Freitag, 16. Oktober 2009

'ow do you say......nervous?

I'm headed to my first translation class and I'm a bit nervous. Partly because it's a whole new environment, new things to learn, new people. I've never been in a Hochschulekurs in Switzerland before and have nothing to compare it to . Something else that is nervous-making, though is the actual translation. Last night at dinner with my in-laws I was again reminded how individualistic translation actually is.
"I would describe the charachter as dispeptic. How would someone say dispeptic in German?"
There was a back and forth and 'round and 'round that lasted 15 minutes. Everyone had more than two cents to contribute. Instead of listening to the word I wanted to use, Ivo and his dad began throwing in their own adjecties, which they thought better described the Chrachter I would be describing. "Pitbull", "Bitchy"....
One thing that is comforting is that when I heard the word that I will use, it was a gut reaction. That was right. That felt good. "sauerlich" like a sour stomach. Like a dispeptic personality.
Alright, so that felt good. But what about the words like Järzorn? Words where the translation is a few words to describe the one German word. I can't help but feel that that is inadequate. I don't know if my course will teach how not to feel inadequate. I don't even know what I want exactly from this course. I guess that I want it to make me feel confident in my translations.
The innuit don't really have 100 words for "snow" they just have a 100 words for the 100 types of snow that there is: slushy snow, wet snow, dry snow, fluffy snow....... I guess that we need adjectives isn't a bad thing. Just a different thing. I guess the key is knowing which one fits where. Like Konicki's "snizzle", for flurry. I think that I can trust having a good feel for German now and knowing what feeling I want to create with it's English translation. Is that what it is? A feeling? So then what are they going to teach us in translation?
I'm nervous


  1. You left out a key part of translation... the READER! Regardless of how a word feels in your gut, there's always the question of being understood... or misunderstood.

    (Not to give you another thing to be nervous about, sister. Just another "voice" to listen to as you do your work.)

    I love you! Enjoy your nervousness. Someday, you'll have this down and know it by heart, and not think about these amateur and thoughtful questions.

  2. So funny, my teacher said the same thing about the reader!
    Thank you so much.
    I LOOOOOOVVVED it. It was great and I can't wait for more!!!!