Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Translating and interpreting

On the after lunch news Rajoy was chatting to Theresa May. I don't think our President speaks English and I'm pretty sure that May doesn't speak Spanish. Just behind them was a chap with grey curly hair and one of those "access all area" passes. I presume he was their interpreter.

On the forum pages I sometimes have a go at helping people to translate things. I tend to go the Spanish English way rather than write in Spanish as I am very aware of the manifold slips that I make when writing in Spanish. Wordreference is a wonderful dictionary cum language resource if you don't know it.

For quite a while now I've listened to the Spanish podcasts by Alex occasionally assisted by Vanesa on the cunningly named A while ago they started to push their YouTube channel as well but it took me a while to getting around to having a look.

On the videos Alex didn't look at all like I expected from having heard his voice on the podcasts. The videos though are really simple and they look very professional to me. Alex speaks in Spanish and, one day, the video ran automatically with Spanish subtitles. Trying to turn them off I found that there is a tool on the site for adding in subtitles to videos in other languages. I've made a couple of donations to the site in the past but, generally, I've got most of the stuff for free so I thought it might be a nice gesture to add the subs in English.

I understand the dialogues 100% or maybe 99% some weeks. Nonetheless putting in the subtitles proved to be more challenging than I expected. The way that it's done on YouTube is that there are the subs in Spanish and a box to type in your attempt in whatever language underneath. The little boxes in Spanish finish on a particular word and I try to end on the same word in English but it's not always possible simply because of differences in word order. Then there are the expressions that make sense in Spanish but aren't good English. I have been very undecided whether to go for a good English style just taking the sense from the Spanish, whether to go for the most literal translation that maintains a semblance of sense or to mix a bit of both. I have not been happy with any of the translations so far but, eventually, I'm sure I'll settle on an appropriate style.

In the meantime hats off to that translator bloke making it possible for Rajoy and May to maintain a conversation at a normal speed.

No comments: