Last week was very busy, I moved, I visited my parents and many more. I thought that I deserved a full-cream Starbucks coffee. I have been going there for years but only last week discovered something. There is always a caution about the heat of the coffee. The Turkish translation attracted my attention. In English, the original caution is: “Careful, the beverage you’re about to enjoy is extremely hot”. However, in Turkish translation it says: “Dikkat! İçeceğiniz çok sıcaktır” which literally means: “Attention! Your beverage is very hot”. I think there is a very big gap between “Careful, the beverage you’re about to enjoy is extremely hot” and “Attention! Your beverage is very hot”. The Turkish translation makes the original statement poorer. It just reduces the meaning to a simple caution sentence. There are hundres of good translation alternatives out there. This raises the question: Does translation make the source text richer or poorer? I think the answer is ‘both’.
Considering the poem translation it makes it poorer like 90-95%. It is not just my opinion. Even in my literary translation classes, many of the classmates or assistans was thinking like that. In poem translation, you definetely change the meaning from time to time if you want to keep all the rhymes and syllable numbers.Furthermore, the unique word choice of the poets fades away. It is not possible to find little cultural nuances in translated poems. The translated poem may also sound good but it never feels the same as the original.
When it comes to comic translation or animation movie dubbing, it is more likely to say that translation makes the source text more understandable for the target audience. Hence, translation makes it richer. Especially in cartoons and animation movies, I always prefer the translated version because I find them more familiar to my culture.
As you can see, keeping cultural nuances is important in poem translation because poet is a distinctive genre of literature. Even the punctuations carry some meaning. However, in my opinion, it is not the same for cartoon or animation translation. Here the key factor is successful transformation of the culturel elements for target audience.
It is annoying paying attention even to minor details while enjoying a cup of high-calorie, extremely delicious coffee 🙂
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