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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Uneasy Job...Translating Other Languages

Writing is not always easy. Sometimes as an author you despair, because your story doesn’t want the way you want it.

As a reader it is even harder. You have to rely on someone else to provide you with the next chapter and you never know if the next chapter is published next week or next month.

In the Iban's dialect I have observed – quite recently – that more and more people are not willing to translate stories from English to Iban(where the Iban Fandom is quite small). That is a comfort for the people whose English is not so very good, but for other people – like me, I might add here – it can be painful sometimes to see how a good story is “destroyed” by a bad translation.

Generally I like the idea. As a piecemeal I would feel honoured that people deem my story good enough for a translation. As a listener I would be grateful to hear a story brought to me in a language I am not familiar with.

I know that it is not an easy task to translate from a foreign language into your own. Not only your foreign language skills have to be very good, also your knowledge of your own language must be excellent, to get the right style, tone etc. Especially when it comes to regency Fan-fiction it is quite hard to get the right tone, the perfect language in Sarawak itself (or any other language).

As an piecemeal, I would not want my nouns, my “baby” so to speak, to be handled carelessly in a translation.

What do you think?

(Do not misunderstand me, I have read excellent translations into Iban, but also some really, really horrible ones. But I won’t name any, because it would be unfair. This is just my opinion on this topic)