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CIS Partners - Language Specialists for Language Consulting

Email reps@cis-p.com

Osaka - Japan

Translation Q&A

Translation Q&A - Basic

‚pDIs the translation just to put the source language into the target one in terms of @
@@@@syntactic structureH

‚`DNo, it is not. The merely syntactic change works to compare the source language and the target one in terms of structure. That is not the whole task of translating. As long as this process focuses mainly on syntactic apprehension, this is often called "transcoding." It may help people grasp the difference between the two in sructure, and can help them "understand" the entire picture of a sentence. But it does not work to convey the correct message. The target language expressed this way might cause people to mislead what it truly means.
Translation is the task to help people "interpret" a sentece/sentences/texts in the perspective of both surface and deep structure of cultural and/or social connotation.–
This tells us that the ability to converse in a foreign language is one thing, while the one to translate from/into the other languages is another.@@–See the description below.

‚pDWhat does "interpretation" mean in the field of language translation?

‚`D"understanding " and "interpreting" work in different ways. Let us take an example of a classical music concert. Assume you join and listen to the music in the hall. You will find a conductor with a tact on hand and stand before the orchestra members. The role of the conductor is not just to swing the tact. It is generally said that conducting occupies only 10 percent of the entire tasks of a conductor. The major part of his/her tasks is to "interpret" the tune based on various types of information related to the tune s/he is playing and to guide the orchestra members to better music performance based on his/her interpretation. Today an increasing number of people is attracted by the classical music more than before, and such music lovers abound not just in European nations, but also in many other areas of the world, and many of those lovers may read the music notes and "understand" them. Interpreting them in order to have people enjoy the music requires expertise and professional skills of interpreting. Now the interpreting in the field of language translation requires detailed studies and often researches of cultural, social, often historical contexts, based on the syntactic, pragmatic, semantic and in some cases phonemic/phonetic understanding (transformational generative grammar in this term). The message, which cannot be caught without some working knowledge through understanding the social, cultural and other human factors, is what we call the message from deep structure. We position "translation" as the tool of global communication. This deep structure has the different meaning than the one mostly used in the transformatonal generative grammar.

‚pDUnderstanding of texts in each field requires understanding of different logical
@@@@structures. What does this meanH

‚`DA different field (IT, machinery, chemicals, application software/hardware, etc.) uses various terminologies unique to each field. Learning to understand those terminologies alone are not enough to provide stable and quality translation. The logical structure of texts that uniquely exist in each field also has to be understood by a translator. The logic, though in the same field, may often differ from company to company, and in this regard, a translator and a company need detailed level of communication for better translation performance.

Translation Q&A - Advanced

Themes

‚pDWhat is equivalent (dynamic equivalent) translationH

‚`DPeople speak Japanese in Japan. A language, either spoken or written, forms its meaning for the first time when it is used with a social background or way of thinking unique to each language, and this way of thinking and background is unconsciously reflected in the language they speak. The information connotated in these background and way of thinking are the environmental elements of the speaker's society, or culrure. Translation handles two different languages whose social and cultural background are most different, or often remarkably different. Thus, this unconscious understanding and use of these background and way of thinking should be brought to the conscious level for better interpretation of the source language. In case a translator has done translation without focussing on these things and only by looking at the syntactic sentence structure that shows up in a text, a reader of the target language cannot grasp the true meaning of the text. The connotation may be distorted or misled in one way or another. In the worst case, the translation may cause misunderstanding among readers. Translation, ideally and theoretically, means that a sentence of the source language should be changed into another sentence of the target language without any changes of syntactic position in a sentence. Originally, most of translation theories have long been developed in the west where the Indo-European languages are spoken. In contrast, Japanese and Chinese are very different in their linguistic nature.This means that if the same translation process is used as done in the western languages, e.g. translation from English into Japanese, meanings are not correctly reflected in the target language. Understanding and proper expressions that reflect the social and culture background and elements unique to Japan are vital in this case, therefore. Changes of a sentence structure is an unavoidable process in the end. But even in the process the core and important meaning is accurately to be conveyed, of course. This way of translating is called equivalent translation.
Simply put, in the translation from English into Japanese, a Japanse may sometimes feel something strange or unnatural to read the translated Japanese, or may understand what it means superficially but not clearly. In most of such cases, a translator who did that translation may stick too much to the sentence structure of English. The Japanese thus translated is certainly Japanese in form but the way of thinking is based on English, or the sentence structure is like that of English. That is, it is Japanese written based on the English culture, and then, the Japanese linguistic nature is not well reflected in that translation. This means the equivalent (dynamic equivalent) translation is not well arranged.

‚pDWhat are "syntactic," "semantic "and "pragmatic" connotations, and
@@@@how are these related to the purosess of translationH

‚`DA syntax is a sentence structure. For example, SOV in Japanese, and SVO in English and the like. To take a look at this, you will find a big difference between English and Japanese. In the work of translating from English into Japanese, a translator first analyzes English sentence structure, to apprehend what a writer intends to convey through the sentence (in most cases a professional translator does not read and analyze texts on a sentence level, but on a paragraph, but here for easier understanding, it is assumed that a translator translates an English sentence into a Japanese one). This is a syntactic process. Next, the translator checks to apprehend in what environment - academic meeting, board meeting of a company, plant engineer gathering, etc. - the sentence was produced. If the translator can get any information on the environment where the translation is used, e.g., by way of brochures, meeting materials and documents, etc., the workload to apprehend the environmental element denoted in the translation will be reduced. But if the translator is given no such materials and documents, the translator needs to infer it from the sentence provided, on the basis of the translator's linguistic skills, insights, experiences, knowledge and other sources. Sometimes the translator relies even on psychological or historical knowledge to catch the meaning of a sentence. This work process is pragmatic interpretation. Following this process of interpretation, the translator elaborates on expressions of Japanese, without changing the meaning of a sentence learned in English, by considering the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic meaning of Japanese. This whole process of this interpretation and expression is called translation.

‚pDWhat is the translation style, and
@@@@does the style have any influences to translation qualityH

‚`DA way of expression differs from person to person. How a person expresses him-/herself may often mirror his/her personality. In the same way, diffferent companies use different way of expressions, and the same is true of industries. In case of company and industry, this way of expression is more complex because special terminologies are mixed in. In the translation process, a way of expression peculiar to each person, company or industry is reflected onto the translated texts. This is style. What type of style a person wants to use - this is not that easy to find out without acutally looking at his/her expressions in written texts. In the process of translation, therefore, materials published by each company or industry help a translator a lot in arranging the style so that each company / industry is pleased to accept.
Of all the languages Japanese is said to be richer in the way of expressions. So each person's, or company's style should not be included to evaluate the quality of translation. If "the meaning is clearly misleading," "terminologies of the industry are not understood properly" and the like are apparently categorized into poor quality of translation. But the style should be the one to be adjusted between a customer and a translator, so that both can get convinced.


Others

‚pDWhat is Machine Translation (MT), and what are their advantages and disadvantagesH

‚`DIn machine trsanslation, an English sentence input into the machine is translated into Japanese and output. The machine is programmed that way. It was a few decades ago that the machine translation system first appeared in the world. Japanese texts translated that way was barely useful at that time. Over time programs and the system have advanced so that as long as some formalized sentences are written and input in the system, the texts can be more accurately translated than before. In some technical fields, this machine translation can work well enough if it is used in the factory or within a campany.First of all, the program of the machine translation (MT) analyzes morphemes of language to translate into another language. With the advancement of this program, more accurate translation has become enabled. What's more, with the birth of neural MT, its accuracy improved much. The area that the MT is still poor at is to read between lines.
These days MT-related jobs are increasing in number. Most of such jobs include re-editing of texts translated by the MT. As mentioned above, some formalized form/structure texts can be translated well by the MT, but if texts and/or sentences are not well organized in terms of syntactic structure, the MT seems to misinterpret or misjudge what each of the texts means. In here is it necessary that a human translator / editor intervenes to assist in re-arranging the translation.
If the quality of MT is so poor, a translator needs to re-translate from scratch. This causes the increase of translation fees. Thsi means if the MT used can merely produce poor quality of translation. the cost spent in developing the MT is meaningiess, adversely adding unnecessary translation cost. As long as the quality of MT is unstable, it is rather best to have a human translator translate the text from scratch, without using the Mt at all. The quality of translation done through the MT should be re-considered. If it is necessary for a customer to use the MT, the customer may need to consult with a professional translation on whether the quality of the MT that they intend to use is stable or high enough to rely on, and whether the translator then has only to check the text a bit after MT. If the customer uses the MT without considering the features of MT, they are likely to be hampered by its disadvantages, instead of using its advantages.

‚pDWhat differences are there between technical (business) translation and
@@@@literature translationH

‚`DTechnical translation is often called business translation. It handles the translation of company brochures, manuals, instructions, communications and documents. The field of expertise for this type of translation ranges from IT, electronics, machinery, chemistry, to laws and more. In contrast, literature translation handles the translation of poems, novels, essays, and so on. A translator of literature translation is sometimes required to write a novel by him-/herself. This writing skill is another talent, diffferent from technical translation. Technical translation requires working knowledge of each technical field along with translating skills, while literature transaltion requires creativity to wrte a novel by him-/herself to some extent. A technical translator does not handle literature translation in most cases (except for some specially-talented translators who can hancle both), and vice versa. A customer has to take care to place a right order to a right translator.


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