Tom Thomson scriobh:
>I read modern books in Scots Gaelic, and sometimes find I have to translate
>into English to understand because theidiom is just not Gaelic idiom. This
i believe that this is an indication of a poor translation rather than an inherent problem with translating modern works from English into some Gaelic language.
if someone translates the French expression "tirer les vers du nez" into English as something like "pulling worms from his nose", then the translator has missed the point and has failed the reader. the literal translation of the idiom doesn't exist in English and serves to distract the reader from the text as they try to figure out what was meant. in this case, the translator is responsible for finding an appropriate English idiom to use (just as an appropriate English lexical item must be chosen for each French lexical item, and just as the overall style of the text is supposed to be preserved).
unfortunately, translation can be quite difficult and thus you see mistakes like this with surprising frequency (as you point out).
i recently read (was it on this list?) that Harry Potter was being translated into Welsh. is this a bad thing? i personally think that it's better to read the original text wherever possible, but i can't say that it's a bad thing to have the book around in Welsh for those who want it. i just hope that they do a good job of translating - there are a lot of names/puns that are as difficult to translate as Jabberwocky...