Translating - letter vs. spirit

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gggg gggg

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Feb 23, 2022, 7:51:38 PMFeb 23
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- Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.

Voltaire

gggg gggg

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Feb 25, 2022, 9:31:55 AMFeb 25
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On Wednesday, February 23, 2022 at 4:51:38 PM UTC-8, wrote:
> - Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.
>
> Voltaire

Does that apply to the Japanese language?

Jim

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Feb 25, 2022, 10:44:18 AMFeb 25
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It applies to all languages, to include "translations" within a language.

One fundamental problem of related nature is that meaning is determined
by context. No word of itself means exactly the same thing to different
people, and circumstances of the thing designated may be different than
imaged by either producer or audience when the word is used.

"Perfect translation" in consequence being not possible, the question
becomes how much and what type of perfection should be the goal. A crude
literal translation may serve to convey all meaning required by the
recipient, and may encourage and facilitate the recipient thinking about
and gaining greater appreciation for the thinking and perspective of the
one producing the original.

One simplistic approach is to tout that to the extent possible (and not
resulting in terribly contorted language in the second language) each
significant word, phrase, sentence, and passage in the original should
appear in the translated version, with meaning of each as close as
practicable.

In literary translation, perhaps drama for an example, attention to
aspects of emotion and attitude may be of paramount importance, while in
a translation of a scientific paper only things observable, measurable,
and describable to all regardless of native language may be of concern.

Cheers!

jim b.

--
UNIX is not user-unfriendly, it merely
expects users to be computer friendly.

gggg gggg

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Feb 25, 2022, 2:43:07 PMFeb 25
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Thank you for your quick and informative reply.
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