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iand

How's my translation of this paragraph of a news article?

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iand

I wasn't really solid on the grammar in this article, so I tried translating one of the harder paragraphs with the help of Pleco.


過去還未從政的川普,曾大力支持柯林頓政府的對攻擊性武器的禁令;但在去年大選中,受到共和黨金主孤立的川普,卻獲得NRA的重金贊助,再加上草根支持者的態度,這才讓川普走向擁槍,並自詡為〈憲法第二修正案〉的簇擁者。
https://global.udn.com/global_vision/story/8662/2736943
 

Trump, who had not governed before, used to be a strong supporter of Clinton's assault weapon ban, but during last year's election, Trump, who received Republican party financial backers' isolation, but obtained a large amount of financial support from the NRA, not to mention the attitude of his grassroots supporters, thus moved towards embracing guns, and posed as a protector of the Second Amendment.

There's also some awkward translatorese in there, and I don't know how to fix it.

請多多指教!

  • Good question! 2

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Publius

過去還未從政的川普

= 過去,還未從政時的川普

(Before entering politics, Trump used to be a strong supporter of the Clinton administration's assault weapon ban.)

The phrasing (and punctuation) is a bit awkward. I had to read twice to grasp what the author meant.

 

The grammar is fine. As for the last question,

translationese. Noun. (uncountable) (translation studies) Awkwardness or ungrammaticality of translation, such as due to overly literal translation of idioms or syntax.

the answer is simple: Don't translate word for word. For example, "received isolation" doesn't sound like good English. Why use it? Just because the original text is 受到孤立?

 

 

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imron

I think you have the gist of the meaning, but like Publius said, you are staying too close to the source text at the expense of the target text.

 

Things like "received ... isolation",  run-on 'buts', copying the original punctuation rather than using something more suited to English and so on.

 

The thing to do now is forget the Chinese.  Pretend you don't speak Chinese at all and read through the English.  What parts stand out as awkward or don't read as natural English?  How could you fix them and still retain the meaning?

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Lu
1 hour ago, iand said:

There's also some awkward translatorese in there, and I don't know how to fix it.

Without looking at the Chinese, rewrite the English text. Don't be afraid to switch parts around if it makes the sentence sound better and also don't be afraid to split it into two or more sentences. Let it sit for a while and do something else. Then go back and read it aloud to yourself. Does it sound alright? If not, polish a bit more. Do this until you're satisfied. Then check against the Chinese one last time to make sure you still have the intended meaning.

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roddy

Generally I think you've understood the Chinese just fine. The most prominent issue for me is:

再加上 There's no sense of "not to mention" here, it's more "and then add in..." or "which combined with..."

2 hours ago, iand said:

There's also some awkward translatorese in there, and I don't know how to fix it.

As I'm fond of saying, at least 50% of translating is writing. If it's important to you to be able to write in an appropriate style, that's a whole other learning curve. If you're a common or garden reader, you've done fine already. 

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889

But keep in mind there are different types of translation. If you're translating, say, a contract or a technical text, then you'll stick more closely to the original than translating a literary work.

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imron
31 minutes ago, 889 said:

If you're translating, say, a contract or a technical text, then you'll stick more closely to the original than translating a literary work.

It's true that a literary work will have more leeway, but using nonsensical constructions in a legal document just to stick 'close to the original' is also not going to work e.g. whatever the legal equivalent of something like 'received isolation' would be.

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889

No, a law or legal contract is rather like a program written in a computer language that just happens to be English (or Chinese, etc.) instead of Cobol, say.

 

Once you start interpreting terms you start interpreting the law or contract itself in a legal sense, which isn't your job. Take the Fourth Amendment, ". . . and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause . . . " You simply translate "probable cause" into an equally obtuse Chinese term. You don't take it upon yourself to clarify it, at least not in a straight translation of the original text.

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iand
4 hours ago, roddy said:

Generally I think you've understood the Chinese just fine. The most prominent issue for me is:

再加上 There's no sense of "not to mention" here, it's more "and then add in..." or "which combined with..."

I thought that was what "not to mention" meant, that although you had built up a pretty good case for your point already, you were now throwing in an additional point almost as an afterthought, which strengthened the case further. According to one dictionary, "not to mention" is "used when you want to emphasize something that you are adding to a list."

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Mati1

"not to mention ..." gives it more weight, that's my feeling too.

再加上 "and then add in..." -> my first thought was "what's more", a meaning of "in addition to that".

 

Note that I haven't read the text and that my Chinese sucks, my English not so much :wink:

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WenLei-William

Hello iand,

 

For the most part I believe that you have a decent understanding of what the article is saying. However, whenever we translate into another language we must write in a manner that adheres to the grammar and stylistic nuances of said target language. Besides the issues with grammar, I think one phrase that confused you was  受到共和黨金主孤立的川普. From grammatical context (and our understanding of Trump) we can deduce that this statement is truly saying "Trump, who did not receive help or support from Republican financial supporters...". This sentence sounds more natural than "Trump, who received Republican party financial backers' isolation..." At their core, the two sentences share the same semantic meaning, but how does one "receive" isolation? When translating one must always ask oneself, "If someone reads my translation, will they suspect that a non-native speaker wrote it?"

 

All in all, as a rough draft your translation captures most of the semantics yet is presented in a Chinglish style of writing. All you need to do now is write your translation in a manner that not only expresses the author's meaning, but also adheres to the grammatical and stylistic standards of the English language.

 

A text can only be truly translated when we understand what the author is saying. Otherwise, we are no different than machine translation programs that translate in an algorithmic manner, matching dictionary entries and mapping grammatical structures all without understanding the intent and message of the author. Your ability to understand is what makes you 10x better than google translate!

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iand

I've noticed this usage of 受到 before, but didn't know exactly how to think of it. But looking at it now, isn't it doing the same work as 被? It looks like 被共和黨金主孤立的川普 should have the same meaning: "Trump, who was isolated by Republican party financial supporters..."

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陳德聰
On 2017/10/4 at 3:45 AM, 889 said:

No, a law or legal contract is rather like a program written in a computer language that just happens to be English (or Chinese, etc.) instead of Cobol, say.

 

Once you start interpreting terms you start interpreting the law or contract itself in a legal sense, which isn't your job. Take the Fourth Amendment, ". . . and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause . . . " You simply translate "probable cause" into an equally obtuse Chinese term. You don't take it upon yourself to clarify it, at least not in a straight translation of the original text.

Looks like a conflation of two separate issues. Syntax is not necessary to preserve, only meaning (generally achieved by preserving terminology as you explained.) That being said, I don't think I've ever known any lawyer to write quite as clearly or concisely as computer language.

 

20 hours ago, iand said:

I've noticed this usage of 受到 before, but didn't know exactly how to think of it. But looking at it now, isn't it doing the same work as 被? It looks like 被共和黨金主孤立的川普 should have the same meaning: "Trump, who was isolated by Republican party financial supporters..."

Yes and no. Yes in that the meaning is the same. No in that the underlying syntax suggests minuscule difference between how 孤立 can be understood.

 

1.

(*)川普受到孤立 (object of a verb, noun-ish flavour)

川普被孤立 (main verb)

 

2.

川普受到共和黨金主孤立 (still object of a verb, noun-ish flavour)

川普被共和黨金主孤立 (still main verb)

 

3.

受到共和黨金主孤立的川普

被共和黨金主孤立的川普

 

In the final stage you lose the distinction that appears in the syntax prior and they both just look interchangeable.

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Publius
1 hour ago, iand said:

isn't it doing the same work as 被?

Exactly.

 

Have a look at Chapter 13 of Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar, especially 13.4 The lexical passive.

 

 

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iand
2 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

Yes and no. Yes in that the meaning is the same. No in that the underlying syntax suggests minuscule difference between how 孤立 can be understood.

They may be labeled as different parts of speech, but that doesn't seem to change the actual meaning of the sentence. The situation being described is the same, no?

 

What about a related word, 遭? It looks like you could also replace it with 被 or 受到, without changing the meaning of the sentence:

  • 一個孩子的爸爸,因為汽車尾燈故障遭警方攔下臨檢
  • 兩天之內,兩名黑人遭到警方擊斃,影片曝光後,引發全美譁然,民眾自發走上街頭,抗議警方執法過當。
  • BBC 資料顯示:光是 2015 年,就有 1,152 人遭警方射殺,其中 30% 是黑人(美國黑人人口僅 13%),而這 1152 件案件中,遭起訴的不到 3%。

The dictionary tells me that it's only used with a negative connotation.

2 hours ago, Publius said:

Have a look at Chapter 13 of Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar, especially 13.4 The lexical passive.

I can't access that page, but I take it that I'm more or less on target.

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Publius

Less of the copyrighted material, thanks. If it's in the public domain I'm sure you can find a link on Routledge's website. Roddy

 

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陳德聰
17 hours ago, iand said:

They may be labeled as different parts of speech, but that doesn't seem to change the actual meaning of the sentence. The situation being described is the same, no?

I’m pretty sure... that is what I said when I said “yes in that the meaning is the same.”

 

遭(到)

(到)

(到)

 

Off the top of my head those all can be used to make a passive construction.

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iand
9 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

I’m pretty sure... that is what I said when I said “yes in that the meaning is the same.”

Oops, I didn't read you closely enough. You said,

Quote

No in that the underlying syntax suggests minuscule difference between how 孤立 can be understood.

But then you said,

Quote

In the final stage you lose the distinction that appears in the syntax prior and they both just look interchangeable.

So are you saying that 受到 can be used in ways that 被 can't, but in this case, they are being used in the same way, so there aren't even any minuscule difference in how 孤立 can be understood? Or is there still some difference?

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