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← On translating TEDTalks into Dutch

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Showing Revision 5 created 06/16/2014 by Krystian Aparta.

  1. Did any of you translate
    Erin McKean's talk?
  2. For those who haven't,
    here is a small extract.
  3. 'Lexicographical' is the same pattern
    as higgeldy piggeldy.
  4. It’s a fun word to say,
    and I get to say it a lot.
  5. I would add to that:
  6. higgeldy-piggeldy is also
    a fun word to translate.
  7. In Dutch, I used "olleke bolleke," as in…
  8. Olleke bolleke, rubisolleke,
  9. olleke bolleke, rubisolleke,
    olleke bolleke, knol!
  10. Luckily, this nursery rhyme is known
  11. in both of the major regions
    where Dutch is spoken.
  12. Dutch is the mother tongue
    of 23 million people,
  13. of whom 16 million live
    in the Netherlands,
  14. 6 mln in the Northern part of Belgium,
    also known as Flanders,
  15. and 400.000 in Suriname
    in South-America.
  16. We have an official
    "Dutch Language Union."
  17. So, where's the problem?
  18. Dutch from the Netherlands
    and Dutch from Flanders
  19. sound very different.
  20. If you meet Johan Cruyff
    in the morning,
  21. and if you're lucky, he will say
    "Goeiemorgen" to you.
  22. Kim Clijsters will say "Goeiemorgen."
  23. In subtitling,
    this is of course irrelevant.
  24. So once again: where's the problem?
  25. We also use different words.
  26. A Dutchman will call this a "klokkromme."
  27. In Flanders we call it a "Gauss-curve."
  28. Last but not least, each group has
    their set of "typical doubts,"
  29. or deviations from Standard Dutch
  30. that occur more
    in one or the other region.
  31. Over the years,
    the Dutch have lost their sensitivity
  32. to the gender of Dutch nouns.
  33. And so only a Dutchman might wonder
  34. whether a cow is male or female
  35. … or so we teasingly say in Flanders.
  36. In Belgium, on the other hand,
    whether we like it or not,
  37. our language is influenced
  38. by our French-speaking fellow countrymen,
  39. leading to sometimes awkward
    constructions borrowed from French.
  40. So there's the problem.
  41. If a reviewer from the Netherlands
  42. reviews the work of a colleague
    from Belgium,
  43. she might see a text which she herself
  44. would never have written that way,
  45. and the other way round.
  46. If she starts correcting it,
  47. before she knows it,
    she will be caught up
  48. in an endless yes-no-discussion.
  49. It happened to me in my early TED days.
  50. I even confess that
    for my very first translation,
  51. I made sure I asked a translator
    from my own country
  52. to review it, because I felt uncomfortable
  53. with a review from the "other side."
  54. But I quickly learned that if you stick
  55. to a limited number of ground rules,
  56. you can easily overcome this difficulty.
  57. This is what I want to share
    with you today.
  58. The best way to stop discussions
    about "who is right,"
  59. is to agree on the standards you use.
  60. For Dutch, that is quite easy.
  61. The official thesaurus,
    the main dictionary
  62. and the standard grammar
    are all accessible online.
  63. All three are widely used and accepted
  64. in the Netherlands and in Belgium.
  65. If you indicate from the beginning
  66. that you will use these as a standard,
  67. you can avoid a lot of tension
    and discussion.
  68. But even if a word exists,
  69. it may be highly unusual
    in one of the two regions.
  70. Take the "klokkromme."
  71. It's a word hardly any
    Belgian would use,
  72. but on the other hand,
    it is not difficult to understand
  73. especially not in context,
  74. as is the case in TED Talks.
  75. There's really no point in replacing it
  76. with a term that no Dutchman
    would ever use.
  77. I much rather treat it
  78. as a "word worth spreading."
  79. Of course, if the unusual word
    is difficult to understand,
  80. the story is different.
  81. But then again,
  82. rather than replacing the word
    with a Flemish one,
  83. I invite my translation partner
  84. to look for an alternative
    that is acceptable to both of us.
  85. I would like to end with a few words
  86. about what I try to to keep in mind
  87. when reviewing or translating into Dutch.
  88. First of all, I keep my audience in mind.
  89. I'm writing for people
    from different regions.
  90. I might as well try
    to step into their shoes
  91. and avoid words or expressions
  92. that I know are confusing.
  93. Secondly, I keep in mind
    my translation partner,
  94. especially when reviewing.
  95. In one of my early reviews,
  96. I made the mistake of marking
    the translation as reviewed
  97. without having contacted my partner.
  98. After all, I thought I had only
  99. corrected some obvious mistakes.
  100. Since then, I always contact
    the translator
  101. and invite them to let me know
  102. whether they agree with my proposals.
  103. Thirdly, I keep in mind
    that I translate for TED
  104. in order to help spreading
    the interesting ideas of the speakers.
  105. It's not about “winning” discussions
    with other translators,
  106. it's about working together
  107. to provide access to TED
  108. to as large an audience as possible.
  109. Last year, a TED Translator
    from the Netherlands
  110. asked me whether I thought we should
  111. have separate sets of translations
  112. for Dutch from the Netherlands
    and from Belgium.
  113. I told him that to me,
  114. that made no sense at all,
  115. since it would only double the effort
  116. to spread the ideas.
  117. It did spur me to get better
  118. at finding common ground
    across the regions.
  119. Last but not least, I can tell you
  120. that translating for TED has been
  121. an immensely enriching experience to me.
  122. My closing thoughts are therefore
  123. for my fellow TED Translators.
  124. I would have liked to create
  125. some kind of "Hans Rosling graph,"
  126. but you will have to do
    with a wordle,
  127. in which the size of the name
  128. represents the number of times
    I worked with them.
  129. I wish all of you an excellent workshop
  130. and an exciting TED Global 2011.