Translation Criticism on Google Translation of Proper Names in Tourism Texts

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  • Topic: Translation, Machine translation, Source text
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  • Published : March 10, 2011
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Translation criticism on Google translation of proper names in tourism texts

Rahele Eyvallah and Zohre Hadi
Fars Science and Research University
2011 &

The translation of proper names seems to be an effortless task. This study aims at determining the translation of proper names. First, the article presents the theoretical consideration that deals with different aspects of proper names translation in tourism texts and the issue of their translation. Second, the translation strategies provided by the translation theorist, Vermes (2003) used for this research are explained. Then the discussion proceeds to the quantitative analysis of the translated proper names. The research has been carried out on tourist brochures translated from Persian into English by Google translate. After analyzing the strategies of transference, translation, substitution and modification, the strategy of transference has proved to be the most frequent one in all proper names translation which were applied in this study.

Key words: proper name, translation procedures, transference, translation, substitution, modification

The translation of proper names is one of the most difficult areas any translator usually faces. Simply, proper names are not like other words translation of which can be easily found in dictionaries. Most of us may simply think that proper names are usually not translatable. The process of translating proper names sometimes turns out to be problematic. Imagine the names خشایار شاه from tourism text being translated as Xerus, lacking the correct Persian pronunciation and the negative and positive cultural connotation of these names in the Persian culture. Translation will not be able to transfer the exact or at least approximately exact local color and nationality of source text into target text. However after we compare the translations with the source text, we can observe that translators do various sorts of things with proper names in order to decrease these problems (Jaleniaukiene & Cicelyte 2009). Thus the main aim of the present article is to analyze the strategies which are applied for the translation of proper names in tourist brochures. A variety of translation strategies have been proposed by different translation theorists: Peter Newmark, Jean-Paul Vinay and Jean Darbelnet, Christian Schaffner. All of them used different classification or even different terms to label their strategies but in fact, their procedures are similar. For this research Vermes’s (2003) translation strategies have been chosen by analyzing proper names in the translated tourist brochures. Therefore, the present study will focus on proper names in tourist brochures. It will aim at determining the procedures applied in Google translate and at how effectively it has managed to render the same cultural atmosphere and national sense of the source text.

Theoretical Preliminaries

- Proper Names
As Nord (2003) mentioned “Unlike generic nouns, proper names are mono-referential, but they are by no means mono-functional. Their main function is to identify an individual referent. In the world, proper names may be non-descriptive but they are obviously not non-informative: if we are familiar with the culture, a proper name can tell us whether the referent is male or female or their geographical origin or place”. Although many scholars provide their own definitions of proper names, this article refers to the definition given in the Oxford Concise English Dictionary 2001: a proper name is a name for an individual person, place or organization having an initial capital letter. According to Newmark (1988 as cited in Shabani 2008) categorization, proper names consist of people names, names of objects and geographical terms.

- Machine Translation
The translation of natural languages by machine, first dreamed of it in the 17th century, has become a reality in the late of...
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