Lost In Translation: Enhancing Translation Methods
How we enhance the theory of translation, would be to generalize our word choices, so that sentence structure becomes universal. As a Hispanic American, I find that translation is important in understanding people from all nations. The problem that arises when different cultures collaborate is the miscommunication of specific wording that is represented by one person’s language, but not the other.
This problem occurred whenever I was talking with a friend, who is Puerto Rican rather than Cuban, and I misunderstood the meaning of the word. My friend was talking about pasteles and how they were not tasty. In my mind, I thought how could this be? Pasteles are yummy deserts that everybody just likes. What was wrong was our translation. My friend’s pasteles were a boiled meat filled dinner, while my pasteles is a guava paste desert. Even though we are from both similar cultures, our conversation was not universal; rather the word choice was too specific.
In literature, translators face this problem frequently. We can look at the work of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, to see generalization being used. The original Spanish sonnet number XXI states in its first line, “Oh que todo el amor propague en mi su boca.” This translates to: “If only love would spread its savors through me!” Stephen Tascott the translator generalizes the English translation of the poems, for the comprehension of his readers. When in reality, the Spanish poem states, “Oh what all love spreads in my and your mouth.” This is an example of how general language makes it able to understand the translation easier, rather than to use words specific to only one culture.
Video (Just a funny clip):
Neruda, Pablo. Cien Sonetos de amor. Texas: University of Texas Press, 1986.