Respec towards fellow translators

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Super Member
Joined: 23.06.2010
Pending moderation

I used to post translations and pretty much nothing else
recently though I have started checking the forums and the new translations made by my fellow translators: from the former I am quite surprise that the forums are very exciting from the latter I discover something:
I had a look at some of the translations and I notice that if it's true that some are excellent like the ones posted by citruswind others were not only weird but also that the translator was actually pouring his ideas into the translation (there's a great difference between "nobody knows my troubles but God" and "nobody knows my troubles with God" the people who come here looking for the translation to their favorite song do not know if what is written is correct so somehow I think we are failing to them if we translate something the way we would like it to be instead of the way it is.
I only speak English and Spanish ( and sign language but that doesn't count) but I'm pretty sure others have notice this too in other languages.

My question is: Is it right to point that out to the translator?
Should I write a coment on the coments of the lyrics or should I contact the translator personaly?
What if the translator is a senior translator or even worse a mediator?
Am I risking myself? Will I be flaged or should I expect any sort of retaliation?

I respect everybody who makes this wonderfull site possible but how much respect is too much?

Joined: 01.05.2009
theresnocertainty escreveu:

My question is: Is it right to point that out to the translator?


theresnocertainty escreveu:

Should I write a coment on the coments of the lyrics or should I contact the translator personaly?

Whatever you like, but comments would be useful to others. So I'd suggest writing a comment if there's nothing personal.

theresnocertainty escreveu:

What if the translator is a senior translator or even worse a mediator?

We all can make mistakes Wink smile

theresnocertainty escreveu:

Am I risking myself? Will I be flaged or should I expect any sort of retaliation?

Of course not if your comments are within the rules (do not contain insults, abuse, etc).

Btw, comments to regular translations outside the forum are very appreciated too.


A great deal of the time when it comes to translation errors, I think you're just seeing honest mistakes due to lack of fluency in one of the languages. It seems to me that the translators on here do their best not to distort the meaning of the song. Even people who are fluent in more than one language may slip up and write "with" instead of "but" (for example Wink smile ) - little errors like this do make a big difference in meaning, but I don't think the majority of them are intentional.

Pointing out errors to one another is a huge help on this website. I think a lot of us that are here are forever learning/studying our languages of choice, and we honestly do want to know what we're doing wrong. Some people get touchy (yep, sometimes I do), but as long as you are politely pointing out mistakes there is no reason to be afraid. It doesn't show a lack of respect. And there is certainly no real difference between the rankings, even mods - we are all just translators here.

Personally, I know I post translations with mistakes in them. I try to flag the lines or words I'm not sure of and say, "This might be wrong." It is not my intention to mislead the person looking for a translation, but I really feel like there is never enough help to go around. Before I started studying Estonian, I would go out looking for translations to Estonian songs, and could only rarely find them. I remember how elated I was to find a translation to this one song I really liked - but now that I've studied the language, I see how bad the translation was. However, I had a good understanding of the song from it at the time, so I appreciate that someone wrote it anyway, even with the errors.

Super Member
Joined: 23.06.2010

I am gratefull to both of you for taking some of your time to answer my doubts.
I think I was too respecful and I didn't adress the matter the way it should be. I know errors wil creep once in a while or just honest lack of knoledge of the language, I did too learn English through music and I think 30% of the English I know I learnt it thanks to people like all of you who post translations. But.... there's always a but ....
I was not refering to honest mistakes but actual changes in the translations , my example of but and with was feeble... the actual sentence was something like this:

"Hoy por ti manana por mi" which was translated as "I'm with you now and tomorrow I will be by myself" that's not lack of knowledge of the language, is actual cheating:
the sentence translate as : today for you tomorrow for me which is the equivalent of: you scrach my back and I scrach yours...I thought at fist that it was an honest mistake untill i countinue reading and notice all sort of weird things.

I checked some translations by this person and I noticed that somehow s/he twist the lyrics to make them sound sad when in fact they are not...maybe he doesn't know s/he may do it uncounsiously (people with depression does).... nontheless that's altering the lyrics so they will express what you feel and not what the artist meant to say.

I'm sorry maybe I sound like a jerk and it's not my intention to annoy people but somebody had to say it. I'm deeply sorry.

Retired Moderator & Squirrel chasing nuts
Joined: 28.02.2009

Well I guess this is an interesting point.
I wouldn't use the terms "twisting" or "cheating" or rather "depression",
My opinion is that the manner a translator feels a text and gives an
interpretation to it can be easily contested by another.
I've seen some cases in Literature where poetry works and novels have
been, from time to time, offered re-translations.
To require a sentence or a verse to have unique meanings seems an
impossible point to achieve, mainly, when the topic is about song lyrics.
I guess, even professionals are aware of this.

I take myself as an example, I am not a professional, neither fluent in
Spanish and in English, so it is natural that my background from
Portuguese may interfere in my interpretations.
That's why lately I've been refusing to do translations from and to
languages apart my native.
Most of my translations on this website were done in a time I was really
a beginner in Spanish and English, so I am really aware they surely need
lots of improving.
But I guess anyone should not feel uneasy to submit their translations,
because surely when they do so, they are expecting some kind of feedback
so they can learn better. Or either, they're really sure they have done a good
work, when actually this is not true.

Neither people should feel uneasy to give their suggestions or
corrections. This is the porpose comments and private messages is about.
So don't be deeply sorry, because I can't see a reason a moderator would
get you in trouble if you give them a humble suggestion. Of course,
cordiality is fundamental.
Many people come here thinking this website is an academic translation
center. Unfortunatelly it isn't and flaws surely will be found, so the
help of experienced people or natives is of vital importance both to a translator and to readears.

You must know I had some Spanish translations done around here, and of
course, I wouldn't mind if you or anyone wants to discuss them.

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