Part of Sunday Trees 275

Part of One Word Sunday: translate

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Obviously I’m one of „them translators“, but this is my private just-for-fun blog, so I don’t want to promote my business. But does this mean I’m also an interpreter? Definitely not, we’re talking about two different professions (yes, professions – it’s no child’s play or even a free service on the Internet that often confuses monolingual users no end). In my own language the two are also confused on a daily basis. I wonder how this misinterpretation started. One just has to keep in mind that the best-known European Bible translators must have spent a lot of time sitting at their desks, while interpreters always had to do the walking and the talking. Occasionally I meet colleagues who offer both services, but travelling around and sitting at your desk can’t always be seamlessly combined, because both are so time-consuming.

Just like in the past, when Bible translators died for their faith, modern translators might live dangerously. When the Satanic Verses*) were published in other languages, the Japanese translator was murdered for his work and his colleagues around the world also had to fear for their lives.

Anyway, back to the past…  I found the statue on the Victoria Embankment (where it probably still is). Wikipedia just informed me that Shakespeare cited from Tyndale’s Bible translation. Some phrases and idiomatic expressions taken from his version are still used in modern English, i. e. the powers that be, my brother’s keeper, the salt of the earth etc. Interestingly, I found this in the German version (not a translation!) of Wikipedia. I suppose the contributor noticed how close these were to Martin Luther’s words. (And no, this is no reference to Martin Luther King 😉 )


William Tyndale (1494-1536), Victoria Embankment London

Photo: (c) anglogermantranslations. All rights reserved.

  • I trust you all know the author’s name. I’d rather not mention it in this dangerous context.

4 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter #OneWordSunday, languages

4 Antworten zu “Translate

  1. Interesting post. Am thinking that in some circumstances interpretation (and even translation?) can play complex roles even within the same language – am referencing alternative truth.

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  2. I thought you’d have to seize this challenge!
    I’ve noticed how much translator and interpreter get muddled. Very different skills I know. My view – translating is more artistic, more perfectionist. Interpreting is immediate, and much more stressful for both my personality and ability!!

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    • It depends. There are short translations or those that are standard ones with repetitive content. Literary translation, transcreation or copy are a different matter. But interpreting certain politicians who contradict themselves within five minutes or deny they ever insulted anyone, are a real pain in the you know what. I’m so happy I don’t have to do it. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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