French-language versions of the complete Saragossa Manuscript have since been produced, based on extant French-language fragments and on French-language versions that have been back-translated from Chojecki's Polish version. Many works by the influential Classical physician Galen survive only in medieval Arabic translation. Some survive only in Renaissance Latin translations from the Arabic, thus at a second remove from the original. To better understand Galen, scholars have attempted back-translation of such works in order to reconstruct the original Greek. When historians suspect that a document is actually a translation from another language, back-translation into that hypothetical original language can provide supporting evidence by showing that such characteristics as idioms , puns , peculiar grammatical structures, etc.
For example, the known text of the Till Eulenspiegel folk tales is in High German but contains puns that work only when back-translated to Low German. This seems clear evidence that these tales or at least large portions of them were originally written in Low German and translated into High German by an over- metaphrastic translator.
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Supporters of Aramaic primacy —the view that the Christian New Testament or its sources were originally written in the Aramaic language —seek to prove their case by showing that difficult passages in the existing Greek text of the New Testament make much more sense when back-translated to Aramaic : that, for example, some incomprehensible references are in fact Aramaic puns that do not work in Greek. Due to similar indications, it is believed that the 2nd century Gnostic Gospel of Judas , which survives only in Coptic , was originally written in Greek.
John Dryden — , the dominant English-language literary figure of his age, illustrates, in his use of back-translation, translators' influence on the evolution of languages and literary styles. Dryden is believed to be the first person to posit that English sentences should not end in prepositions because Latin sentences cannot end in prepositions. As Latin does not have sentences ending in prepositions, Dryden may have applied Latin grammar to English, thus forming the controversial rule of no sentence-ending prepositions , subsequently adopted by other writers. A competent translator is not only bilingual but bicultural.
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A language is not merely a collection of words and of rules of grammar and syntax for generating sentences , but also a vast interconnecting system of connotations and cultural references whose mastery, writes linguist Mario Pei , "comes close to being a lifetime job. Viewed in this light, it is a serious misconception to assume that a person who has fair fluency in two languages will, by virtue of that fact alone, be consistently competent to translate between them. The translator's role in relation to a text has been compared to that of an artist, e.
Translation, like other human activities,  entails making choices, and choice implies interpretation. And there, my dear, I beg you to let yourself be guided more by your temperament than by a strict conscience The necessity of making choices , and therefore of interpretation, in translating [g] and in other fields of human endeavor stems from the ambiguity that subjectively pervades the universe.
Part of the ambiguity, for a translator, involves the structure of human language.
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Psychologist and neural scientist Gary Marcus notes that "virtually every sentence [that people generate] is ambiguous , often in multiple ways. Our brain is so good at comprehending language that we do not usually notice. Ambiguity is a concern to both translators and, as the writings of poet and literary critic William Empson have demonstrated, to literary critics. Ambiguity may be desirable, indeed essential, in poetry and diplomacy ; it can be more problematic in ordinary prose. A translator is faced with two contradictory tasks: when translating, strive for omniscience ; when reviewing the resulting translation, assume the naive reader's ignorance.
Translators may render only parts of the original text, provided that they inform readers of that action. But a translator should not assume the role of censor and surreptitiously delete or bowdlerize passages merely to please a political or moral interest. Translating has served as a school of writing for many an author, much as the copying of masterworks of painting has schooled many a novice painter.
Translating like analytic philosophy compels precise analysis of language elements and of their usage. In the poet Ezra Pound , then at St. Elizabeth's Hospital , in Washington, D. Merwin : "The work of translation is the best teacher you'll ever have.
Translators, including monks who spread Buddhist texts in East Asia , and the early modern European translators of the Bible , in the course of their work have shaped the very languages into which they have translated. They have acted as bridges for conveying knowledge between cultures ; and along with ideas, they have imported from the source languages, into their own languages, loanwords and calques of grammatical structures , idioms , and vocabulary.
Interpreting , or "interpretation," is the facilitation of oral or sign-language communication , either simultaneously or consecutively, between two, or among three or more, speakers who are not speaking, or signing, the same language. The term "interpreting," rather than "interpretation," is preferentially used for this activity by Anglophone translators, to avoid confusion with other meanings of the word " interpretation.
Interpreters have sometimes played crucial roles in history. As a child she had been sold or given to Maya slave-traders from Xicalango, and thus had become bilingual. Nearly three centuries later, in the United States , a comparable role as interpreter was played for the Lewis and Clark Expedition of —6 by Sacagawea. As a child, the Lemhi Shoshone woman had been kidnapped by Hidatsa Indians and thus had become bilingual. Sacagawea facilitated the expedition's traverse of the North American continent to the Pacific Ocean. In the United States today, interpreting as a line of work has become increasingly professionalized in recent decades, and there is now a variety of professional associations and certifications available to provide resources on ethics and practices and ensure trustworthy, quality interpretation services.
However, many US companies and organizations remain unaware of the importance of turning to professional or experienced interpreters rather than asking their bilingual colleagues or community members to interpret. Turning to bilingual individuals who are not experienced interpreters can lead to unreliable or unethical interpreting practices, and it can place an unwanted burden on those individuals, whether it be professionally or emotionally.
Sworn translation , also called "certified translation," aims at legal equivalence between two documents written in different languages. It is performed by someone authorized to do so by local regulations, which vary widely from country to country. Some countries recognize self-declared competence. Others require the translator to be an official state appointee. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, certain government institutions require that translators be accredited by certain translation institutes or associations in order to be able to carry out certified translations.
Many commercial services exist that will interpret spoken language via telephone. There is also at least one custom-built mobile device that does the same thing. The device connects users to human interpreters who can translate between English and other languages. Web-based human translation is generally favored by companies and individuals that wish to secure more accurate translations. In view of the frequent inaccuracy of machine translations, human translation remains the most reliable, most accurate form of translation available.
While not instantaneous like its machine counterparts such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish , web-based human translation has been gaining popularity by providing relatively fast, accurate translation of business communications, legal documents, medical records, and software localization. Language tools on the internet provide help in understanding text. Computer-assisted translation CAT , also called "computer-aided translation," "machine-aided human translation" MAHT and "interactive translation," is a form of translation wherein a human translator creates a target text with the assistance of a computer program.
The machine supports a human translator.
Computer-assisted translation can include standard dictionary and grammar software. The term, however, normally refers to a range of specialized programs available to the translator, including translation-memory , terminology-management , concordance , and alignment programs. These tools speed up and facilitate human translation, but they do not provide translation. The latter is a function of tools known broadly as machine translation. Machine translation MT is a process whereby a computer program analyzes a source text and, in principle, produces a target text without human intervention.
In reality, however, machine translation typically does involve human intervention, in the form of pre-editing and post-editing.source url
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These produce rough translations that, under favorable circumstances, "give the gist" of the source text. With the Internet, translation software can help non-native-speaking individuals understand web pages published in other languages. Whole-page-translation tools are of limited utility, however, since they offer only a limited potential understanding of the original author's intent and context; translated pages tend to be more erroneously humorous and confusing than enlightening. Interactive translations with pop-up windows are becoming more popular. These tools show one or more possible equivalents for each word or phrase.
Human operators merely need to select the likeliest equivalent as the mouse glides over the foreign-language text. Possible equivalents can be grouped by pronunciation. Also, companies such as Ectaco produce pocket devices that provide machine translations. Relying exclusively on unedited machine translation, however, ignores the fact that communication in human language is context -embedded and that it takes a person to comprehend the context of the original text with a reasonable degree of probability.
It is certainly true that even purely human-generated translations are prone to error; therefore, to ensure that a machine-generated translation will be useful to a human being and that publishable-quality translation is achieved, such translations must be reviewed and edited by a human.
The weaknesses of pure machine translation , unaided by human expertise, are those of artificial intelligence itself. Translation of literary works novels , short stories , plays , poems , etc. Notable in Canadian literature specifically as translators are figures such as Sheila Fischman , Robert Dickson , and Linda Gaboriau ; and the Canadian Governor General's Awards annually present prizes for the best English-to-French and French-to-English literary translations.
In the s a substantial gender imbalance was noted in literary translation into English,  with far more male writers being translated than women writers. In Meytal Radzinski launched the Women in Translation campaign to address this. The first important translation in the West was that of the Septuagint , a collection of Jewish Scriptures translated into early Koine Greek in Alexandria between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE.
The dispersed Jews had forgotten their ancestral language and needed Greek versions translations of their Scriptures. Throughout the Middle Ages , Latin was the lingua franca of the western learned world. Meanwhile, the Christian Church frowned on even partial adaptations of St. Jerome 's Vulgate of c. In Asia , the spread of Buddhism led to large-scale ongoing translation efforts spanning well over a thousand years. The Tangut Empire was especially efficient in such efforts; exploiting the then newly invented block printing , and with the full support of the government contemporary sources describe the Emperor and his mother personally contributing to the translation effort, alongside sages of various nationalities , the Tanguts took mere decades to translate volumes that had taken the Chinese centuries to render.
The Arabs undertook large-scale efforts at translation. Having conquered the Greek world, they made Arabic versions of its philosophical and scientific works. There Arabic texts, Hebrew texts, and Latin texts were translated into the other tongues by Muslim, Jewish and Christian scholars, who also argued the merits of their respective religions.
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