kisses bring again, bring again! Seals of love but sealed in vain, Sealed in vain! An untrained translator may translate it like this: خذوا, خذوا هذه الشفاه بعيدا التي بحلاوة حنثت و تلك العيون, انكسار الصباح, أضواء التي تضل الصباح و لكن قبلاتي أحضروها ثانية, أحضروها ثانية! أختام حب و لكن ختمت عبثا, ختمت عبثا!
In this translation, we observe this: 1- (Take away) may means خذوا بعيدا and it's right, but the meaning of the expression here is أبعدوا. 2- The word (sweetly) which the translator translated into حلاوة would be better if he replaced it with the phrase في عذوبة. 3- The literal meaning of (abreak of day) is انكسار الصباح, but its right meaning is الفجر. 4- (Bring again) is better to be translated asأعيدوا. 5- He translated (lights) without referring to anything which is not acceptable in Arabic language. 2- Adaptation: It is a literal translation for the whole sentence, in the way that the translator chooses his words to show the meaning that the writer means. He does that with caring about the language structure of the language he is translating to. In this type the translator doesn't oppress himself to write the same number of the words in the sentences will be translated. This kind of translation is usually used by students in high schools and universities. This type has two types in translation: A- Concessionaire translation: The translator in this kind sticks as possible to the meaning of the original text. This type is used in translating rules, treaties and countries conventions. The poem above can be translated in this type as this: أبعدوا عني تلك الشفاه التي غدرت في عذوبة وأبعدوا تلك العيون شبيهة الفجر التي يضل ضياؤها الصباح و لكن أعيدوا لي قبلاتي أعيدوها لي! أختام الحب التي ختمت هباء ختمت هباء! In this translation, we observe this: 1- He added the word شبيهة, for the meaning's lucidity. 2- He referred the light ضياء to العيونalthough it wasn't there in the original text, but the writer meant it. B- Smart translation: In this type, the translator studies the style of the writer, and then imagines that he has the same personality of the writer. Then, he asks himself how would the writer write this poem if he would understand Arabic? In this kind, the translator may translate the poem above as this: إليكن عني فتلك الشفاه عذوبتها حنثت باليمين و تلك العيون ضياء مبين و فجر يضل مسير الصباح و لكن أعيدوا لي القبل أعيدوا الرواء طوابع حب طواها الأجل و ضاعت هباء! In this translation, we feel that the translator is acting as Shakespeare and that he is trying to show the meanings of Shakespeare's, further more, he tried to stick with the number of the poem lines. 3- Creative translation: In this type, the translator sticks to the topic and the main ideas of the original text. Otherwise, he has the freedom in his style of writing, in expressions that are used and in figurative speech. More than that, he can add and delete some of the unimportant details. This type is used in poems, because in translating them, creating new ones with most of the ideas of the writer and with Arabic rhythms and rimes is better. In translating Shakespeare's poem, translator in this type may translate it like this: أبعدوا عني الشفاه اللواتي كن يطفئن من أوار الصادي و أبعدوا عني العيون اللواتي هن فجر يضل صبح العباد و استردوا إن استطعتم مردا قبلاتي من الخدود النوادي 4- Explained translation: In this type, the translator adds some phrases to explain the ambiguity in the original text. These additions can be included to the translated text or, in the margin, which is better. This type is usually used in scientific scripts which have some ambiguous words that are needed to be defined in the margin. 5- Summarized translation: In this type, the translator gives a brief general idea about the topic he is translating it. He does that as a step to help him choose the right text to be translated. 6- Arabization: This word doesn't mean to arabicize words and expressions, but it is usually done to literary texts in order to change their characters, environment and attitudes with keeping the topic and the conflict of the original literary work. 7- Summarized-Acclimatized translation: It is one of the branches of Arabization. In this type, the literary text is changed into Saudi, Egyptian or Lebanese environment with using the slang languages of the countries they are translating to. 8- Borrowing- Adaptation: In this type, the translator borrows the idea of the main conflict of the literary work, but with creating new sub situations in the new work.
1- Skim the paragraph only to get the main idea of it. 2- Read the paragraph the second time carefully until you reach its exact meaning. 3- Read it for the third time to mark the words, expressions and phrases that u didn't understand. Then, check their meanings in dictionaries. In dictionaries, you will find lots of meanings for each word, so choose the one that fits your paragraph. In the case that you didn't find the meaning of the word in dictionaries, let the text help you to guess it. 4- In the fourth reading, read a sentence by sentence, and then translate one by one literal translation. 5- In the fifth reading, reread each sentence and make sure the sentence structure corresponds with the language you are translating to. 6- In the sixth reading, read the whole paragraph to find the right punctuations that connect sentences with each others. Then, do your best to make the paragraph looks in its perfect and rhetorical form. After that, if you find that there are words that are more applicable than others, don't hesitate to change them. 7- Have a final look at the paragraph in order to clear off your work from the grammar and spelling mistakes.
The work of the translator is less difficult than that of the interpreter. Interpreter's work requires a lot of experience and patience. interpreters work is really hard; unfortunately, the recent statistics indicate that interpreters die early
So be careful all, don't work too hard