Translation, the art of converting a message from one language to another, is a nuanced and complex process that extends beyond mere linguistic conversion.
The Finnish term “kääntäminen” encompasses the multifaceted world of translation, touching upon various aspects of language, culture, and communication. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of translation, exploring its different forms, the role of translators, and the challenges involved.
Table of Contents
The Scope of Kääntäminen:
Kääntäminen, or translation, is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor; it encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, each requiring a distinct set of skills. From literary translation to technical text translation and audiovisual translation (AV translation), professionals in this field navigate diverse linguistic terrains.
1. Literary Translation:
Literary translation involves the art of translating creative and imaginative works, including fiction and non-fiction literature, poetry, plays, and even comics. Literary translators are akin to linguistic artists, tasked with preserving the nuance, style, and cultural context of the original work.
Working primarily for publishers or on a freelance basis, these translators immerse themselves in the world of words, crafting translations that capture the essence of the source material.
2. Technical Text Translation:
On the other end of the spectrum, technical text translation deals with the translation of factual, informational texts. From user manuals and websites to marketing materials and official documents, technical text translators ensure that the information is accurately conveyed in the target language. Precision is key in this realm, and often, the translation of official documents requires the expertise of an authorized translator.
3. AV Translation:
Audiovisual translation, or AV translation, involves the transformation of content from foreign-language TV programs, movies, DVD recordings, and games into written text and/or narration. AV translators face the challenge of condensing translations to synchronize with audio and visual elements, requiring a keen sense of timing and linguistic finesse. This field extends beyond traditional media, encompassing areas like opera, multimedia, and teletext.
Challenges in Kääntäminen:
While the translation is an invaluable bridge between languages and cultures, it is not without its challenges. The nuances of language and the cultural context embedded in the source material often present dilemmas for translators. One of the key decisions translators must make is whether to adopt a domesticating or foreignizing approach.
1. Domesticating vs. Foreignizing Approach:
In the realm of translation, the choice between a domesticating or foreignizing approach hinges on striking a balance between making the text easily understandable for the target audience and staying true to the cultural and linguistic idiosyncrasies of the source material.
Domesticating translations aim to make the text more familiar to the audience, potentially altering the content in the process. In contrast, foreignizing translations prioritize accuracy, even if it means preserving elements that may seem unfamiliar to the audience.
This decision is pivotal in maintaining the delicate equilibrium between linguistic faithfulness and reader comprehension. It highlights the dynamic interplay between the source and target languages, emphasizing that successful translation is an art form that requires both linguistic mastery and cultural sensitivity.
2. Quality Control in Translation:
The quality of a translation is not solely dependent on linguistic proficiency; it also hinges on the collaboration between the translator and the client. Unfortunately, not all clients prioritize quality, and some may opt for the cheapest translation available, disregarding the potential impact on accuracy and nuance.
A skilled translator not only translates the text but also considers the intended audience and purpose of the translation, making adjustments and seeking clarification when necessary.
Moreover, during the translation process, substantive changes may be made to the content. The original text’s purpose may differ from that of the translation, leading to significant modifications.
It is essential that these alterations are made in collaboration with the client while respecting the copyrights of the original text’s author. This dynamic requires genuine interest and commitment from the client to ensure the production of a translation that is not only linguistically accurate but also contextually relevant.
The Translator’s Role:
Translators are the unsung heroes of cross-cultural communication, bridging gaps between languages and enabling global discourse. The title of “translator” is not restricted by formal qualifications; anyone can attempt translation. However, achieving a level of professionalism in this field demands a combination of education, skill, and an inherent understanding of both the source and target languages and cultures.
1. Professionalism in Translation:
While anyone can call themselves a translator, professional translation is a specialized skill that requires training. Ample examples exist where individuals, without the necessary expertise, have attempted to translate professionally, leading to subpar results. A proficient translator goes beyond literal translation; they comprehend the cultural connotations, idioms, and nuances embedded in the source language, ensuring a more accurate and contextually appropriate translation.
2. Translator’s Ethical Considerations:
Beyond linguistic proficiency, translators must navigate ethical considerations. This includes respect for intellectual property rights, particularly when substantial modifications are made to the original text. Collaborative decision-making between the translator and the client is crucial in maintaining ethical standards and ensuring the translation serves its intended purpose.
Education and Research in Translation:
The field of translation is not confined to practice alone; it extends to education and research, contributing to the ongoing development of translation as a discipline.
1. Teaching and Learning Translation:
Educators in translation play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of translators, interpreters, and cross-cultural communication experts. Whether as university lecturers, adjunct professors, or researchers, these individuals impart theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and guidance to aspiring professionals. The curriculum includes the study of translation theories, techniques, and hands-on experience in navigating the challenges posed by various translation scenarios.
2. Translation Research:
Translation studies researchers delve into the theoretical aspects of translation, exploring topics such as the historical evolution of translations, the intricacies of EU translation and interpreting activities, and the relationship between image and text in the translation process. By scrutinizing these aspects, researchers contribute to the continuous refinement of translation practices and methodologies.
In conclusion, “kääntäminen” encapsulates more than just the act of translating words from one language to another; it is an intricate dance between languages, cultures, and individuals. From literary masterpieces to technical manuals, from the big screen to official documents, translators play a pivotal role in facilitating cross-cultural communication.
As technology continues to advance, tools like Google Translate provide additional resources for individuals and institutions seeking quick translations. However, they do not replace the nuanced expertise of a skilled human translator. The challenges and decisions inherent in “kääntäminen” underscore the importance of viewing translation not just as a linguistic task but as a complex interplay of culture, context, and communication.