no. Date The art of translation Translation can be a very cumbersome process which success depends greatly on the translator’s proficiency in language and ability to decode information, as well as the nature of terms being translated…
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Payne is very skeptical on the possibility of accurate translation when he likens the diverse languages in the world to a grid whose patterns rarely coincide, making it nearly impossible to succeed entirely in accurate translation. Payne adds that if a translator ever does succeed in accurate translation, it is not because of logic; rather it is a pure accident (ibid). Accordingly, the first part of this essay seeks to determine whether Payne is right in suggesting that the way a person thinks is defined by language structure. It also examines the probability of “traduttore traditore” occurring not only between but also within languages. The second part deals with an analysis of how a translated text can establish authority. Miscommunications and misunderstandings within a language The Dao De Jing is a classical Chinese text that has been translated into countless languages over time. According to Laozi, there have been different versions attempting to make sense of an otherwise difficult text (1). Laozi writes that the Wang Bi edition of the Dao De Jing seems to be somehow different from other translations namely; Mawangdui A along with Mawangdui B (6). For the latter two texts, it appears that the chapters were marked by the use of dots to symbolize the transition from one chapter to another, while Wang Bi’s translation has no divisions (ibid). ...
Wang Bi’s translation looks at the gully as the earth and the “mysterious cleft” as something that is beyond definition, while Heshanggong’s commentary views “mysterious” as representing the nose, while the “cleft” symbolizes the mouth (ibid) of the earth. In this case, therefore, the different translations give the reader different thoughts concerning the same subject. While analyzing the Wang Bi edition, Laozi elucidates the concept of miscommunication by noting that this particular translation lacks in the characteristic Chinese symbols that are the equivalents of punctuations in western texts (3). As a result of the missing symbols, the reader gets ambiguous information that may not reflect the true meaning of the original text. Accordingly, it seems that even a modern Chinese would be unable to decipher the true meaning of some of the phrases within the text. This miscommunication is brought about by the fact that classical Chinese texts were more literal, and required people to have a deep understanding of literature in order to understand them. On the contrary, modern Chinese is fairly simple and does not require much literal knowledge In Plato’s Apology, the use of the term “Apology” misleads the reader to think that Socrates was actually apologizing for the purported mistakes. However, as the text goes along, the reader realizes that Socrates was actually defending himself from the accusations. However, it may be that Plato was not misleading the reader by terming the trial as an “Apology”, because the Greek equivalent for “an explanation” is “apologia”. Also, according to Plato, the Apology is a form of dialogue in which Socrates engages his accusers while trying to justify his actions. However, most of the
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