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It is a beautiful thing to be back with you again. Writing this blog has been quite inspiring for us. Like any blog, it helps us reflect on our work, and get some inspiration. So, as we talk to you, we will be talking to ourselves as well.

 

Apart from sharing with you developements on your favourite flavour, we realised we can also share some thoughts with fellow translators. This is what we would like to do in this instalment.

 

In our 6th instalment of this blog, we shared briefly on how we are simplifying our language constructions by shortening our sentences. We have been working on perfecting this art/ science, and I think it is one we can share with all of you interested in translating. We also believe we can get more ideas from you on this and other techniques.

 

In the instalment referenced above (which you can click and read right away) we noted that some of the sentences we have to translate can be long, and loaded with different thoughts, all woven together in one sentence. We noted that the English language seems well able to handle such loads, without carrying its readers off-course. A lot of our other languages may not be as versatile, particularly depending on how well the translator chooses to replay the same thoughts.

 

We therefore suggested that such long and loaded sentences can be broken down, before translating each resultant piece. The way to break such sentences, we suggested, was to isolate each thought presented in the sentence, and "reward it" with a sentence of its own. That will be the science part. The art work comes in presenting these child sentences in an order, and a semantic flow which will preserve the original meaning. In the original long sentence, connectors (by, because, having, and, but, etc) will have been used to shape the overral thought. By breaking it, you will have lost some of the tools you couldhave used to reconstruct the original thought.

 

But it is all workable, we discovered. And the more you do it the more you enjoy it! Of course, like any scientific method, one has to break it here and there where needed, but the it helps working from this perspective.

 

Let us look at a line we can practice on:

 

"The Lord Jesus, in Luke 18:1-9 enjoins us through a parable the need to persevere and be importunate in prayer."

 

First, we pick out the various thoughts conveyed in this not so long line. I will pick these for illustration:

 

1. The Lord Jesu enjoins us on the need to persevere in prayer

2. The Lord Jesus enjoins us on the need to be importunate in prayer

3. He uses a parable to do this

4. That parable is found in Luke 18:1-9.

 

As you can see, we can package each of these thoughts into a seperate sentence.

Let us try to do this:

 

"The Lord Jesu enjoins us on the need to persevere in prayer. The Lord Jesus enjoins us on the need to be importunate in prayer. He uses a parable to do this. That parable is found in Luke 18:1-9."

 

And what follows is the art part, to smoothen this up:

 

"The Lord Jesu enjoins us on the need to persevere in prayer. He also instructs us to be importunate in prayer. He uses a parable to to teach us this. That parable is found in Luke 18:1-9."

 

Well, depending on your literary competence, you could make this sound good and poetic. But the important thing is, regardless of the level of literary competence, we have all the thoughts the original writer had. And anyone can port this to their own language, with little concern for connecting language articles!

 

I am not sure what else you can observe on this, but my thinking is we can actually have a fairly uniform translation output across all our languages with an approach of this nature.

 

Now, there is one more reason I like this approach. It ensures that we capture every thought in any sentence we have to translate. If you try to "chew" the whole line at once as it were, you risk dropping some thoughts for lack of space in your new (possibly rigid) construction.

 

I urge you to try this on more constructions, and see what you get. Take on some real loaded lines, and enjoy the ease with which you will translate the final lines.

 

But as I pointed out, you cannot run away from rationalising your output here and there. This may mean rejoining some of the split lines for clarity, and so forth.

 

Well, well! Maybe I will spare you a Shona flavour this time around. You sound rather cosmopolitan to me today!

But do let me know your thoughts on this.

 

Thank you, and God bless you!