Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finnish-English Translation Update

During the week when I was not feeling very well, I got lazy and I didn't do any translation at all, but now I've started focusing on it again. I must say that it's a really challenging task. There are just some things that sound natural in Finnish and the English translation of it would sound a bit weird. Plus in Finnish you can write such a loooooonnnngggg sentence that just can't be translated into English without my chopping them up into at least two sentences. 

I haven't been translating long texts in a LONG time, so my translation brain is kinda rusty. Oftentimes I get stuck because I have the image of the word in my head, but I can't bring myself to remember the word. It feels frustrating to be able to view the image in your mind without being able to voice it.

Another challenge for me is the vocabulary (obviously). The main character goes fishing and some fishing gears are mentioned along with names of fishes or animals that I don't know 'coz they don't exist in Indonesia. THANK GOD there's Google and free online dictionaries. Otherwise I wouldn't have survived (so far I've only translated 3 stories). *GRIN*

The writer also has a certain style of writing that I'm not familiar with. After all, most of the time I've been reading translated novels (English to Finnish), so I haven't got too much experience reading novels written by Finnish writers (I did start reading Puhdistus by Sofi Oksanen, but then as usual*** I switched book in the middle - my bad!!! But I shall get back to that book someday he he...).

*** Confession: I'm not really a "good reader". I do LOVE collecting books, but I switch books A LOT while reading them. There are only a few novels (among all the novels I've read in my lifetime) that I read without switching and stopping in between. And yeah, that meant that lots of time I had to reread the books I had left behind from the beginning again ha ha ha ha ha...

P.S. I'd love to recommend Terry Pratchett's "Going Postal". It's VERY FUNNY and I LOVE all the characters. For some reason I enjoy this one better than Pratchett's Colour of Magic. Here's the trailer:


  1. Do you find that translating a book from Finnish to English is helpful in refining your Finnish skills? :)

  2. @Elena: Well, it helps me learn new words/phrases and I get to know another writer's style of writing.

    Translating forces my translator brain to work again because it means I really have to understand each word - if I'm just a reader, even if there's a word here and there that I don't understand, it's fine as long as I get the big idea. But when translating someone's work, it's not good to have gaps here and there 'coz there might be misunderstanding. Plus, you've gotta translate every single bit of sentence anyway without skipping anything (unlike when you're reading).

    Plus it forces me to brush up my English 'coz I have to find the English equivalent that wouldn't sound weird, so it's a win-win situation he he...

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  4. Additional note: I think if one wants to truly refine one's Finnish skills, it's better to translate FROM English to Finnish instead of vice versa because it's much tougher than translating from Finish to English.

    However, in order to be able to write better and better, I believe I should read more and more so that I get to know different styles of writing in Finnish. :-)))

  5. Terry Pratchet and Douglas Adams are the only books I've ever read that have made me burst out laughing.

    BUT... Terry Pratchet isn't easy to read. He's almost too funny. It starts to rattle my brain and I lose where I am on the pages.

  6. @M: I've never read both writers' books. I'm actually not too fond of reading fantasy books 'coz I feel that I can't really imagine the things they write about too well (I'd rather watch the visualised versions of the books as movies) he he he he...

    Terry Pratchett intrigued me now...maybe someday I'll go read one of his books and see if I'll lose myself just like yourself hi hi hi hi...

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