!دست از سر چینگلیش بردارید

Persian version of my recent blog post about Chinglish
Translated by Tahmineh Tayebi (تهمینه طیبی) & Vahid Parvaresh (وحید پرورش)

تصور کنید که روزنامه ی نیویورک تایمز از خواننده های خود بخواهد خنده دار ترین لطیفه ایی که در مورد افرادِ موبور  شنیده اند را برای روزنامه بفرستند و یا خنده دار ترین کاری که دیده اند شخصی با رنگ پوست و نژاد متفاوت انجام داده را برای روزنامه گزارش کنند. و حالا تصور کنید که قبل از اینکه این اقدامات مسیر کامل خود را طی کند،  دنیای وبلاگ ها از این گزارش ها پر شود و هر کسی که به نژاد و جنسیت علاقه مند است در وبلاگش چیزی نوشته ویا اینکه در فیسبوک وتویتر ذکری از آن به میان آورد و حتی مراکز دانشگاهی در زمینه ی مطالعات نژادی و جنسیت همگی از این پیشنهاد به وجد آمده و تجزیه و تحلیل هایی ارائه دهند مبنی بر این که چرا افراد موبور یا آن هایی که رنگ پوست و نژاد متفاوت دارند چنین رفتار مسخره ایی از خود نشان می دهند.

البته این موضوع قرار نیست رخ دهد چرا که چنین چیزی به طور وقیحانه و شرم آوری نژاد پرستانه یا تبعیض جنسیتی به شمار خواهد رفت. من خوشحالم  که چنین مسایلی دیگر قسمتی از تفکرات رایج و غالب  نیست و اکنون دیگر زمان آن رسیده که ما به درک مشابهی از گوناگونی و اختلاف های زبانی نیز برسیم. مسخره کردن زبانِ یک شخص اصلا خنده دار نیست! بلکه به اندازه ی شوخی های نژاد پرستانه و جنسیتی متعصبانه  است با این تفاوت که بیان کردن تبعیضات جنسیتی و نژادی غیر قابل قبول است. اما این چنین که به نظر می آید هیچ کس هیچ مشکلی با اظهار کردن تعصباتِ زبانیِ خود نمی بیند.

روزنامه نیویورک تایمز اخیرا مقاله ایی درباره چینگلیش (انگلیسیِ چینی ها) به چاپ رساند که برای مدتی بیشترین مقاله ی ایمیل شده ی آن ها بود. در واقع این مقاله چنان مورد توجه خوانندگان قرار گرفت و چنان سر و صدایی  در دنیای وبلاگ ها ایجاد کرد که از مردم خواسته شد تصاویر شخصی خود از “نشانه هایِ عجیبِ خارج” را برای آن روزنامه بفرستند. حتی یک وبلاگ دانشگاهی نیز در این زمینه دست به کار شد تا با ارائه ی یک سری تجزیه و تحلیل، این موضوع را که “چگونه اشتباهات غیر عمد در ترجمه های عبارات چینی منجر به انگلیسیِ مضحک و غیر قابل فهم می شود” روشن کند.

من هیچ مشکلی با مسخره کردن نشانه های اغراق آمیز و خنده دار ندارم. مسئله ایی که مورد اعتراض من است به سُخره گرفتن زبان آن نشانه ها ست آن هم صرفا به این علت که زبان آن نشانه ها با استانداردهای بعضی از بومیان هماهنگ نیست.

وادار کردن تمام جهان به یادگیری زبان انگلیسی و در عین حال تزریق آهسته ی یک عقده ی حقارتِ همیشگی به افرادی که به زبان های دیگر صحبت می کنند ممکن است به لحاظ تجاری، یعنی برای صنعت چند میلیارد دلاری آموزش زبان انگلیسی ، با مفهوم باشد ولی در اصل یک حُقه ی استثماری محض بوده و کاملا غیر اخلاقی است.

مقاله مذکور در روزنامه نیو یورک تایمز با دو اصلاح همراه شد چرا که هیأت تحریریه نتوانسته بود لقب یک منبعِ آگاهِ چینی و هم چنین املایِ صحیحِ یک نرم افزارِ ترجمه ی انگلیسی-چینی را در اولین دورِ چاپ خود درست در بیاورد. آیا من تنها فردی هستم که این طنزِ ظریف را دریافته است؟

Author Ingrid Piller

Dr Ingrid Piller is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Ingrid’s research expertise is in the fields of intercultural communication, bilingual education and the sociolinguistics of language learning and multilingualism in the contexts of migration and globalization.

More posts by Ingrid Piller
  • Mehdi Riazi

    Interesting topic and well-translated. With this, “languageonmove” becomes more multilingual!
    Mehdi

  • Ingrid Piller

    Thank you, Tahmineh and Vahid, for making the effort to translate. Ba sepas-e farawan!

    I’m feeling honoured that you – just like Jenny Zhang, Kimie Takahashi, Ridwan Wahid, and Sun-Young Chung – volunteered to translate my modest piece about Chinglish.

    We’ve received a couple of critical comments about the quality of the Persian translation. We’ve decided not to publish them because they either don’t meet our politeness standards or we don’t share their prescriptive view of language. Cross-linguistic influence, code-meshing, hybrid and truncated language practises are what language-on-the-move is all about so the fact that there are traces of the original in the translation doesn’t bother us.

    For those who want to contribute constructively, here’s our challenge: re-translate the piece with a commentary addressing where, how and why you’ve removed traces of the English original and we’ll publish it on language-on-the-move!

  • Pardiss

    Dear Ingrid:

    I also appreciate the translators and oppose any kind of impoliteness in addressing others. But there are some points which might help the readers understand the translation easier and they are not that much related to the trace of English.

    Here are some examples:

    The phrase “strange signs from abroad” is translated as
    “نشانه های عجیب خارج”. If I’m not wrong the phrase refers to those signs coming from countries in which the native language is not English. If I’m not wrong again “from” here shows the concept of source. The translation does not show it. Here the word “خارج” is used as an adjective for the noun “نشانه ها” or “signs”. We use “خارج” in our language to refer to a number of concepts like “outside”, “outside of something”, “foreign countries”, the latter case is something close to “abroad”. The translated phrase doesn’t show that this “abroad” is the origin or the source of the “signs”, making it a little demanding for the Persian reader to find the relation between this phrase and what the newspaper did or what the article is about. In order to help ease understanding or obviate the need for referring to the English version to find the relation, we can simply use the preposition “از” which functions like “from” in English. One suggested translation might be: “نشانه هایی عجیب از خارج”

    Besides, in some parts the use of long phrases, compound verbs, and rather unconventional words (which are possible based on the grammar and word formation processes in Persian, but are rarely used) make reading and understanding a bit difficult and impede the fluency of the translation, like this part:

    “… except that it’s unacceptable to express sexism or racism but no one seems to see anything wrong with expressing their linguistic prejudices.”
    با این تفاوت که بیان کردن تبعیضات جنسیتی و نژادی غیرقابل قبول است. اما این چنین که به نظر می ﺁید هیچ کس هیچ مشکلی با اظهار کردن تعصبات زبانی خود نمی بیند.

    “بیان کردن” and “اظهار کردن” are used for “to express” and “expressing”, they are like infinitive and gerund. In Persian “اظهار” and “بیان” on their own have the same function. We don’t need to add two “کردن” close to one another and hurt the naturality and fluency of the translation. Right here for the verb “seem” a clause is used while an adverb like “ظاهرا” conveys the same meaning. We can even use a prepositional verb like
    “به نظر می رسد” without “این چنین که” which is not needed. Of course I do agree that these things are sometimes just the matter of taste but using these unnecessary and rather unconventional compounds or long clauses in two neighboring sentences in this case is a little problematic. A suggested translation can be:

    با این تفاوت که بیان تبعیضات جنسی و نژادی غیرقابل قبول است، اما ظاهرا کسی مشکلی با بیان تعصبات زبانی خود ندارد

    I have also made some other changes, because of naturalness of it, like changing “جنسیتی” into “جنسی” (for sexist), which is used more frequently (normally we say “تبعیض جنسی”) and has the same meaning. It is also easier to pronounce.

    There are some other examples of this kind. Generally if we reduce the number of them, the translation will improve aesthetically. It also will sound more natural and acceptable for our Persian readers, because in their every day use of language, both written and spoken, they use them rarely. They tend to use what is simpler, shorter and easier to pronounce.

    And finally one more point about the choice of words. Sometimes some words or combinations are possible based on the grammar or word formation processes but again they are used very rarely. Look at the example below:

    “Getting the whole world … may make good business sense …”
    “وادار کردن تمام جهان … ممکن است از لحاظ تجاری با مفهوم باشد …”

    Here “make sense” is translated as “با مفهوم بودن”, a back translation can be “being meaningful”. “با مفهوم” is possible in Persian, “با” + noun→ having the noun. Here با+(meaning) مفهوم → having meaning/being meaningful. “بامفهوم” is used rarely in Persian (esp. in a context like what we have here, I’ll give more explanation in the following lines). The interesting point is that its opposite“بی مفهوم” is used widely and sounds very normal. One more point is that the occasions on which we use the word is not like this one. If we want to use this word, we normally use it in contexts like these: the book/ article/ song/ words … is/are “بامفهوم”.

    Here it might be better to say: “ممکن است دلیل تجاری خوبی داشته باشد” or “ممکن است توجیه تجاری خوبی داشته باشد” or “ممکن است از لحاظ تجاری دلیل خوبی داشته باشد”. The back translation is: “having good reason or explanation”.

    I don’t want to say it’s totally unconventional or wrong to use these words or combinations, and no one can make such a claim, but I want to say the frequent use of them in a rather short text might sound unconventional and reduce the fluency of our translation.

    My purpose of writing these lines is neither criticizing nor challenging anyone since no work is perfect. And I’m sure my comments are not perfect at all, there might be a lot of problems with them. Certainly the good translators have taken a forward step and I wanted to take another smaller one, but I don’t know how much successful I’ve been!

    Good luck!

  • vahid

    Dear Pardiss,

    Thank you for your insightful comments.

    I highly appreciate all the efforts you went through to write your comments in the best way possible.

    Although, as perceptively mentioned by Ingrid, this website is not originally intended to cover issues on translation, because your points have been reflected, I also need to mention a couple of points at this juncture.

    1. This Persian version was produced just to reflect the gist of Ingrid’s post. To be more precise, no theory of translation or no preoccupation with the art of translation underlined this version.

    2. As for the infinitive (not gerund!), it is crystal clear that Persian speakers usually add کردن to their nouns in order to make verbs although on some occasions they may remove کردن (for further information refer to Persian Grammar by M. J. Shariat, published by the UI Press).

    3.Regarding ,نشانه های عجیب خارج I have positioned myself as a person who is reflecting on what he or she has read in that newspaper and not as a person who is writing that original article. For this reason, I removed از.

    4.You have mentioned that جنسی should have been used instead of جنسیتی. But if you consider the difference between جنس and جنسیت, of course backed with an iota of philosophical background, you would immediately notice that it is the latter one which goes far above the common assumptions of “sex as a biological concept”t to “sex as both biological and dicoursal”. جنسیت in Persian includes the role of the society and context (especially language) in forming this kind of disadvantage for women. Put differently, I have used جنسیتی and not جنسی in order to avoid a priori assumptions. Such a priori assumptions should be avoided. And this is all what languagonthemove is all about. Piller writes elsewhere:

    “‘English’, ‘German’, ‘Japanese’, etc., are all a priori assumptions that have their origin in the same source as the frequent identification of ‘culture’ with ‘nation’ and/or ‘ethnicity’ – namely the stronghold that nationalism has on us. ‘To speak of the language, without further specification, as linguists [and writers on Intercultural Communication] do, is tacitly to accept the official definition of the official language of a political unit’ (Bourdieu 1991: 45). This trap – to base research in Intercultural Communication on a range of a priori assumptions about ‘culture’ and ‘language’ – can only be avoided by a commitment to studying language, culture and communication in context” (Piller, 2007, p. 217).
    (Original article: Language and Linguistic Compass 1/3 (2007): 208–226)

    I personally consider the rest of your suggestions to be of stylistic nature. So, I do not need to address them although I sincerely thank you for your kind comments.

    May God bless all,
    With best wishes,

  • Nava

    Dear Pardiss,

    Indeed your translation of the two sentences “. except that it’s unacceptable to express…..” & “Getting the whole world……” sound better than the original translation. It is good to see that the translation profession and/or English majors are so actively engaged in improving this field. However, I wonder why the same level of engagement is not invested in the translation of books. There are many translated books in Iran which are translated by non-professionals and strangers to even the basics of translation. Every time I go to Iran (I live abroad) one of my acquaintances (none of whom are professional translators or even English majors) tells me they’ve just translated a book from English into Persian and they’ve found a publisher who was willing to publish them. Translation seems to be a big business without any apparent quality control.

    Furthermore, my question here is: why is everyone concerned with the translation and not the subject itself. Did anyone get the message that there is no “standard language”?

    BTW, my own translation of this article would have sounded totally different as I prefer to use Persian instead of Arabic words where it is possible – and it does not sound like Shahnameh 😉

  • vahid

    Dear Nava,

    Thank you for your comment.

    You are right!
    No one is in a position to impose any standard language on others or just impressionistically think that one specific structure is rarely used or not used!
    A case in point is با مفهوم in Persian. If it is not used in Persian today, why are we provided with tens of page results when we google it?!
    Try this:
    http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&rlz=1R2SNNT_enIR383&q=%22%D8%A8%D8%A7+%D9%85%D9%81%D9%87%D9%88%D9%85+%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%22&aq=&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=1&cad=b

    best,

  • Saba

    Dear Mr. Parvaresh
    It was a good article and the translation has been done well also.

  • Ali Reza

    Dear Vahid,

    We do not need to be in any special position to judge the naturality of our language and we do not need to check any book on Persian grammar to be able to know whether something is conventional or not. The point is that there is sometimes a gap between possibility (what we have in grammar books) and conventionality. Our language is the actual use of it by people, not what is written in any grammar books, and perhaps it is one more thing that “Language on the Move” is about.

    As this discussion and your claim were very interesting to me I noticed closely the case you googled, there are some points:
    1. No one has claimed that بامفهوم “is not used in Persian today”, as you said, including dear Pardis. To be fair, she said:
    “I don’t want to say it’s totally unconventional or wrong to use these words or combinations, and no one can make such a claim, but I want to say the frequent use of them in a rather short text might sound unconventional and reduce the fluency of our translation.”

    2. There are only seven pages of results not tens, the rest is the repetition of the same results. Even within these seven pages there are some repetitive links. The latter of course may be the inherent part of usual searches. Please look again.

    3. Please take another look at the results of you search: a good number of it is devoted to the cases in which با is the preposition of the noun before it, not a part of مفهوم!!! Look at these phrases or sentences which are taken from your results:

    در تعارض با مفهوم است: (تعارض با) مفهوم
    Exactly like: (contrast with/to) meaning, here you can not say either “with/to” and “meaning” are together or the meaning of the combination is “meaningful”.

    The point is true about all the examples below, which are exactly taken from the search results. In some cases I have provided English equivalents for the words in question to be more tangible for those non-native speakers of Persian, if they like to follow this discussion:
    چالش حافظ بیشتر با مفهوم است: (چالش با) مفهوم
    کاریکلماتور نوعی بازی زبانی همراه با مفهوم است: (همراه با) مفهوم
    دلالت بارت که خود اسطوره است، نیز حاصل همراهی معنا-شکل با مفهوم است: (همراهی چیزی با) مفهوم
    پاسخ فرگه مبنی بر تفاوت ذاتی شی با مفهوم است: (تفاوت با) مفهوم
    قیاس مستقیم، مقایسه ی ساده ی دو موجود با مفهوم است: (مقایسه با) مفهوم
    comparison with
    و ﺁن مسئله ارتباط خود با مفهوم است: ( ارتباط با) مفهوم
    relation with
    شهود در تعارض با مفهوم است: (تعارض با) مفهوم
    بیان ویژگیهای اساسی مطابق با مفهوم است: (مطابق با) مفهوم
    according to
    بلکه ناﺁشنایی با مفهوم است: (ناﺁشنایی با) مفهوم

    و این متضاد با مفهوم است: (متضاد با) مفهوم
    این امر برابر سازی مصداق با مفهوم است: (برابر سازی چیزی با) مفهوم
    یعنی جذابیت برای من همتراز با مفهوم است: (همتراز با) مفهوم
    فصل دوازدهم در تخصیص عام با مفهوم است: (تخصیص عام با) مفهوم
    For the last one perhaps more context is needed:
    فصل دوازدهم در تخصیص عام با مفهوم است. یعنی همانطور که با دلیل لفظی عام را تخصیص می زنیم، ﺁیا می توانیم با مفهوم هم عام را تخصیص بزنیم.

    4. You are right that we have بامفهوم in the sense you have used and no one has denied it. But another closer look at the results of your search indicates that in this case again the dear commenter, Pardis I mean, is to a great extent right:
    “If we want to use this word, we normally use it in contexts like these: the book/ article/ song/ words … is/are بامفهوم”.

    Just have a look; in more than most (!) of the cases, of course where the word is used as an adjective not noun + preposition, بامفهوم is used for poems, songs, sentences, articles, words, terms, utterances and all the stuff like that. Don’t these all show that we RARELY use the word in contexts like that of the translation? And it was just one example!

    To end, I do emphasize on the fact that to judge the naturality of our language we do not need the knowledge of any theories of translation, any grammar books or any search results. However, to prove our claim, if quoted and treated fairly, we do need some of them.

    Thank you, Pardis, Vahid and Nava, for all your insightful comments.

    Wishes,

  • vahid

    Dear Alireza,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Of course in some of the examples provided by google با has been used as a preposition! It is crystal clear!
    The point is that I could not limit the rearch results/link.
    Besides, when people use words like “tens” or “thousands” or “millions” they use them, at times, figuratively not literally!
    My claim is that با مفهوم in the context I have used has not caused semantice deviation.
    Last but not least, I tried to remove the space betweenباand مفهوم. Try this one, this time! It includes more instances of با مفهوم as adjective!

    http://www.google.com.au/#q=%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%81%D9%87%D9%88%D9%85&hl=en&rlz=1R2SNNT_enIR383&ei=snElTMe4NobRcczPoLQC&start=0&sa=N&fp=9ae97ca88fbf34c0

    Aloha,

  • Zohreh

    Hi.

    Like Nava I’m still wondering why everyone is commenting on the translation! Isn’t it high time to give the translation a break?!!!

    We, unfortunately, sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees!

    Hope to see more Persian posts.

    Best wishes,
    z. gh