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?