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Thread: To translate, you must have the correct skin color

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    Veteran Member Axulus's Avatar
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    To translate, you must have the correct skin color

    Amanda Gorman's Dutch translator stands down after uproar that Black writer wasn't chosen

    Critics of the appointment questioned why a White writer had been chosen to translate the work of a Black writer.
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnn...ntl/index.html

    Proper skin color is now becoming more and more of a requirement to perform certain work.

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    "I am shocked by the uproar around my involvement in the spread of the Amanda Gorman's message, and I understand the people who feel hurt by Meulenhoff's decision to ask me," wrote Rijneveld.
    I'm genuinely surprised that it came as a shock to Rijneveld. I do not share the beliefs of the Woke but I understand what they believe and the "pain, frustration, anger, and disappointment" was entirely predictable.

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    Liberal Rastafarian Gospel's Avatar
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    Oh boy, here we go with another controversy over which armchair spectators will fight to declare some abstract absolute truth of the matter.

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    Contributor Trausti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gospel View Post
    Oh boy, here we go with another controversy over which armchair spectators will fight to declare some abstract absolute truth of the matter.
    Do you have the correct skin color to respond to this thread?

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    Liberal Rastafarian Gospel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gospel View Post
    Oh boy, here we go with another controversy over which armchair spectators will fight to declare some abstract absolute truth of the matter.
    Do you have the correct skin color to respond to this thread?
    That question reveals you know little if anything at all about Amanda Gorman's work. Why are you here?

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    Elder Contributor
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axulus View Post
    Amanda Gorman's Dutch translator stands down after uproar that Black writer wasn't chosen

    Critics of the appointment questioned why a White writer had been chosen to translate the work of a Black writer.
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnn...ntl/index.html

    Proper skin color is now becoming more and more of a requirement to perform certain work.
    Sort of like the US until the 1970s.

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    Contributor Trausti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gospel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gospel View Post
    Oh boy, here we go with another controversy over which armchair spectators will fight to declare some abstract absolute truth of the matter.
    Do you have the correct skin color to respond to this thread?
    That question reveals you know little if anything at all about Amanda Gorman's work. Why are you here?
    So you think your skin color determines what you can translate?

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    Veteran Member prideandfall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gospel View Post

    That question reveals you know little if anything at all about Amanda Gorman's work. Why are you here?
    So you think your skin color determines what you can translate?
    it is absolutely a known and quantified fact that translation is often contextual, exponentially more so the more abstract the source is.
    as such, shared life experiences can definitely impact the quality of a translation, since nuance and intent are a huge part of it when dealing with translating something that isn't strictly technical data.

    not that this is to say that lacking a shared background between the source and the translator automatically means a lesser quality of work, but it DOES demonstrate that there is a measurable improvement in translation when you increase contextual understanding.
    this gets a lot into the weeds of translation vs. transliteration vs. interpretation, which is a really big deal if you know anything about transcribing or translating languages... but, the end result is that there IS a valid reason to suggest that someone who better matches the experience of the author of the source will, on average, produce a better quality translation of a work by that author.

    now that isn't to jump to the conclusion that this dutch person couldn't have handled it adeptly, i'm merely pointing out there are concrete logistical reasons to want a translator who has some kind of similar background to the author, that has nothing to do necessarily with the genetics of skin color and more to do with the contextual experience of living as a black person.

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    Contributor Trausti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prideandfall View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gospel View Post

    That question reveals you know little if anything at all about Amanda Gorman's work. Why are you here?
    So you think your skin color determines what you can translate?
    it is absolutely a known and quantified fact that translation is often contextual, exponentially more so the more abstract the source is.
    as such, shared life experiences can definitely impact the quality of a translation, since nuance and intent are a huge part of it when dealing with translating something that isn't strictly technical data.

    not that this is to say that lacking a shared background between the source and the translator automatically means a lesser quality of work, but it DOES demonstrate that there is a measurable improvement in translation when you increase contextual understanding.
    this gets a lot into the weeds of translation vs. transliteration vs. interpretation, which is a really big deal if you know anything about transcribing or translating languages... but, the end result is that there IS a valid reason to suggest that someone who better matches the experience of the author of the source will, on average, produce a better quality translation of a work by that author.

    now that isn't to jump to the conclusion that this dutch person couldn't have handled it adeptly, i'm merely pointing out there are concrete logistical reasons to want a translator who has some kind of similar background to the author, that has nothing to do necessarily with the genetics of skin color and more to do with the contextual experience of living as a black person.
    What the hell.

  10. Top | #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by prideandfall View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gospel View Post

    That question reveals you know little if anything at all about Amanda Gorman's work. Why are you here?
    So you think your skin color determines what you can translate?
    it is absolutely a known and quantified fact that translation is often contextual, exponentially more so the more abstract the source is.
    as such, shared life experiences can definitely impact the quality of a translation, since nuance and intent are a huge part of it when dealing with translating something that isn't strictly technical data.

    not that this is to say that lacking a shared background between the source and the translator automatically means a lesser quality of work, but it DOES demonstrate that there is a measurable improvement in translation when you increase contextual understanding.
    this gets a lot into the weeds of translation vs. transliteration vs. interpretation, which is a really big deal if you know anything about transcribing or translating languages... but, the end result is that there IS a valid reason to suggest that someone who better matches the experience of the author of the source will, on average, produce a better quality translation of a work by that author.

    now that isn't to jump to the conclusion that this dutch person couldn't have handled it adeptly, i'm merely pointing out there are concrete logistical reasons to want a translator who has some kind of similar background to the author, that has nothing to do necessarily with the genetics of skin color and more to do with the contextual experience of living as a black person.
    If translation requires 'similarity in lived experience' (or is better/more reliable with it), why would we not restrict or preference translation of white-authored texts to white translators?

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