Translation problems
Translation is complex as an activity in its own right. Moreover, in practice, a translator has to overcome many obstacles that make the translation process even more complex.
Imperfections in the source text
- The source text is not final and is rewritten at the time the translation is made.
- The text is illegible.
- The text contains spelling errors
- The text is just a passage.
- The text is poorly drafted.
- Missing references in the text (e.g. translator should translate titles or captions to missing photos)


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Letter or spirit?
An important translation problem is whether the translator should stick to the spirit, the atmosphere of the book, or translate everything exactly as it is in the original, literally (in English, these concepts have the terms fidelity/faithfulness - "accuracy, faithfulness of transmission" and transparency - "transparency, clarity"). This problem is closely related to the issue of measurability and the definition of quality criteria for translation and its proximity to the original.
It also includes the question of the degree of freedom of the translator (i.e. within what length of the text he or she is entitled to translate and cannot leave, a peculiar atomic object of translation - a word combination, part of a phrase, phrase or paragraph).
The problem of untranslatability, socio-cultural component

There is often debate about whether certain words are untranslatable. From time to time, lists of such words are made. These lists often include the Portuguese word (also found in Spanish), which is an example of a word that is difficult to translate. It is translated literally as "sorrowful desire" or "sad thirst", but has some nuances that are difficult to include in the translation: the word has a positive grade, which is a subtlety lost in translation. Some words are difficult to translate if the translator tends to stay in the same grammatical category.

For example, in other languages, it is difficult to find a word that matches Russian or Yiddish שלימזל (shlimazl), but in English, for example, adjectives "inquisitive" and "jinxed" are successful matches.
Linguists study mysterious words with local shades and often refer to them as "untranslatable", but in reality words with this cultural coloring are the easiest to translate - even easier than universal notions such as "mom.

This is because there is a certain translation practice of keeping such words in the target language; for this purpose, you can resort to borrowing a word if it is not already in the target language. For example, the menu at a French restaurant in England would say Pâté de foie gras rather than Fat liver paste, although that would be a good equivalent. Instead, most of the time, it would say foie gras pâté in English. In some cases, all you need is a transcription: the Japanese word わさび is transcribed in English as wasabi. It is acceptable to give a short description or some parallel concept: わさび can be translated into English as Japanese horseradish.

The more tangible the specific cultural coloring of a word, the easier it is to translate it. For example, the name of a little-known village, such as Euroa in Australia, is translated as Euroa in any language with Latin alphabet writing, but sometimes you need to consider other options: Zaragoza can be translated as Saragossa, Saragosse, etc. One more example: China (whale 中国) in English is transmitted as China, but otherwise in other languages: Cina, Chine, etc.
Hard to translate words are often small, very common words. For example, all meanings of the English verb "to get" occupy almost seven columns in the latest edition of the French-English dictionary Robert-Collins. The same applies to seemingly simple, common words such as "go" (seven columns), "come" (four and a half columns), etc.
Cultural aspects can make translation problematic. Take the word "bread", for example. At first glance, it seems to be very simple, pointing out only one particular subject in everyday use, and it seems that this word has full matches in other languages. But if one were asked to describe or draw a Russian, a Frenchman and a Chineseman, "bread", du pain and 包 (bāo) respectively, the results would be quite different. What size does it have? How crispy is it? Is it sweet? Is it sold sliced? Where can I get it? People of different cultures will draw completely different things in their imaginations.

It is particularly difficult to translate the cultural concepts of the source language that are not present in the target language. An example of this is the English word for privacy, which means a wide range of cultural and legal concepts related to the priority position of the individual in Western-type civilizations. Translating this word into Russian, for example, is very difficult simply because of the lack of a corresponding concept in the Russian cultural tradition.
The problem is often the inability to distinguish between translation and vocabulary search. Dictionary matches can be found in the dictionary, which provides brief (usually consisting of one word) equivalents of each word. As described above, translation is the decoding of the meaning and purpose of a statement at the text level (not at the word or sentence level) and the subsequent encoding of the meaning and purpose of the text in the target language. Words like saudade and שלימזל are difficult to convey in one single word in other languages, but two or more words can adequately convey the desired meaning. The word "bread" is more likely to be considered untranslatable, if only because we often use the expressions "French bread", "Chinese bread", "Algerian bread", etc. We rely on the fact that the recipients of our text know what these things are.

There may be notions in one language that do not exist in another. For example, both the French words tutoyer and vouvoyer can be translated into English as to address as "you", since the English pronoun for the second person of the singular number thou is outdated. On the other hand, depending on the context, the meaning of the French word tutoyer or Spanish tutear can be translated into English as to be on first-name terms with ("go to names", "know someone well").
The varying degrees of detail of the subject matter in question also prove to be important. What can the English word there mean ("there" in different meanings)? Even if we distract ourselves from idiomatic uses such as the expression there, there, don't cry, we can identify many possible options. A word there can be translated into Spanish as ahí, but it implies that the subject is not very far away; if the subject is far enough away, a Spaniard will use the word alli unless the word implies "over there". Then the word alla can be expected from a Spaniard. The opposite is true for colloquial French: all three Spanish words meaning "there" and the term "here" are increasingly expressed in the word là. But then how do you determine where the subject is?

In addition, the stumbling block is often:
- Dialectal words and neologisms;
- unspoken acronyms and abbreviations;
- incomprehensible jargon.
Over time, cultures and language change, and therefore translations lose their relevance and become outdated. Do translations need to be additionally corrected in order to adapt to the realities of the new time?