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Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

The art and science of translation to or from Thai, with examples

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Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

Postby LuckyMonkey » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:21 pm

Dear all

Can someone translate me following sentence. For your help i would be very gratful.

ความรักไม่ใช่สิ่งที่สวยงามแต่ความรักมีค่ามากกว่าสิ่งอื่นๆ ที่คนที่ไม่เคยมีความรักไม่เคยได้รู้จัก ไม่เคยได้รู้รักที่แท้จริงคืออะไร[/b]

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Re: Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

Postby Glenn Slayden » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:38 pm

I'll take a stab ( :!: warning, amateur at work :!: )

"Love is not a beautiful thing but it has more value than anything. There has never been a person who has never (felt) love. To have never known genuine love would be what?"
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Re: Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

Postby Nan » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:27 am

ความรักไม่ใช่สิ่งที่สวยงามแต่ความรักมีค่ามากกว่าสิ่งอื่นๆ ที่คนที่ไม่เคยมีความรักไม่เคยได้รู้จัก ไม่เคยได้รู้รักที่แท้จริงคืออะไร

- Love is not a beautiful thing, but it has more value than anything, in which one who has never been in love, never known love, would have never known truly what love is.
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Re: Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

Postby LuckyMonkey » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:55 pm

Thank you very much Glen :-)

It is not written for me... i only read that in a Messenger (Quick Message) from a friend. I think its like a poem..

Greetings
Patrick
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Re: Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

Postby R.E.G. » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:21 am

This is a good example of how difficult translation is. In order to get the meaning it seems to me that สวยงาม cannot be 'beautiful' because true love which has value is beautiful I think. A word which is more superficial is needed, and if I say 'glamorous' someone can say no! it should be 'glitsy' . The subject after the intro. is 'value' and the conjunction ที่ is 'which' and value is converted to 'true love' In my English this means;
Love is not a glamorous thing, but has value above all things, which those who have never loved have never known; they do not know what true love is.

'And if this be error and upon me proved
then no man ever writ and no man ever loved.'
W. Shakespeare
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Re: Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

Postby mangkorn » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:54 am

Translation is a delicate art, to be sure. But it is made more difficult when one imposes one's own definitions upon the writer, rather than attempting to render the original intent in the target language so that most readers would best comprehend it. A beautiful girl, a beautiful sunset, a beautiful golf shot, whatever... These are things that Thai people can and do describe as สวยงาม. Translation that hews to one's own prejudices is translation for one's own self - which has limited application - and clearly runs the risk of distorting the original intent of the writer, in which case it would be bad translation. The artful translator never imposes his/her definitions upon the writer; the charge entrusted is to best communicate the meaning and mood into another language. If, for example, the writer means that an anonymous one-night stand is a beautiful thing, who is the translator to say otherwise?
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Re: Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

Postby R.E.G. » Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:27 pm

mangkorn wrote:Translation is a delicate art, to be sure. But it is made more difficult when one imposes one's own definitions upon the writer, rather than attempting to render the original intent in the target language so that most readers would best comprehend it. A beautiful girl, a beautiful sunset, a beautiful golf shot, whatever... These are things that Thai people can and do describe as สวยงาม. Translation that hews to one's own prejudices is translation for one's own self - which has limited application - and clearly runs the risk of distorting the original intent of the writer, in which case it would be bad translation. The artful translator never imposes his/her definitions upon the writer; the charge entrusted is to best communicate the meaning and mood into another language. If, for example, the writer means that an anonymous one-night stand is a beautiful thing, who is the translator to say otherwise?


The writer is describing love which has value above all things as ไม่สวยงาม perhaps as you say it works in Thai but I am trying to make it possible in English not changeing the meaning to my own prejudices. If it was ไม่ใช่สวยงามเท่านั้น it would be easier but it doesn't, so what to do? If it makes sense in Thai then I accept that I don't know enough Thai, thats ok, I am only learning. What is your translation?
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Re: Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

Postby Glenn Slayden » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:14 pm

Another quality of a good translation is to be syntacticaly correct in the target language, and this is a particular challenge between Thai and English, where the lack of sentence punctuation in the former encourages a more flowing narrative. For example, it is difficult to make Nan's accurate and authoritative translation of this sentence grammatical in English, where we still have such strong prescription against "run-on sentences."

Love is not a beautiful thing, but it has more value than anything, in which one who has never been in love, never known love, would have never known truly what love is.


"In which" needs an antecedent of containment, something coming earlier in the sentence which allows the use of "in" for containing something, which is not present. Using "which" instead of "in which" is still strange, because the introductory clause ("Love is not a beautiful thing") is a copula, which binds its constituents very tightly, so "which" can't select one of them to refer to. Instead, "which" seems to refer to the entire copula equation itself, rather than either of the equated objects. Even so, such a construction is ungrammatical:

xxx "Love is not a beautiful thing," ... which I find hard to believe.
ok: Love is not a beautiful thing is a fact which I find hard to believe.


All of this is partly why my translation for this sentence went off the tracks. The use of ที่ here has no exact grammatical parallel in English. If the antecedent of ที่ is supposed to be "Love," then you get only one chance to extract it from the copula, and this is already used up by the continuation, "...but it has more value than anything." So the solution is to keep this continuation going:

Love is not a beautiful thing, but it has more value than anything, and one who has never been in love—never known love—can never truly know what love is.


I'd be curious to know how correct the original Thai sentence is considered to be in prescriptive Thai grammar.
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Re: Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

Postby mangkorn » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:38 pm

R.E.G. wrote: The writer is describing love which has value above all things as ไม่สวยงาม perhaps as you say it works in Thai but I am trying to make it possible in English not changeing the meaning to my own prejudices. If it was ไม่ใช่สวยงามเท่านั้น it would be easier but it doesn't, so what to do? If it makes sense in Thai then I accept that I don't know enough Thai, thats ok, I am only learning. What is your translation?


Apologies if I misconstrued your intention. I was operating from this: "In order to get the meaning it seems to me that สวยงาม cannot be 'beautiful' because true love which has value is beautiful I think."

Personally, I might not attempt to translate it without knowing something more about the context in which it was delivered. But if forced to try, hmm, I'd search for an idiomatic English phrase, such as "...is not always a bed of roses..."

I do favor the last part of Glenn's suggestion: "...and one who has never been in love—never known love—can never truly know what love is" - which seems rather eloquent.

The challenge of translating is not to try to match the grammatical syntax of a phrase in one language to that of another; it is to render the the essence of the message in the way that it would be commonly (or, poetically) done in the target tongue. For example: หนีเสือปะจระเข้ (to flee from the tiger only to run into the crocodile) is properly translated as "Out of the frying pan, into the fire" - in the way that one would express that concept in idiomatic English, traditionally at least. A literal translation of the Thai phrase might well be understood (although, in this illiterate age, perhaps not by many :o ), but even so, it would be a very mediocre translation, because it does not address the cultural relevance of the target audience. If one attempted a straight translation of "between a rock and a hard place" into Spanish, it would mean nothing to most people in the Hispanic-speaking world, where that idea is commonly known as "between the sword and the wall." Same problem, very different cultural/linguistic context.
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Re: Seek a thai translater for only one sentence :-)

Postby claude06thailand » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:55 pm

hello everybody !

although I am French and my English is not perfect, I will propose this :

"Love is not a beautiful thing you can see..." > "Love is not a beautiful thing for the eyes..."

Translation is not easy, for sure ! but very interesting !
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