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      • Native Language:
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    #1

    Why am I unable to translate some English words/phrases into my own language?

    Hello,


    English is not my first language, but after moving to England over two years ago I'm now unable to translate some words/phrases by using my first language. Why is that?


    It's very strange, there are things that I know what they means, but only in English. For some reasons I don't know how to translate them (I'm also studying at university here in England).


    I'm curious to know how the brain works in this situations.


    Thanks!
    Last edited by Alessio91; 03-Aug-2015 at 18:48.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Why am I unable to translate some English words/phrases into my own language?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alessio91 View Post
    I'm curious to know how the brain works in this situations.
    Thanks!
    It sounds like a situation in which the brain isn't working!
    As you would have discovered, not every word or phrase has a cognate word or phrase in another language, so there might not be a direct translation. The good news is that you are thinking in English!
    I could make some deeper observations about second language acquisition, but I don't have time at the moment.
    Last edited by Raymott; 05-Aug-2015 at 02:53. Reason: typo

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    #3

    Re: Why am I unable to translate some English words/phrases into my own language?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Alessio:

    I think that translation is truly a wonderful art.

    Each year, I hear, the best translations are given awards by various bodies.

    I have collected three quotations that I hope will inspire and console you in your work.

    1. "Translation is a series of impossible decisions." -- Edward Seidensticker.

    2. "Translation is always a treason and, as a Ming [dynasty in China] author observes, can at its best be only the reverse side of a brocade -- all the threads are there, but not the subtlety of color or design." -- Okakura.

    3. And this one, I think, really hits the nail on the head:

    "The art of translation lies less in knowing the other language than in knowing your own." -- Ned Rorem.

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