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Lost in Translation

What is lost in translation from one language to another? “Most linguists would say that there is no such thing as a perfect translation and that something is always lost when we move from one language to another. ” Sometimes when translating, there might be the difficulty, of finding a word that expresses or means the same thing, and because there isn’t one specific word that means the same as the other, instead of putting one word, many are used, to describe the words meaning.

Each language has a specific way in which the words structure a sentence (grammatical rules to structure a sentence), so that the sentence can make sense. Because meaning changes from one language to another, words need to be added or omitted and the structure of the sentence needs to change, so that meaning of the words can be more accurately translated. When translating one needs to at times translate the meaning, and not the words, because the words could have different meanings. Even though the structure has changed the meaning can still be the same, they are just said in different ways.

Each language has it’s own set of grammatical rules (and conjugations), which is why when one word is translated into another (in a different language), the grammatical structure also has to be correct, in order for the sentence to make sense. So in many cases, when translating, the grammatical structure needs to change too. After translating the words or sentence, and changing the grammatical structure, when the meanings are compared in different languages, they are more or less the same.

But if you translate the words in their direct meaning, the sentence won’t make sense. Example of words, using different words to translate the meaning more accurately: English:Direct translation into Spanish: ·Are you serious? Estas tu serio? This translation doesn’t make sense in Spanish. The words need to change so that the translation of the meaning, or expression is correct. The correct way of expressing these words in Spanish would be: No me digas! But when you translate these words back into the original language (English), the meaning would change.

The direct translation of No me digas! is: Don’t tell me. In English when you compare the words: “are you serious? ” to “Don’t tell me! ” the meanings are different. “Are you serious? ” would mean: Are you kidding? Really! Or I can’t believe it! While “Don’t tell me! ” would mean: Don’t tell me what’s going to happen or don’t talk to me, I don’t want to hear it! When comparing the meanings, one can see the obvious difference. So in order to get the same meaning, words as well as their structure need to change.

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