rambles about translation

Ms Kathleen Jennings s368333 at student.uq.edu.au
Tue Sep 21 23:01:56 EDT 2004


When I was on a university exchange in Germany, we (Australians, New Zealanders & Brazilians) got used to speaking in German to each other (for the sake of the Kiwis, we claimed). Two main problems:

1. Not having words to hand. I.e. when a friend walked into the path of oncoming traffic, we couldn't shout "car" because the English word didn't leap to mind anymore, and we couldn't shout "Auto" because we weren't sufficiently used to German to use it in an emergency. We gave up and leaped on the poor unfortunate and dragged them back to the curb.

2. Back-translating. We'd be used to thinking in German, then switch into English and automatically use German terms translated literally, i.e. "I can't find my hand-shoes". (Gloves).


Kathleen.

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