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May 26, 2008

the inaccuracies of a translation

It is interesting to note how different news media translate the same Hebrew word to different English words, and how that can change the tone of the article.

Today PM Olmert said that only those who are "Hazui" can still believe in the concept of a "Greater Israel".

"Hazui" is a Hebrew word that seems difficult to translate precisely. My Babylon translation software comes up with no suggested translation for the word when I submit it for translation.

A sampling of how the various media outlets translated it:

Haaretz: those who hallucinate

Ynet : delusinoal fantisists

JPost: bizzare people

This goes to show you that translations need to be taken with a grain of salt. The words the translator uses have been selected not necessarily for their accuracy, rather to convey a certain message.

This is why the Septuagint was considered such a tragedy. Until then the Torah had not been translated, and by setting a precedent, it was opening a door for corruptible translations to be entered into our libraries.

Whenever possible - read from the original in the original language. Even if the translator had the best of intentions, it is prone to inaccuracies just because it is not always possible to get an exact translation.

1 comment:

  1. I think "hallucinate" seems better, because the verb for "to hallucinate" is "lehazot," whereas there is no corresponding verb I can find meaning either "to delude" or "to be deluded."


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