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Author Topic: The gaps between languages  (Read 518 times)
gentlemand
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October 16, 2017, 10:04:35 PM
 #1

And what gets lost between them?

If you read a translated book or subtitles you're not reading what the author wrote, it's the translator's effort. I know enough of a couple of languages to know that quite often what's being fed to you is radically different to the original work.

Similarly if you're some guy from Lesotho who only speaks your local dialect, how much of the world's knowledge is being denied to you by the lack of translation? What about your government as they're likely to be the one and only news source in that language? Surely objectivity and neutrality is almost non existent if someone's information sources are that limited. How much of his knowledge is being denied to anyone who doesn't speak what he does?

There must be mountains of information, art and learning that disappears between cultures because of this.

Is this an unpublicised cultural disaster or does the right info always find a way?


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October 16, 2017, 10:50:26 PM
 #2

And what gets lost between them?

If you read a translated book or subtitles you're not reading what the author wrote, it's the translator's effort. I know enough of a couple of languages to know that quite often what's being fed to you is radically different to the original work.

Similarly if you're some guy from Lesotho who only speaks your local dialect, how much of the world's knowledge is being denied to you by the lack of translation? What about your government as they're likely to be the one and only news source in that language? Surely objectivity and neutrality is almost non existent if someone's information sources are that limited. How much of his knowledge is being denied to anyone who doesn't speak what he does?

There must be mountains of information, art and learning that disappears between cultures because of this.

Is this an unpublicised cultural disaster or does the right info always find a way?



I think it is generally understood with academics. You're right though, massive amounts of information gets lost/misinterpreted.
Allot of information gets intentionally denied trough mistranslations, very common in medieval Europe where the Vatican and catholic church in general holds controll over its people's thoughts. Who knows how much that happens this day and age? Probably just as much.

I like the jewish tale of truth according to stories of creation.
Everything was created in truth and only truth really exists so for there to be a lie it has to be based on or contain some truth.
Based on this logic, ''the right info'' or truth will always find a way to surface.

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October 16, 2017, 11:20:00 PM
 #3

There are different forms of informations.
The literary thing you told is correct. The essence of literature gets lost on translation.
A play or drama retains better essence.
Art like painting and architecture are nearly unaffected.
And real events like news can nearly be fully covered.

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October 16, 2017, 11:44:24 PM
 #4

This may be a bit tangent but I think you may find it interesting.
Lewis Caroll had a very keen sense with rendering the English language in his writing. Lewis would create words like Mimsy (Miserable + Flimsy) or Chortle (Chuckle + Snort). I think this is the sort of evolutionary step languages have in becoming what they are, we see the same thing taking place in the mobile texting realm. These play on words are powerful, so much so that Eric Laithwaite the inventor of the magnetic railway systems used them to determine measurements on fields that hadn't even existed until he made them up with the synergy of words and ideas (there's a great 1 hour or so youtube video of him lecturing to a classroom about gyroscopes, if you like physics you should definitely look it up).

I feel that originally this growth in language is very necessary for a more effective communication, but it seems that this sort of synthesized dialect is frowned upon by universities and scholarly institutes.

One big issue is that English has too many words that mean the exact same thing rather than enough words that mean something new.
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October 18, 2017, 11:42:33 AM
 #5

Learn english and mexican  Grin case solved?
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October 19, 2017, 06:27:00 AM
 #6

And what gets lost between them?

If you read a translated book or subtitles you're not reading what the author wrote, it's the translator's effort. I know enough of a couple of languages to know that quite often what's being fed to you is radically different to the original work.

Similarly if you're some guy from Lesotho who only speaks your local dialect, how much of the world's knowledge is being denied to you by the lack of translation? What about your government as they're likely to be the one and only news source in that language? Surely objectivity and neutrality is almost non existent if someone's information sources are that limited. How much of his knowledge is being denied to anyone who doesn't speak what he does?

There must be mountains of information, art and learning that disappears between cultures because of this.

Is this an unpublicised cultural disaster or does the right info always find a way?



Yeah it's logical. Its their misinterpreted or deliberately changed. I don't want to make specific examples but today's versions of ancient text are probably not as pure as they are said to be. Information passed from generation to generation in several different translations are not as accurate to be a basis for many things

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October 19, 2017, 07:25:58 AM
 #7

I would think of lot of the problems are related to the readers own understanding of the language, or more specifically the words used. English for example has many definitions for a single word, and many words which can be used interchangeably (synonyms). If the reader is unfamiliar with the definition of the word that the translator intended, the reader will either think the translation is wrong or walk away thinking the wrong thing about what was just read.

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October 19, 2017, 03:02:37 PM
 #8

some say that the bible itself has not been translated correctly, and that many chapters have been altered to the benefit of the translator. But the problem is indeed real, that's why we need a unified language, which we all can speak and understand. For some countries that already in the works (learning English for example early on), but in other's it is not as common, which is bad of course. Since I was young I always knew that I had to learn English well and that it would help me in the future, and it does. Most of the information online are only available in English, and that will continue for at least a century (in my opinion). Maybe we'll find a common language (international one) but as long as English is feeling this need, I don't see why we should develop anything new.
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October 19, 2017, 03:13:53 PM
 #9

Languages are extremely vast and complex especially about the gaps it creates when translation comes into place. Not everyone can speak languages perfectly and since the mass doesn't mind being wrong in their grammar a language barrier has been created. This causes difficulty in understanding words, phrases, or even sentences. Translated literature causes changes the mood of the literature whereas the words used are very similar to the exact word but isn't enough to portray the actual meaning.

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October 21, 2017, 01:20:32 AM
 #10

Every language has words that other languages don't have - like the Esquimos have 20+ words for the word snow and the Americans 20+ words for the word hamburger. And so on. So many gaps.

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October 21, 2017, 01:38:48 AM
 #11

I think All students should experience well designed and supported language programs, taught by well trained and supported language teachers, in schools that actively support language teaching linked to universities that are fully committed to widespread and successful language study. It is worth re-iterating why this ambition is important. The principal reason is to do with the deepest purposes of education itself, to instil knowledge, to deepen understanding, to stimulate reflection and to foster skills. Languages are intimately linked to the essentially humanistic, cultural and intellectual reasons for making education compulsory. Bilingualism can foster more reflective and imaginative dispositions in citizens, and the principles of democratic discourse, participation and opportunity which Gaps between  language study since the bulk of humanity lives in societies and continues traditions forged outside of English.
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October 21, 2017, 04:57:22 AM
 #12

And what gets lost between them?

If you read a translated book or subtitles you're not reading what the author wrote, it's the translator's effort. I know enough of a couple of languages to know that quite often what's being fed to you is radically different to the original work.

Similarly if you're some guy from Lesotho who only speaks your local dialect, how much of the world's knowledge is being denied to you by the lack of translation? What about your government as they're likely to be the one and only news source in that language? Surely objectivity and neutrality is almost non existent if someone's information sources are that limited. How much of his knowledge is being denied to anyone who doesn't speak what he does?

There must be mountains of information, art and learning that disappears between cultures because of this.

Is this an unpublicised cultural disaster or does the right info always find a way?


we have English as our universal language,  only if everyone learns how to speak and communicate with it,  the gas will be filled up.  Every country must have an initiative on making this language known by everyone.
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October 22, 2017, 06:07:14 PM
 #13

As for translations, it's very hard to learn a lot of languages that we'd have to make do with whatever translations we can get. I mean, even the Muslims in my country who insist they are fluent in Arabic aren't actually and learned verses through rote memorization. That is why I'm glad that I at least know some English, which was really helpful considering almost every media uses it and that most books would usually publish in it.

As for knowing only one language, yes a lot can be deprived from you if you only know a language that is not widely used. English-speakers can afford to not need to learn any new languages since many works are published in English and those that aren't would probably get translated if they are important enough.

Languages with large reach (Spanish for example) might also get by decently since publishers would probably translate to it for earning more profits.
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October 22, 2017, 07:10:38 PM
 #14

A good discussion topic. I'd say it mostly depends on the development of each and every language (if we consider the era when languages were limited by the territory of the states only. E.g. energy plants, industry etc., as experience of each nation with the high tech is reflected in the complex words and forms.

Overall, I observed that English has the most finance terms, German - tech terms, French - style, cultural and fashion etc. It is interesting to observe how those words travel to other languages as well.
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October 23, 2017, 03:38:42 AM
 #15

And what gets lost between them?

If you read a translated book or subtitles you're not reading what the author wrote, it's the translator's effort. I know enough of a couple of languages to know that quite often what's being fed to you is radically different to the original work.

Similarly if you're some guy from Lesotho who only speaks your local dialect, how much of the world's knowledge is being denied to you by the lack of translation? What about your government as they're likely to be the one and only news source in that language? Surely objectivity and neutrality is almost non existent if someone's information sources are that limited. How much of his knowledge is being denied to anyone who doesn't speak what he does?

There must be mountains of information, art and learning that disappears between cultures because of this.

Is this an unpublicised cultural disaster or does the right info always find a way?



It is because that every language has their own dialect and speech nuances that maybe otherwise be lost or not found in some languges. HOwever ai view it as it adds flavor to the stories or things that are being translated you get yo see the culture and heritage by that difference alone.

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October 23, 2017, 03:50:44 AM
 #16

That's an excellent topic, and it goes a lot further than most people imagine, as some have said.

Information can be contained in a language in a lot of different ways.

Tibetan mystics study what is conveyed in syllables, a detail most people cannot imagine.

And where a language develops, it's geographic origin, gives it elements from animal sounds etc peculiar to that area, so that when a person speaks a language in one area that originated elsewhere, they start with less information.

A person does not know what they don't know, a person does not see their own blindspots.
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October 25, 2017, 09:16:24 AM
 #17

And what gets lost between them?

If you read a translated book or subtitles you're not reading what the author wrote, it's the translator's effort. I know enough of a couple of languages to know that quite often what's being fed to you is radically different to the original work.

Similarly if you're some guy from Lesotho who only speaks your local dialect, how much of the world's knowledge is being denied to you by the lack of translation? What about your government as they're likely to be the one and only news source in that language? Surely objectivity and neutrality is almost non existent if someone's information sources are that limited. How much of his knowledge is being denied to anyone who doesn't speak what he does?

There must be mountains of information, art and learning that disappears between cultures because of this.

Is this an unpublicised cultural disaster or does the right info always find a way?



This issue must be addressed in all important bodies of intelligence specially in the ministry of translations. A lot of information slips out of the main context of author just by the mere translation of words because some words in their language does not exist in another. This is because of traditions, cultures and experiences. This is an important issue and must be corrected immediately.

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October 25, 2017, 05:22:56 PM
 #18

...

Is this an unpublicised cultural disaster or does the right info always find a way?



...specially in the ministry of translations. ...This is an important issue and must be corrected immediately.

Nature solves everything ultimately, but it would be fun to have the government try and fix it. It would create jobs and help students understand George Orwell.
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October 25, 2017, 07:44:02 PM
 #19

That is right, but in the dispute is also the number of words in that language and of course if the translation is made in a language with less words then the original language of the text and of course the story wont be the same. For example there are jokes that if you translate them it becomes a strange text.

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October 25, 2017, 09:39:00 PM
 #20

Of course, nothing beats learning the language so you don't get lost in translation. Another advantage of it is that you get to understand things in the right context especially  information that is unique for a particular country or culture such as idioms. However, with the current technology we have, we can develop better translating services that makes the gap between countries and languages narrower everyday.

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