OLAC Record

Title:Overliteralness and Mother-Tongue Translators
Abstract:One barrier to quality in Bible translation is a tendency for translators to translate literally from their primary source text. This is a hazard for any translator, but has particular relevance in the case of Mother-Tongue Translators (MTTs) with minimal training, who are bearing an increasingly larger role in new Bible translations around the globe. In this article, we first examine the problem of overliteralness, observing cases of RL structural adherence to the SL in direct speech, ungrammatical sentences, mistranslation of rhetorical questions, use of idioms, and neglect of discourse factors, etc. The problem of overliteralness extends to information and emotional impact implicit in the SL that is not made explicit in the RL. Reasons for overliteralness include the natural intuitiveness of translating literally, respect for the Word of God (they don’t want to change it), and MTTs’ unawareness of their own language patterns. Since translation consultants are not always familiar with the receptor language, these types of mistakes may escape notice in the checking process. Nonetheless, many MTTs do excellent translation work. We present two major factors that help MTTs avoid overliteralness. Through training and mentoring, they need to absorb the translation principle that gives them “permission” to not be literal. Next, deliberate study of structures of their own language is key, especially contrasting it with structures of the primary source language. Cases where these types of activities are already being done will be presented, and more are encouraged.
Contributor (author):Cahill, Michael
Benn, Keith
Date (W3CDTF):2011
Description (URI):http://www.sil.org/resources/archives/43393
Extent:pages 49-61
Identifier (URI):http://www.sil.org/resources/archives/43393
Is Part Of:Journal of Translation 7(1)
Language (ISO639):eng
Publisher:SIL International
Subject:Bontok language
Kayapa Kallahan language
MTT; source language; target language; literal translation; rhetorical question; idiom; figurative language; discourse; implicit information; implied information; mother-tongue translators
Subject (ISO639):bnc
Type (DCMI):Text


Archive:  SIL Language and Culture Archives
Description:  http://www.language-archives.org/archive/sil.org
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OaiIdentifier:  oai:sil.org:43393
DateStamp:  2013-04-27
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Citation: Cahill, Michael; Benn, Keith. 2011. Journal of Translation 7(1).
Terms: area_Asia area_Europe country_GB country_PH dcmi_Text iso639_bnc iso639_eng iso639_kak

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Country: Philippines
Area: Asia

Up-to-date as of: Mon Jun 15 6:20:28 EDT 2015