opposite of "literal translation"

< Previous | Next >
Hello everyone,

For a translation from one language to another language there are two types of translations:

1. A literal translation.
2. A correct translation.

Example (I apologize for using Spanish in an English Only forum. However, I do not know how else I could create an example solely in English): "Tengo frío."

1. literal translation - I have coldness.
2. correct translation - I am cold.

"literal" is an accurate word to use in the first sentence. However, "correct" does not sound the best in the second sentence. This is just what I use. Is there a better way to say this? Is there a linguistics term for this? Would it be "free" translation?

Thanks,
Drei
 
  • french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Hi drei,
    For #2, how about 'accurate' translation? By 'accurate', I would mean that it flows smoothly & doesn't sound like a translation, but still conveys the meaning of the original phrase. This is also means correct; the term 'accurate translation' is used a lot in the translation industry (in English).
     
    french4beth said:
    Hi drei,
    For #2, how about 'accurate' translation? By 'accurate', I would mean that it flows smoothly & doesn't sound like a translation, but still conveys the meaning of the original phrase. This is also means correct; the term 'accurate translation' is used a lot in the translation industry (in English).
    Thanks, that is what I was looking for.

    Drei
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I think "I have coldness" is literal and "I'm gold" is the idiomatic translation. In this context "idiomatic translation" is something of a set phrase, and it does mean correct or proper.

    A true translation doesn't just transpose words, it takes idiom into account.

    Another antonym for literal, used more in general language (or literary) analysis than translation in particular-- is figurative. This term applies if the piece you're translating uses forms more inventive and complex than your garden-variety idiomatic language-- metaphor, for example.

    The use of "garden-variety" to mean everyday or common, for example, is not only idiomatic, it has elements of the metaphoric.
    .
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Fox beat me to it. I second the motion for idiomatic.
    Sometimes a literal translation, warts and all can create
    a surprising effect, by emphasizing the 'foreignness' of the speaker. Remember Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls.
    He uses transparent pseudo-translations of the dialogue spoken by Spanish characters. It's literal. So, if you don't know Spanish and read "It pleases me." it sounds foreign to you, just as he intended. If you do know Spanish, you read those English words, and hear "Me gusta."

    It's a very effective non-idiomatic translation.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    cuchuflete said:
    Fox beat me to it. I second the motion for idiomatic.
    Sometimes a literal translation, warts and all can create
    a surprising effect, by emphasizing the 'foreignness' of the speaker. Remember Heminway's For Whom the Bell Tolls.
    He uses transparent pseudo-translations of the dialogue spoken by Spanish characters. It's literal. So, if you don't know Spanish and read "It pleases me." it sounds foreign to you, just as he intended. If you do know Spanish, you read those English words, and hear "Me gusta."

    It's a very effective non-idiomatic translation.
    Yes, but in "the Old Man and the Sea" he has the old fisherman use the term agua mala-- this was an error pure and simple, no?
    .
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Sorry Fox, I was brain dead on the last attempt. It's not wrong at all. The noun is feminine, but it's an exception in that it takes a masculine definite article, and only in the singular.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    cuchuflete said:
    Sorry Fox, I was brain dead on the last attempt. It's not wrong at all. The noun is feminine, but it's an exception in that it takes a masculine definite article, and only in the singular.
    Wow. I guess that brain-dead thing is going around, cause I caught a case of it myself. But of course agua fresca and agua fría sound perfectly all right.
    .
     

    dwipper

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    Back on the subject of translation, I seem to remember hearing it referred to a vernacular translation, though I think I like idiomatic better.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    drei_lengua said:
    This noun takes the masculine definite article only in the singular in order to facilitate pronunciation.

    Drei
    Correct, and only if there are no intervening adjectives - but we're a little off-topic. :)

    I like "idiomatic translation." "Free translation" sounds good too, when you wish to emphasize your divergence from the literal meaning of the words in the original language to make the translation sound as natural as possible. A "loose translation" would be in my opinion one that deviates not only in structure but to some degree also in content from the original.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    cuchuflete said:
    Fox beat me to it. I second the motion for idiomatic.
    Sometimes a literal translation, warts and all can create
    a surprising effect, by emphasizing the 'foreignness' of the speaker. Remember Heminway's For Whom the Bell Tolls.
    He uses transparent pseudo-translations of the dialogue spoken by Spanish characters. It's literal. So, if you don't know Spanish and read "It pleases me." it sounds foreign to you, just as he intended. If you do know Spanish, you read those English words, and hear "Me gusta."

    It's a very effective non-idiomatic translation.
    I am interested in what Hemingway does in representing speech in this book. I just remember that it gave me the impression of being foreign, when, obviously it is not! Very clever.
     

    Damian72a

    Member
    Polish
    There are many types of translations, you have to read some books about translation study.

    Types of translations:
    - Word for word translation,
    - Literal tranaslation,
    - Faithfull translation,
    - Semantic translation,
    - Commnicative translation,
    - Idiomatic translation,
    - Free translation,
    - Adaptation,
    - Screen translation.

    P.S. There is no "loose" or "correct" translation.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top