The Second Version

10/04/09

Difficulties Of Translation Redux

My post Difficulties Of Translation has turned out to be one of the most succesful, at least when hits from Google an other search engines are concerned.

It has received visits from many different countries where English is not the native language - Egypt, Vietnam, Romania and more - but I'm afraid that the visitors where somewhat disappointed, because I did not offer advice on specific issues.

I can't, I am not a linguist or professional translator or interpreter. I can only repeat what I said, that in order to comprehend a foreign language out of either a very specific (technical) field or the most basic needs such as asking the price of something at the market, one needs to understand something about the culture that originated and is using that language.

That is also necessary to understand other subtle way to transmit the intended message, because tone, loudness and even the order of words can change the the overall meaning of a question, for example, from sincerely concerned to inquisitive to openly hostile. And coming across as nosey or hostile is not the best way to make friends.

Update: Something related to what I wrote, even if limited to the Indian language(s).

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