Sunteți pe pagina 1din 97

AMALIA MR$ISCL

6285&(6RI(5525
LQ
75$16/$7,21











ooq



Tehnoredactare computerizat: Amalia Mrsescu
Coperta: Mdlina Ristoiu
Revizie final: Lect. univ. dr. Amalia Mrsescu
Refereni de specialitate:
ProI. univ. dr. Procopie Clonea
ConI. univ. dr. Elena Ghi
Bun de tipar: 15. 04. 2009


Descrierea CIP a Bibliotecii Naionale a Romniei

MRSESCU, AMALIA
Source of error in translation / Amalia
Mrsescu. - Pitesti : Editura Universitii din Pitesti,
2009
Bibliogr.
Index
ISBN 978-973-690-869-9

81'25




AMALIA MR$ISCL















6285&(6RI(5525
LQ
75$16/$7,21











ooq
Editura Universitii din Piteyti
2009




Editura Universitii din Piteyti

Str. Trgu din Vale, nr.1
0300, Pitesti, jud. Arges

Tel./Fax: 40 248 216448


Copyright 2009 - Editura Universitii din
Piteyti
Toate drepturile asupra acestei ediii sunt
rezervate Editurii Universitii din Pitesti. Nici o parte
din aceast carte nu poate Ii reprodus prin Ioto-
copiere sau prin orice alte mijloace, Ir permisiunea
scris a autorului.

Director Editur: Lect. univ. dr. Sorin Fianu
Redactor yef: ProI. univ. dr. Constantin ibrian





CONTENTS



INTRODUCTION..............................................................

7
CHAPTER I.
COOD 1RAASLA1IOAS AAD 1RAASLA1ORS............



11
CHAPTER II.
CEAERAL REMARKS OA 1HE 1RAASLA1IOA
MIS1AKES..........................................................................




22
CHAPTER III.
1RAASLA1IOA ERRORS IA PRAC1ICE.......................



37
x III.1. 1RAASLA1IOA ERRORS OA 1ELEJISIOA...


37
x III.2. ERRORS IA 1HE PRIA1ED
1RAASLA1IOAS...........................................................



41
x III.3. 1RAASLA1IOA ERRORS IA S1UDEA1S'
PAPERS.........................................................................



50
CONCLUSIONS................................................................



92
BIBLIOGRAPHY..............................................................


96

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
7
INTRODUCTION

The Iirst time I realised that to translate means not
only to Iind the proper equivalents oI the words in a source
language text, but also to Iind ways Ior the result oI this
operation to sound naturally in the target language, was not
at the practical courses in translation, but when I tried to
translate a book myselI. It was then that I understood how
diIIicult it is to Iollow as closely as possible the source
language text, but at the same time to respect and observe
the rules oI the target language. The most diIIicult task Ior
me as a translator was and still is not to let myselI be too
much inIluenced by the original. But there are also other
diIIiculties.
That is why errors appear in all kinds oI translations.
We can Iind them in our students` papers, in various
brochures, on television, on the labels oI certain products or
on their packages. Sometimes we may Ieel that there is
something wrong with our own translations or we may
object to the variants oI the well-known translators. It is
important to identiIy the possible sources oI errors so that
we pay more attention to those particular areas that raise
special problems. It may be true that we learn Irom









AMALIA MRSESCU
8
mistakes and progress is achieved through error and
correction, but it is also true that it is easier to prevent than
to cure, as there are people who would never learn.
The importance oI learning by becoming aware oI
the mistakes one can make is proven by the Iact that many
books on mistakes in English have been published. I will
give only two examples: L. G. Alexander`s Right Wora,
Wrong Wora, and T. J. Fitikides`s Common Mistakes in
English (both appeared at Longman Publishing House in
1994). Both contain a reIerence section and exercises. The
Iormer is concerned with the diIIerence between words that
are usually conIused by learners, e.g. fell and felt, late and
lately, assurance and insurance, and it gives examples and
explanations. The latter deals with misused Iorms
(prepositions, tenses, etc.), incorrect omissions,
unnecessary words (prepositions, articles, etc.), misplaced
words, conIused words. It gives examples oI typical errors
and oIIers a correct version and explanation that would
help one avoid making the respective mistakes.
It is diIIicult to make a clear-cut distinction between
translation mistakes, and grammatical and other types oI
mistakes. A. Bantas and E. Croitoru systematize the
possible sources oI errors as Iollows:

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
9
'1. The meaning oI the word:
- meaning at word level;
- meaning at a superior level;
- meaning in context;
- semantic relations.
2. The use oI the word:
- phrases, idioms;
- collocations;
- context, register, discourse.
3. The grammar oI the word:
- nouns: the number, the plural, the agreement, the
determiners;
- adjectives: the Iormation oI the adjectives, the degrees oI
comparison, constructions with the comparative and the
superlative, the order oI adjectives;
- pronouns;
- adverbs: the degrees oI comparison, the position oI the
adverbs;
- verbs: complementation, use and meanings oI tenses,
mood and modality, voice, transitivity, phrasal verbs,
combinations oI verbs;
- prepositions: classiIications, combinations oI verbs and
prepositions;









AMALIA MRSESCU
10
- conjunctions;
- syntactic relations: at the level oI the simple, compound
and complex sentence;
- word order;
- indirect speech. (1998:96, my translation)
In what Iollows, I shall make some remarks on
translation and the mistakes that generally may appear in a
translation, and then I shall analyse the mistakes that I have
encountered in published translations, on television, and in
my students` papers.












6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
11
CHAPTER I
GOOD TRANSLATIONS AND
TRANSLATORS

'Translation is a valuable means oI promoting
understanding between individuals, groups, organizations
and nations as well as a medium oI cultural transmission
and inIormation and technology transIer. In the age oI
translation`, it now has a certain vogue. It has its own
Iascination, is a source oI personal pleasure, is continually
a puzzle and a mystery, and is a source oI access to new
words and Iacts. (Newmark 1993: 64)
In an interview given to Pia Brnzeu and published
by her in Zile i semne (1994: 88-92), Susan Bassnett stated
that, indeed, the activity oI translating is central to the
cultural development. All great movements in philosophy,
literature and art appeared as a consequence oI intensive
translations. Culture was and is imported through
translations.
For Bassnett, translation is a particularly complex
intellectual activity that requires oI one not only to be
Iluent in two or more languages, but also to have a lot oI
extralinguistic knowledge. Taking a dictionary and









AMALIA MRSESCU
12
rendering the lexical correspondences is not enough. In
order to be a good translator you do not need to know only
the vocabulary and grammar oI the languages, but also the
cultures that the respective languages express. The Iirst task
oI the translator is to understand the source language text
correctly. That is why s/he has to know the culture and
civilisation oI the source language. Access to this
knowledge is gained through the integration oI the cultural
notions in the teaching oI translation. Those who intend to
become translators do not need only lectures in literature
and civilisation, but also to improve their knowledge and
develop their skills by translating texts belonging to
diIIerent domains: science, technology, advertising,
literature, primitive cultures. Because, as Alan DuII put it,
'The texts oIIered Ior translation in class are not always
those oIIered in the market-place. What the market oIIers is
not (usually) the essays oI Hazlitt, Ruskin, or Lamb, but
cartoons, cheap thrillers, instructions Ior washing
machines, abstracts Ior scientiIic articles, business letters,
interviews, documentary Iilms, conIerence programmes,
and introductions to catalogues. Much oI this material will
contain a mixture oI spoken and written language. In

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
13
addition, it may also be badly worded, badly presented, and
needed in a hurry. (1990: 124)
It is essential that the translation process should not
be only a simple transcoding, and that the text should not
be isolated Irom its extralinguistic context, because, while
the linguistic problems can be transcended, the socio-
cultural aspects can prevent or disturb the process oI
translating. To understand a text, the translator should also
master the extralinguistic inIormation.
But apart Irom the lexical, grammatical, literary or
any other kind oI knowledge necessary Ior one to translate
well, there is also what Bassnett calls 'the unconscious
element. 'To really master a language, you have to Ieel it
with your entire body, to experience it the way you
experience sleep, hunger and love. The language acquired
in childhood does not come Irom your mind, but Irom
somewhere in your centre`. That is why it is not the
speaker that dominates the language, but the language that
dominates the speaker. (Brnzeu 1994: 90, my
translation).
In Susan Bassnett`s opinion, the key concepts oI
translation are the concept oI 'equivalence and that oI
'IaithIulness. The equivalence is meant as a Iunctional









AMALIA MRSESCU
14
equivalence, the similarity acceptable only in the respective
context. When translating, you have to Iollow the original,
but not too closely because you might get to terrible
Iormulations.
Peter Newmark also expresses his opinion on how
closely one should translate a text. 'The more important the
language oI a text, the more closely it should be translated.
(.) The less important the language oI a text or any unity
oI text at any rank, the less closely that too need to be
translated, and thereIore it may be replaced by the
appropriate normal social language. (.) Or again, the less
important the nuances oI meaning oI the text, the more
important the message to be communicated, the more
justiIication Ior (smoother) undertranslation, which
simpliIies or clariIies (.) the translation.
But (.) the better written a unit oI the text, the
more closely it too should be translated, whatever its
degree oI importance, provided there is identity oI purpose
between author and translator, as well as a similar type oI
readership. II the details and nuances are clearly expressed,
they should be translated closely, even though they could
just as well be paraphrased. There seems no good reason

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
15
not to reproduce the truth, even when the truth is not
particularly important. (1993: 1-2)
It has been stated that the invariant element that
must be preserved by any translation is the inIormation,
while the communicative and associative elements should
be transIerred only iI possible. Newmark does not agree
with this. According to him, the invariant and variant
elements will depend entirely on the intention oI the text.
The best deIinition oI translation is, in his opinion,
Nida`s. Nida considers the translation to be the
reproduction oI the closest natural equivalent oI the source
language message. According to Newmark, 'this type oI
translation is distinguished by its elegance and concision,
its attention to a natural word order, to the deployment oI
clauses and phrases more Irequently used than their Iormal
equivalents in the source language, to the occasional
unobtrusive distribution oI the meaning oI important
'untranslatable words (.); a good translation is deIt, neat,
closely shadowing its original. (1993: 34)
There is also a creative element in translation, that
comes to play when the other procedures Iail and when
translation becomes 'impossible. 'In inIormative texts the
creative element is limited to Iusing the Iacts with an









AMALIA MRSESCU
16
appropriately elegant and economical style. (.) In
persuasive texts, creativity oIten lies in converting source
language cultural components (Iorms oI address, evaluative
expressions, hypocorisms) neatly into their cultural
equivalents. (Newmark 1993: 7-8). But the need Ior
creativity is Ielt deeply especially in the expressive texts
(poetry, stories), in the Iollowing cases listed by Newmark
(1993: 8):
- cultural words that have certain connotations and are
speciIic to one community;
- transcultural words that have similar reIerents, but
diIIerent connotations;
- concept words that have diIIerent connotations;
- peculiar syntactic structures;
- cultural metaphors, idioms, proverbs, puns, neologisms;
- signiIicant phonaesthetic eIIects;
- quality words with no one-to-one equivalents (e.g.
aownright).
However, everything can and has to be more or less
rendered Irom one language into another. So the types oI
words stated above can also be rendered by an
overtranslation, a synonym, a generic term or a paraphrase.

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
17
Newmark distinguishes three types oI translation
texts (cI. Havranek 1964): scientiIic-technological,
institutional-cultural and literary texts, each presenting its
own diIIiculties Ior the translator. 'The particular
diIIiculties oI sci-tech translators lie in the SL neologisms;
the lack oI an appropriate technical term in the TL, Iorcing
the translator to use a descriptive term in its place; the
labyrinth oI semi-synonymous technical terms. (.) The
particular diIIiculty oI institutional-cultural texts lies in
relating the various terms that have no linguistic and/or
reIerential equivalents in the TL culture to the readership
and the setting oI the TL text (.). Literary translation has
the greatest number oI peculiar diIIiculties, since the SL
itselI is oI cardinal importance and is an integral aspect oI
meaning. (1993: 37). However, all kinds oI texts and
translations are equally important.
Newmark also reIers to the 'low` standard oI
translation (1993: 21), which he attributes to
translationese in commercial texts, literal translation in
technical texts and inaccurate translation in literary texts.
In his opinion, 'translationese is bad not because it
misrepresents the Iacts it usually gets them right; not
because it exhibits incorrect` grammar on the contrary,









AMALIA MRSESCU
18
its grammar is oIten copybook (.); but because in its
reproduction oI source language idioms and syntax,
translationese is either absurd or heavy and thereIore Iails
to transmit the tone and mood and Ieeling oI the original
its style diverts the reader Irom its message. (1993: 21-22)
Translationese also appears in technical texts,
mostly because the 'Ioreign translators do not have a good
command oI the target language and the 'native
translators are inexperienced and unaware that interIerence
may go very Iar, Irom words to phrases and clauses.
We have to make a distinction between
translationese and interIerence. In a wide deIinition,
interIerence includes 'all cases where the language oI the
translation is maniIestedly aIIected whether appropriately
or not by the language oI the original, while translationese
is 'the area oI interIerence where a literal translation oI a
stretch oI the source language text (a) plainly IalsiIies (or
ambiguates) its meaning, or (b) violates usage Ior no
apparent reason. (Newmark 1983: 78). InterIerence
appears in any translation, while translationese is an error
caused by ignorance and carelessness.
The appropriacy oI interIerence depends partly on
the type oI text to be translated. For example, the

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
19
translation oI a literary work is enriched by idiolectal and
cultural interIerence. InterIerence can be positive, Ior
example 'when idioms (or words that have developed a
special sense) that are not culture-speciIic are literally
translated, and become comments on universal human
behaviour (Newmark 1993: 79), or in the case oI the
language oI international organizations when it 'improves
communication by standardising terms Ior constitutions
and procedures. (Newmark 1993: 80).
Lexical interIerence is considered by Newmark
more dangerous than grammatical interIerence because it
may distort the meaning oI a sentence. Its most
characteristic Iorm is the Ialse Iriend. 'Another type oI
interIerence mistake is when a word is translated by its
usual meaning (.) instead oI by an appropriate other
meaning. (Newmark 1993: 83). InterIerence may also
appear in the case oI metaphors, word order, or cultural
words that are transIerred Irom the source language in the
target language. There is also third language interIerence,
'usually due to the translator`s knowledge oI another
language exceeding his/her knowledge oI the source
language, which is 'normally translationese. (Newmark
1993: 86). Countries have beneIited Irom interIerence









AMALIA MRSESCU
20
(which has its virtues and its vices) and have suIIered Irom
translationese.
Last but not least, we cannot discuss the translation
process without mentioning the person that makes it
possible, i.e. the translator. 'Translators will always be
needed. Without them, there would be no summit talks, no
glasnost or perestroika, no Cannes Film Festival, no Nobel
prizes, no advances in medicine, science, or engineering,
no international law, no Olympic Games, no Hamlet, no
War ana Peace ., stated Alan DuII (1990: 7). Newmark
also reIers to the important role played by translators.
According to him, they 'must be seen as key Iigures in
promoting better understanding among peoples and nations.
They must not be regarded as anonymous. They are
responsible Ior all deIinitive, thereIore written, bilingual
and interlingual communications. They have the authority
to mediate between parties, and they have their own
responsibility to moral as well as Iactual truth. (1993: 41)
But in order to be able to do such things, the
translators need certain general and speciIic qualities and
skills, also stated by Newmark. The general qualities
include 'uncommon ability in writing their own language,
shrewdness, perceptiveness (1993: 40), but also '(a)

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
21
common sense, or the ability to detect and expose
nonsense; (b) discrimination in weighing one option against
another; (c) speed in working against a deadline; (d) the
ability to think oI several things at the same time; (e)
meticulousness, the attention to details (.); (I) lateral and
vertical thinking (the ability to let one`s mind play around a
problem). (1993: 49-50). The speciIic skills include 'Iirst,
sensitivity to language; secondly, the ability to write neatly,
plainly, nicely (.) in a variety oI registers in the target
language as well as having a good knowledge oI its cultural
background; thirdly, the ability to research oIten
temporarily the topic oI the texts being translated, and to
master one specialism; lastly, a good reading knowledge oI
two or more Ioreign languages with their cultural
backgrounds. (1993: 49)

















AMALIA MRSESCU
22
CHAPTER II
GENERAL REMARKS ON THE
TRANSLATION MISTAKES

Nowadays translation is ignored as a valid activity
Ior language teaching and is used almost only Ior testing.
This has happened because in most schools it became Irom
a challenging discipline a routine exercise.
Translation has not been much used because it was
considered:
1. unsuitable Ior classroom work, time-consuming and
boring;
2. a non-communicative activity, involving only reading
and writing;
3. to require the use oI the mother tongue, which is not
desirable.
Still, we should use it in the classroom because:
1. it helps us understand the inIluence oI one language on
the other, correct errors oI habit and explore the potential oI
languages;
2. it is necessary and natural; it is used all the time outside
the classroom;

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
23
3. it is suited Ior practicing communication both Irom and
into the Ioreign language;
4. it uses authentic materials, so it brings the learner in
touch with the whole language, and not just those parts
isolated by the textbooks;
5. it invites speculation and discussion; it can be done in
groups; the texts can serve as material both Ior reading and
Ior discussion;
6. it develops accuracy, clarity and Ilexibility;
7. by it, the students can see the link between language
(grammar) and usage.
So, in the didactic process, translation is used either
as an acquisition method, revealing the mechanism
involved in the production oI correct sentences and in their
combination in larger units (and there is even a 'grammar-
translation method, making students learn by translating
Irom one language into the other), or as a means oI testing
the students` competence. Thus, translation can also be
viewed as the purpose oI teaching. At the end oI a course or
oI a stage oI a course, the students should be able to
understand various texts, which means that they should be
able to make at least a mental word-Ior-word translation oI
them. But the distance Irom the original text to a good









AMALIA MRSESCU
24
translated version oI it (whether we speak oI translations
Irom the Ioreign language into our mother tongue or vice
versa) is huge and Iull oI dangers.
Good translators need lexical, grammatical,
semantic, cultural, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic
knowledge (cI. Bantas and Croitoru 1998:101). The
activity oI translating is not only a linguistic operation, but
a psychological activity that Iunctionally brings into
contact two linguistic levels, two syntactic and lexical
systems. Because oI that, it requires syntactic, lexical,
morphological and stylistic knowledge oI both the source
language and the target language, as well as the translator`s
capacity to understand, explain and interpret a text.
At word level various problems may appear in
translation.
First, establishing the meaning oI a certain word.
The words that have diIIerent Iorms and diIIerent meanings
in the two languages do not generate problems because
they are looked up in dictionaries. This way, someone who
does not know the meaning oI savoy can Iind out that it is
'a kind oI cabbage with crinkled leaves and a compact
head, i.e. var: creeasc/nemeasc (Levichi 1975:28).
But the words that have similar Iorms and diIIerent

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
25
meanings in two or more languages (the so-called Ialse
Iriends) are Irequently a source oI errors Ior the
inexperienced translator, who may Iorget that the English
antic means caraghios, grotesc, comic, bi:ar and not *antic
or that genial means plcut, favorabil, amabil, vesel,
simpatic, innscut, and not *genial. I have recently heard
on television a sentence like Lets resume our aiscussion
translated by *S facem un re:umat al aiscuiei noastre,
instead oI S relum aiscuia. False Iriends also exist
within one language, being words belonging to certain
language varieties (like British English or American
English) or to certain Iunctional styles (slang, colloquial
English, etc.) For example, in British English pie is
plcint, pateu (mai ales cu carne), while in American
English pie is tort. In Standard English college is colegiu,
facultate, universitate, institut, while in the British slang,
college is rcoare, parnaie (see Levichi 1975:33).
We should also pay attention to words that, in time,
changed their meaning, like the noun surgeon, that used to
mean aoctor and was used with this meaning in J. SwiIt`s
Gullivers Travels, and now means chirurg.
The words with diIIerent Iorms, but identical or
similar meanings also raise problems because oI the Iact









AMALIA MRSESCU
26
that absolute synonyms do not exist. So, the beginner
translator may choose wrongly a word in a synonymic
series, using, Ior example, high instead oI tall to translate
oameni inali or copaci inali. Some dictionaries contribute
to this because they make no distinction between one
synonym and the other.
We should also notice and respect the degree oI
semantic intensity oI a word in a synonymic series. For
example, to astonish is stronger than to surprise, but less
strong than to astouna, so the series can be rendered by a
surprinae (to surprise), a uimi (to astonish) and a ului (to
astouna).
Another problem is to choose the proper meaning
Irom the various meanings oI a word. In order to be able to
do this, the translator should be Iamiliar both with the
meanings oI words and with the way(s) in which they are
used together with other words in diIIerent contexts. The
context is 'the what, where and to whom oI our
communication what we are writing or speaking about
(subject matter), where the language occurs (place or
publication), and to whom it is addressed. All three are
relevant in translation. (DuII 1990:20). The meaning in
context is very important Ior translations because the

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
27
context may change, extend or narrow the meaning oI a
word. Depending on the context, to kick the bucket may be
translated as a lovi gleata or a muri, a aa ortul popii.
There is also the tendency to take into account only
the most known and the most Irequent meaning oI a word,
disregarding the Iact that it might have been used with a
totally diIIerent meaning. I gave my students to translate a
text beginning with They haa been engagea for six months
and very many oI them translated it as Erau logoaii ae
ase luni, although it was illogical iI you read the whole
text and it should have been translated as Fuseser angafai
ae ase luni.
Connotations are very important in translations and
may also be a source oI errors. Sometimes they are the
same in the two languages and this does not cause
problems. Both in English and in Romanian a noun like
rose/ tranaafir has positive connotations (beauty, youth,
perIume) and a noun like hyena/ hien has negative
connotations (ugliness, rapacity). But in other cases the
connotations do not coincide and we have to be careIul
when translating. For example, as fat as a partriage should
be translated as gras ca o aropie because in Romanian the
partridge (potrnichea) is associated with Ilight, while









AMALIA MRSESCU
28
dropia (the bustard) is associated with stoutness. Similarly,
as rea as a rose should be translated rumen ca buforul, not
*ca tranaafirul, as blina as a bat orb ca noaptea, not *ca
liliacul, and as tall as a steeple - inalt cat prfina, not *cat
clopotnia. Ass in its Iigurative meaning should be
translated as ntang, iaiot, prost, possibly bou, while the
Romanian mgar should be rendered in English by swine
or bugger (cI. Levichi 1975:179-180).
The meaning oI a compound word or oI an idiom is
also diIIicult to establish, especially iI the meaning oI the
syntagm is not the sum oI the meanings oI its components,
as in the case oI man-of-war, which means vas ae r:boi,
not *om al r:boiului, blackbira, which means mierl and
not *pasre neagr, crows feet, i.e. laba gatii, not
*picioarele ciorii, or in the case oI the idioms once in a
blue moon (foarte rar, not *oaat intr-o lun albastr), to
be wet behina the ears (a avea ca la gur, not *a fi ua
aup urechi), tell that to the marines (spune-i-o lu mutu,
not *spune asta solaailor ain infanteria marin).
Collocations may also be a source oI mistakes,
especially iI they are not the same in English and in
Romanian. It is the case oI such collocations as the ghost of

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
29
a smile (:ambet vag), a hunger for aaventure (sete ae
aventur), a nest of alleys (labirint ae straue).
The use oI a word is also determined by style and
register, i.e. words appear in certain social and thematic
contexts. We cannot translate la reveaere by ta-ta or
farewell because, while the Romanian syntagm is
stylistically neutral, ta-ta is Iamiliar and farewell poetical.
On the other hand, we cannot translate El era furios by He
was pissea off in a Iormal context, because the English
variant is characteristic to inIormal speech. Similarly, we
should preserve the Iunctional style to which a text belongs
and not use, Ior instance, administrative Iormulas when
translating a literary text.
The grammar causes problems especially in the case
oI the translations Irom the mother tongue into the Ioreign
language because we use our Iirst language as a system oI
reIerence, tending to transIer rules, meanings etc. Irom it to
the second language. This does not generate errors when
the rules oI the two languages coincide, but it is a source oI
negative transIers and interIerences when the rules oI the
two languages are diIIerent.
Regarding the nouns, errors appear mostly in the
case oI the uncountable ones because they do not always









AMALIA MRSESCU
30
coincide with the uncountable nouns in Romanian. Many
times we have Iound Iorms like *informations (Ior
informaii), *homeworks (Ior teme) or *a very baa news
(Ior o veste foarte proast). Consequently, such words are
associated with the wrong determiners and with the wrong
Iorm oI the verb. So a sentence like Poliia e pe urmele
hoului. becomes *The police is on the thiefs tracks.
(instead oI The police are on the thiefs tracks.), not only
under the inIluence oI the Romanian language, but also
under the inIluence oI English nouns like family, which
make the agreement with the verb either in the singular or
in the plural.
The degrees oI comparison are a source oI errors
(maybe less Irequent) because in Romanian there is only
one way oI Iorming the comparative oI superiority and the
relative superlative and in English there are two, which
may be mistakenly used one instead oI the other. In
addition to that, there is the irregular comparison,
conIusing especially in the case oI the adjective ola, with
its two sets oI Iorms: olaer, the olaest and elaer, the elaest,
the latter to be used only attributively and with reIerence to
the same Iamily. However, we may Irequently read a
sentence like *My brother is elaer than me Ior Fratele meu

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
31
e mai mare aecat mine. Another diIIiculty Ior a Ioreign
learner is the use oI the comparative instead oI the
superlative when two objects are compared.
In the case oI the pronouns, we can notice the
mistakes that appear in the use oI the relatives who and
which, the indeIinite pronouns little and few and the
negative pronouns none and neither, that Irequently appear
one instead oI the other. I quote Irom the paper oI a Iourth
year student: 'Romanian language realizes the negations
using the adverb no placed in Iront oI the verb and negative
pronouns which are less. (instead oI fewer; and it would
be very good iI this were the only mistake in the sentence).
Another problem is personiIication, because some nouns
have a diIIerent gender in English than in Romanian. Thus,
a noun like earth is Ieminine in English and should be
replaced by the pronoun she, while nouns like love, fury,
aespair, aeath are masculine and should be replaced by he.
The existence oI the pronoun it may be Iorgotten
sometimes, maybe more Irequently in oral translations,
when an inanimate object may be reIerred to as he or she
(under the inIluence oI the Romanian language). Special
attention should be given to the pronoun you, that may be









AMALIA MRSESCU
32
translated as tu, aumneata, aumneavoastr, matale, etc.,
depending on the situational context in which it appears.
The use oI the tenses oI the verb is a perpetual
source oI errors, especially because oI the impossibility to
establish a one-to-one correspondence between an English
and a Romanian tense. Most Irequently we make
conIusions between Present Simple and Present PerIect,
Past Tense and Present PerIect, Past Tense and Past
PerIect, the tenses expressing the Iuture, and the simple and
the continuous tense Iorms. The sequence oI tenses is also
Iorgotten sometimes and a present tense is used in a direct
object clause aIter a past tense in the main clause, a Iuture
tense is used in a temporal clause or a conditional in a
conditional clause. So, sentences like: i-am telefonat toat
:iua., Tocmai m-am intors acas., Mi-a spus ce nefericit
este., Ieri Aariana mi-a spus c lucrea: ca profesoar ae
trei ani. Dar eu crea c este profesoar ae cina a terminat
facultatea. or Jom veni cina ne va spune. were translated
as: *I ring you up all aay. (instead oI I have rung /I have
been ringing you up all aay.), *I fust came back home.
(instead oI I have fust come back home.), *She tola me how
unhappy she is. (instead oI She tola me how unhappy she
was.), *Yesteraay, Aariana tola me that she has been

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
33
working as a teacher for three years. But I think she has
been a teacher since she haa graauatea. (instead oI
Yesteraay, Aariana tola me that she haa been working as a
teacher for three years. But I think she has been a teacher
since she graauatea.) and *We shall come when he will tell
us. (instead oI We shall come when he tells us.).
The modal verbs constitute a problematic area even
in the case oI the translations Irom English into Romanian.
Levichi suggests that we should not use only the
translations given to them in dictionaries and gives as a
good example Petre Comarnescu`s translation oI The
Devils Disciple by G. B. Shaw, where She may hear you.
was translated as Je:i s nu te aua., Let her hear me.-
N-are aecat., I must bear my cross as best as I may. Se
caae s-mi port crucea in cel mai vreanic chip., You cant
expect me to ao all the heavy work. Nu-i inchipui c eu
am s fac tot ce e mai greu in cas. (cI. Levichi 1975:158).
Like the verbs, the prepositions are also an
inexhaustible source oI errors. The most Irequent are the
Iollowing:
- cu trenul, etc. translated as *with the train instead oI by
train;
- aup ceasul meu by my watch, not *after my watch;









AMALIA MRSESCU
34
- a intra in cas to enter the house, not *in the house;
- pe straa in the street, not *on the street;
- pe funaalul against the backgrouna of , not *on the
backgrouna of;
- a suferi ae to suffer from, not *to suffer of;
- tipic pentru typical of, not *typical for.
At the syntactic level, word order may suIIer in a
translation under the inIluence oI the original text. Most
problems appear in the translations Irom Romanian into
English because in Romanian word order is Iree, while in
English we use Iixed patterns. Sentences requiring
inversion are a problematic area and so are the sentences
containing various adverbials or several adjectives
modiIying the same noun. Thus, a sentence like Abia atunci
am reali:at c-mi lipseau banii. is wrongly translated as
*Only then I realisea that my money was missing., instead
oI Only then aia I realise that my money was missing., and
a sentence oI the type Imi place aceast msu
franu:easc, rotuna, veche, ae lemn. is translated in any
way but the correct one (I like this little ola rouna French
wooaen table.). On the other hand, a Romanian sentence
reproducing exactly the word order oI its English
equivalent may also sound wrong.

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
35
Here we should also mention the translation at a
micro-textual level. This happens when the text is divided
into small units and each oI these units is translated
independently oI the whole. When the translator cannot
understand very well the source language text or its topic,
s/he uses linguistic equivalents that do not render the ideas
oI the original text, but the meanings oI its words taken
separately. What s/he should seek to Iind is not the
linguistic equivalents oI the lexical units or phrases, but the
most appropriate way oI rendering the meaning oI the
original text.
The translator`s capacity oI understanding a text
depends on his/her level oI knowing the source language,
the topic and the situational context. That is why it is
diIIicult to translate Iragments oI texts without having read
the work to which they belong. Some mistakes may appear
because we do not know the larger context, what comes
beIore and aIter the text we have to translate.
Another problem the students have to Iace arises
Irom the Iact that they have been used to do word-Ior-word
translations, because at various tests they were required to
prove that they knew the meanings oI the words in the text.
Now, they have to give up this habit and to produce Iree









AMALIA MRSESCU
36
translations, that should be read as pieces oI literature not
only in the source language, but also in the target language.
It is diIIicult Ior them to do so, but still, some understand
that they are allowed and even required to alter the text in
order to obtain a translation that conIorms to the norms oI
the target language, and they produce very good
translations.















6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
37
CHAPTER III
TRANSLATION ERRORS IN PRACTICE

III. 1. TRANSLATION ERRORS ON TELEVISION
The Iirst time I was conscious oI a translation
mistake on television was some years ago while I was
watching a Iilm whose protagonists were trying to get rid
oI a corpse. The corpse was in the boot oI a car. At one
point one oI them said something like Be careful with the
rear wheels and the translation was *Fii atent la roile
aaevrate. The translator obviously was not Iamiliar with
the word rear and had mistaken rear Ior real, which are
more or less similar in sound, especially in a sentence.
However, this mistake could have been avoided iI s/he had
wondered why the 'real wheels when the car has no Ialse
wheels.
Then I realised that there are many mistakes in the
translations made Ior television, and they appear, I think,
especially because it is diIIicult Ior the respective
translators to look up in dictionaries the words they do not
know, as they may not know how to spell them, or they do
not understand them correctly. Or they work in a hurry and
rely too much on their knowledge. This is the cause oI the
mistake Irom the Iollowing example: Forensics will look at









AMALIA MRSESCU
38
these shoes., translated as *Forensics se va uita la aceti
pantofi. Forensics is wrongly considered to be a proper
name, instead oI a common noun, meaning criminaliti.
The conIusion between two similarly sounding
words or phrases is the cause oI the mistakes in the
Iollowing examples: I cant live off the campus., translated
as *Nu pot s locuiesc in campus, instead oI Nu pot s
locuiesc in afara campusului, and I neea time to break it to
Eric, translated as *Am nevoie ae timp s m aespart ae
Eric, instead oI Am nevoie ae timp pentru a-i spune/ aa
vestea lui Eric. In the Iirst example the translator made a
conIusion between to live off and to live in (or perhaps
between live and leave) and in the second case between to
break it to someboay and to break up with someboay.
Idioms and phrasal verbs are oIten translated
wrongly, Ior example I cant stay away from her. *Nu
trebuie s m apropii ae ea, instead oI Nu pot sta aeparte
ae ea. (here, there is also a mistake in the translation oI the
modal verb), looking after that lovely family of yours
*cutanau-i familia, instead oI avana grif ae familie, five
miles as the crow flies *cinci minute aup cum :boar
cioara, instead oI in linie areapt, or I think she will throw

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
39
in the towel *Crea c o s arunce prosopul, instead oI
Crea c o s se aea btut.
The conIusion between the meanings oI a
polysemantic word is the cause oI the mistake in the
translation oI stuffea moose heaa as *cap ae elan impiat,
instead oI cap ae elan umplut. Stuffea can be translated as
both impiat and umplut, but taking into account that the
syntagm appeared in a conversation at a dinner table, where
somebody was asked Ior a second helping oI stuffea moose
heaa, the correct translation would be with umplut.
I think the translator did not hear correctly the last
word oI the sentence perhaps we can fina out more from a
pharmacy, when s/he translated it as *poate vom afla mai
mult ae la fermieri. Although the thing that they had to Iind
out more about was a poison, and a pharmacy is more
likely to have inIormation about that than the Iarmers.
In the next example, the mistake was caused by the
conIusion in the meanings oI souna as a noun and as an
adjective or adverd. So Are you a souna sleeper? came to
be translated as *Jorbeti in somn?, instead oI Ai un somn
aaanc?.
In Her stomach is upset, translated as *Stomacul ei e
suprat, the translator took into account only the Iirst and









AMALIA MRSESCU
40
most common meaning oI upset, i.e. 'unhappy, worried,
disappointed, and ignored its second meaning, more
appropriate here because it reIers precisely to the stomach,
'disturbed and not working properly, i.e. aeranfat. So, a
more natural translation would have been E aeranfat la
stomac./ Are probleme cu stomacul.
In This is not a arill, translated as *Acesta nu e un
test, the translator is again not Iamiliar with the meaning oI
the word arill, which is an exercise, 'procedures to be
Iollowed in case oI emergency, and not a test. So, perhaps
a correct translation would have been Acesta nu e un
exerciiu.
There is another problem in the case oI the
translation *Tu ai :is c sufr ae lobotomie Ior You saia I
haa a lobotomy. The translator knew that lobotomy should
be translated as lobotomie, but s/he did not know what it is.
Because oI the context, s/he wrongly assumed it to be a
disease, when, in Iact, it is 'an operation involving the
removal oI part oI the brain, especially as a way oI treating
severe mental disorders. So the verb is translated
incorrectly. The translation should have been Tu ai :is c
am suferit o lobotomie, or, more naturally, Tu ai :is c
mi-au fcut o lobotomie.

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
41
Other mistakes are caused by hurry, as is the case oI
*Mi-ai v:ut periua ae aini? Ior Have you seen my
toothpaste?. The translator surely knew that toothpaste is
past ae aini, but, I think, the rush caused the conIusion,
as the toothbrush and the toothpaste are inseparable both in
reality and in our minds.

III. 2. ERRORS IN THE PRINTED TRANSLATIONS
As Ior the 'mistakes in the published translations I
will quote an example Irom Levichi (1975:168-169), taken
Irom Emily Bront`s Wuthering Heights, translated by
Henriette Yvonne Stahl (Biblioteca pentru toi, 1969). Here
is a Iragment oI the original:
'1801. I have just returned Irom a visit to my
landlord the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled
with. This is certainly a beautiIul country. In all England, I
do not believe that I could have Iixed on a situation so
completely removed Irom the stir oI society. A perIect
misanthropist`s Heaven: and Mr. HeathcliII and I are such
a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A
capital Iellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed
towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so
suspiciously under their brows as I rode up, and when his









AMALIA MRSESCU
42
Iingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still
Iurther in his waistcoat as I announced my name.
Mr. HeathcliII` I said.
A nod was the answer.
And here is the translation with Levichi`s
comments:
'1801. Adineauri m-am ntors din vizita Icut
posacului (it aoes not appear in the original) meu
proprietar si vecin, singura fptur (insteaa of
singuraticul/ solitarul meu vecin) care ar putea s m
mai tulbure aici! (the original expresses the certainty, not
the possibility, ana the certainty shoula have been
expressea by the Simple Future. care m va aeranfa,
care m va mai supra ae aici inainte; a tulbura is too
polysemantic in this context). Intr-aaevr (correct:Ir
inaoial, because certainly is not anaphoric), am poposit
(it aoes not appear in the original) ntr-un inut minunat!
(Like in some other instances, the translator uses
exclamation marks that ao not appear in the text). Desigur
(the moaality is aifferent from that of the original. Nu
crea) c n-as Ii putut alege, din toat Anglia, un loc mai la
adpost ae orice frmantare omeneasc (in the original.
from the stir of society ae freamtul societii omeneti).

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
43
Un desvrsit rai al mizantropilor; iar domnul HeathcliII si
cu mine suntem parc anume fcui s ne infruptm ain
acest inut a ae:olrii (far from the original, s ne
infruptm is improper). Strasnic brbat! Totui (aaaea), nu
crea c i-a inchipuit (aaaea) (.) cum mi s-a incl:it
inima ae simpatie pentru el (the Romanian language!)
cnd, apropiindu-m clare, am vzut c ochii lui negri se
intunec (illogical, in the original to witharaw a se
retrage, a se trage`) bnuitori sub sprncene si c la au:ul
glasului meu (aaaea) ii var (the subfect is not clear), cu o
hotrare acr (hotrarea nu poate fi acr, in the text,
fealous bnuitor, suspicios), degetele si mai adnc n
jiletc. (Not translatea. as I announcea my name or
translatea wrongly, above, as la au:ul glasului meu`. The
wora oraer in the final part of the sentence is wrong).
- Domnul HeathcliII? l-am ntrebat.
Rspunsul a Iost un semn fcut ain cap. (unspecifiea
as comparea to the original: to noa a incuviina cu
capul, as opposea to to shake ones heaa a cltina ain
cap, a rspunae negativ cu capul etc.).
L. Levichi quotes many examples oI improper
published translations, to which we can add a Iragment
Irom Petru Comarnescu`s translation oI Robinson Crusoe









AMALIA MRSESCU
44
(Editura Tineretului, 1956). The translation seems made in
a hurry, thereIore oversimpliIied, although it renders the
meaning oI the source language text. Here is the text:
'. I had been now thirteen days on shore and had
been eleven times on board the ship; in which time I had
brought away all that one pair oI hands could well be
supposed capable to bring, tho` I believe verily, had the
calm whether held, I should have brought away the whole
ship piece by piece. But preparing the 12
th
time to go on
board, I Iind the wind begin to rise; however, at low water I
went on board, and tho` I thought I had rummaged the
cabin so eIIectually, as that nothing more could be Iound,
yet I discovered a locker with drawers in it, in one oI which
I Iound two or three razors, and one pair oI large sizzers,
with some ten or a dozen oI good knives and Iorks; in
another I Iound about thirty six pounds value in money,
some European coin, some Brasil, some pieces oI eight,
some gold, some silver.
I smiled to myselI at the sight oI this money. O
drug!` said I aloud, what art thou good Ior? Thou art not
worth to me, now, not the taking oII oI the ground; one oI
those knives is worth all this heap; I have no manner oI use
Ior thee, e`en remain where thou art, and go to the bottom

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
45
as a creature whose liIe is not worth saving.` However,
upon second thoughts, I took it away, and wrapping all this
in a piece oI canvas, I began to think oI making another
raIt, but while I was preparing this, I Iound the sky over-
cast, and the wind began to rise, and in a quarter oI an hour
it blew a Iresh gale Irom the shore; it presently occur`d to
me that it was in vain to pretend to make a raIt with the
wind oII shore, and that it was my business to be gone
beIore the tide oI Ilood began, otherwise I might not be
able to reach the shore at all. (.)
My thoughts were now wholly employed about
securing myselI against either savages, iI any should
appear, or wild beasts, iI any were in the island; and I had
many thoughts oI the method how to do this, and what kind
oI dwelling to make, whether I should make me a cave in
the earth, or a tent upon the earth: and, in short, I resolved
upon both, the manner and description oI which it may not
be improper to give an account oI.
I soon Iound the place I was in was not Ior my
settlement, particularly because it was upon a low moorish
ground near the sea, and I believed would not be
wholesome, and more particularly because there was no









AMALIA MRSESCU
46
Iresh water near it, so I resolved to Iind a more healthy and
more convenient spot oI ground.
I consulted several things in my situation which I
Iound would be proper Ior me. First, health, and Iresh water
I just now mentioned. Secondly, shelter Irom the heat oI
the sun. Thirdly, security Irom ravenous creatures, whether
men or beasts. Fourthly, a view to the sea, that iI God sent
any ship in sight, I might not lose any advantage Ior my
deliverance, oI which I was not willing to banish all my
expectations yet.
In search oI a place proper Ior this, I Iound a little
plain on the side oI a rising hill, whose Iront towards this
little plain was steep as a house-side, so that nothing could
come down upon me Irom the top; on the side oI this rock
there was a hollow place worn a little way in like the
entrance or door oI a cave, but there was not really any
cave or way into the rock at all.
On the Ilat oI the green, just beIore this hollow
place, I resolved to pitch my tent; this plain was not above
a hundred yards broad, and about twice as long, and lay
like a green beIore my door, and at the end oI it descended
irregularly every way down into the low-grounds by the
sea-side. (DeIoe 1985: 75-77)

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
47
And here is the translation:
'n treisprezece zile, am Iost de unsprezece ori pe
bord. ntre timp, crasem tot ce era n stare s care, cu
braele sale, un singur om. Cred c dac vremea s-ar Ii
meninut Irumoas, ajungeam s iau corabia ntreag,
bucat cu bucat.
Cnd m pregteam s m duc a dousprezecea
oar, am simit cum se strneste vntul. Totusi, am pornit si
am ajuns pe punte, scotocind prin cabinele golite si dnd de
un dulap cu sertare (at low water - in timpul refluxului was
not translated at all, and tho I thought I haa rummagea so
effectually, as that nothing more coula be founa was
rendered only as scotocina prin cabinele golite). Aici am
gsit niste briciuri (in the original two or three ra:ors
aou sau trei briciuri, or cateva briciuri), o pereche mare
de IoarIece si vreo duzin de cuite si Iurculie. n altul, am
dat peste treizeci si cinci de lire sterline (thirty six trei:eci
i ase in the original), n monede europene si braziliene,
de civa galbeni si monede de argint (some pieces of eight
was not translated).
Am surs vznd banii, si mi-am zis (in the original
saia I aloua am spus cu voce tare): Bogii desarte, la ce
mi mai suntei bune acum? Nu mai avei pre pentru mine









AMALIA MRSESCU
48
si nici nu stiu dac Iace s v urnesc din loc! Unul din
aceste cuite mi este mai trebuincios dect toat grmada
voastr. Nu mai am nevoie de voi. Rmnei mai bine aici
si ducei-v la Iund, cci alt soart nu meritai! (in the
original as a creature whose life is not worth saving ca
o fiin pe care nu merit s-o salve:i/ a crei via nu
merit salvat)`. Totusi, dup oarecare chibzuial, am luat
banii. Punndu-i ntr-o bucat de pnz, m gndeam s-mi
ntocmesc o plut (in the original another raft, o alt
plut). ntre timp, cerul s-a nnorat si vntul a nceput s
suIle cu putere. ntr-un sIert de or, Iurtuna bntuia n toi
dinspre rm.
M-am gndit (presently aeoaat was not
translated) c ar Ii zadarnic s mai ncerc s ajung cu o
plut la rm, asa c tot ce aveam mai bun de Icut era s
plec ct mai grabnic. (in the original before the tiae of flooa
began, otherwise I might not be able to reach the shore at
all inainte ae a incepe fluxul, altfel s-ar fi putut s nu mai
afung aeloc la rm). (.)
Acum mi rmnea (wholly aoar was not
translated) s vd cum s m apr mai bine de slbatici,
dac ar veni vreodat, sau de Iiare, dac existau pe insul.
Chibzuiam n toate Ielurile (of the methoa how to ao this

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
49
cum s fac acest lucru was not translated) ce Iel de locuin
s-mi Iac; dac s-o sap n pmnt sau s-o Iac ca un cort. n
sIrsit, m-am hotrt pentru amndou, dup cum se va
vedea. (in the original the manner ana aescription of
which it may not be improper to give an account of i
m-am hotrat s fac i una i alta, intr-un fel pe care crea
c n-ar fi nepotrivit s-l aescriu).
Curnd, mi-am dat seama c locul unde m aIlam nu
era bun pentru ceva statornic, Iiind mlstinos si neavnd
ap de but n apropiere (particularly mai ales and I
believea it woula not be wholesome - il consiaeram
nesntos were not translated). Trebuia, asadar, s caut un
alt loc mai sntos si mai nimerit.
La asezarea locuinei, am inut seam mai nti ca
locul s Iie sntos si s aib ap de but (in the original I
consultea several things in my situation which I founa
woula be proper for me Am luat in consiaerare cateva
lucruri care mi s-au prut potrivite aat fiina situaia mea,
I fust now mentionea pe care tocmai le-am menionat -
was not translated); apoi, s Iie adpostit de arsia soarelui
si, n sIrsit, s Iie Ierit de oameni sau de animale slbatice
(in the original ravenous hmesite) si s aib vedere pe
mare. AstIel, dac Dumnezeu va trimite, din ntmplare,









AMALIA MRSESCU
50
vreo corabie prin apropiere, s nu pierd putina acelei
eliberri, n care mai ndjduiam nc.
Tot cutnd, am gsit un loc mai potrivit pe un mic
platou, asezat pe povrnisul unui deal nalt. Spre platou,
dealul se lsa n perete abrupt astIel nct nimeni nu putea
ajunge la mine din vrIul dealului. n acest perete de stnc
se gsea o scobitur, ce te ducea cu gndul la vreo pester
(in the original there was a hollow place worn a little way
in like the entrance or aoor of a cave). Nu exista ns nimic
ndrtul ei. Am hotrt s-mi asez cortul pe platoul neted
si acoperit cu iarb (fust before this hollow place chiar in
faa acestei scobituri was not translated). Acesta, care avea
vreo sut de iarzi n lime si cam de dou ori pe atta n
lungime, se ntindea ca un covor verde n Iaa mea,
cobornd apoi pn la malul mrii. (DeIoe tradus de Petru
Comarnescu 1956: 61-63)

III.3. TRANSLATION ERRORS IN STUDENTS`
PAPERS
Students` papers contain various types oI mistakes,
at all levels. This is understandable when they are required
to translate a text 'at Iirst sight, without the help oI a
dictionary, and in a limited period oI time (as in the case oI
a test paper, Ior example), but not when they are given

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
51
plenty oI time to do it and are speciIically required to make
a translation that should be 'as literary as possible.
Let us exempliIy the types oI mistakes they make
with two sets oI translations that we shall analyse. The Iirst
set contains translations Irom Romanian into English oI an
unknown text given at the exam to second year students
having French as a major subject and English as minor. The
text, selected Ior its grammar and vocabulary problems,
was taken Irom L. Rebreanu`s Goana. Here is the text:

'mi adusei aminte c citeam n ziarele austriace
cum c, ncepnd de la cutare dat, toi cei ce vor Iugi din
armat vor Ii judecai sumar si mpuscai imediat spre a se
pune capt dezertrilor.(.) Si toate acestea Iiindc m-am
luat dup capul altuia n loc s-mi Ii urmat planurile mele,
Ir riscuri neIolositoare. Acuma e de prisos orice prere de
ru. Acuma s-a sIrsit. Cel puin de s-ar isprvi mai repede.
Ct mai repede. (1968:126)

And here are some oI the translations:

'I remembered that I used to read in the Austrian
newspapers that beginning with a certain date all those that









AMALIA MRSESCU
52
would run away Irom the army would be brieIly trialed and
immediately shut in order to put an end to the desertations.
(.) And all these because I Iollowed somebody else`s
advice instead oI Iollowing my own plans without any
useless risks. Now any regret is in vain. Now it is over. II
only it ended sooner. As soon as possible.

'I remembered that I was reading in the Australian
magazines the Iact that beginning with a certain date all
those who will run away Irom army will be brieIly judged
and immediately shot in order to stop all the dessertations.
(.) And all these because I Iollowed somebody else`s
head instead oI Iollowing my own plans without any
unuseIul risks. Now is in vain any sorrows. Now it`s
ending. II only it would end quickly. More quickly.

'I remembered that I was reading in the Austrish
newspapers that, Irom a certain date on, all those who
would break loose Irom the army would be brieIly judged
and shot right away in order to put an end to the desertions.
(.) And all those because I did what the others had told
me to, instead oI Iollowing my own projects, with no risk

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
53
whatsoever. Any regret is useless now. It`s over now. II
only it ended sooner. As soon as possible.

'I remembered that I was reading in the Austrian
newspapers that beginning with a certain date all those who
would have leIt the army would be hastily judged and shot
on the spot in order to end the desertations. (.) And all
these because I Iollowed somebody`s ideas instead oI
Iollowing mine, without useless risks. Now any regret is
useless. Now everything is Iinished. II only it Iinished
sooner. As sooner as possible.

'I remembered that I was reading in the austrich
newspapers that starting with a certain date all those who
would run away Irom the army would brieIly be judged and
immediately shot in order to put an end to the desertations.
(.) And all these because I have Iollowed somebody
else`s head instead oI having Iollowed my own plans with
no any other unuseIul risks. Any regret is useless now. It`s
over now. II only it Iinished sooner. As soon as possible.

'I remembered that I was reading in the Austrian
newspapers that starting with a certain date all the men that









AMALIA MRSESCU
54
would escape Irom the army would be judged hastily and
shut right away in order to put an end to the desertions. (.)
And all that because I took someone else`s advice instead
oI Iollowing my plans without taking unnecessary risks.
Now any regret is senseless. Now everything is over. At
least iI it came to an end sooner. The soonest.

'I remembered having read in the Austrian newspapers the
Iact that beginning with a certain date all those who would
desserte Irom the army would be brieIly judged and
immediately shot in order to put an end on dessertations.
(.) And all these because I Iollowed someone else`s
advice instead oI having Iollowed my own plans without
unuseIul risks. Now any regrets are useless. Now it is all
over. II only everything would stop sooner. As soon as
possible.

'I remembered that I was reading in the austrian
newspapers that beginning Irom a certain date all that will
run away Irom the army will be brieIly judged and shooted
immediately in order to put an end to the desertions. (.)
And all that because I Iollowed the other`s advice instead
oI pursuing my own plans without useless risks. Any regret

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
55
is useless now. All is over now. At least iI it ends sooner.
The soonest.

'I remembered that I had been reading in the Australian
newspapers that starting with a certain date all who would
run Irom army would be brieIly judged and shot on the spot
Ior putting an end to the desertations. (.) And all this
things happened because I`ve chosen someone else advice
instead oI Iollowing my plans, without useless risks. It`s
worthless now any sorry. It`s over now. At least iI it would
be over sooner. The soonest.

'I remembered that I had been reading in the Austrian
newspapers that beginning with a certain date all those who
would run away Irom the army would be brieIly judged and
shoot at once to put an end to desertions. (.) And all this
happened because I Iollowed somebody else`s mind instead
oI Iollowing my own plans, without unnecessary risks.
Now all regret is in vain. Now it is all over. At least iI all
would end sooner. The sooner possible.

The Iirst typical mistake that we can notice is the
translation oI citeam by I was reaaing (present in 6 oI the









AMALIA MRSESCU
56
10 papers). It is true that the Romanian 'imperIect is
sometimes translated by the English Past Tense
Continuous, but this time it does not express an action in
progress in the past, but a repeated, Irequent action.
ThereIore, the best translation would be I woula reaa. The
translations having reaa and I haa been reaaing are not
exactly incorrect either, since the action oI reading does
take place beIore that oI remembering, as the use oI the
perIect gerund and the past perIect continuous suggests.
(Although the perIect gerund aIter to remember is
unnecessary.)
The translation oI austriace caused quite unexpected
problems. Perhaps the cause was the unusual plural Iorm,
because otherwise the word should be Iamiliar to them and
it is easy to translate. Still, only Iive people translated it
correctly, plus another one who made a spelling mistake
and wrote it with a small letter (another typical mistake that
I have noticed, but it does not concern translations). The
others either invented some Iorms that sound or look more
like German than like English (Austrish, austrich) or
thought that the newspapers were Australian. Perhaps that
was a mistake caused by hurry and inattention, because oI
the similarity in Iorm oI the two English words (Austrian

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
57
and Australian). And there is also a wrong translation oI
:iare by maga:ines, I think also caused by inattention.
The translation oI Toi cei ce vor fugi ain armat
vor fi fuaecai sumar i impucai imeaiat also presented
diIIerent kinds oI mistakes. First oI all the translation oI vor
fugi and vor fi fuaecai by the Iuture tense simple (will run,
will be fuagea, in two papers), when the rules oI the
sequence oI tenses would have required the use oI the
Iuture-in-the-past aIter a past tense in the main clause (I
rememberea, I was reaaing) and not oI a Iuture perIect in
the past (woula have left). The wrong past participle Iorms
shut, shootea, shoot (instead oI shot) are more grammar
than translation mistakes, but are worth mentioning.
As Ior the vocabulary problems, we can notice the
translations oI fugi in vor fugi ain armat: break loose from
the army, leave the army, escape from the army, aesserte
from the army, run from army, run away from the army.
According to the Oxfora Aavancea Learners Dictionary,
to break loose from sb./sth. means 'to escape being
conIined or restricted, to leave 'to go away Irom a person
or place or to stop living at a place, belonging to a group,
working Ior an employer, etc., to escape from sb./sth. 'to
become Iree; to get away Irom a place where one has been









AMALIA MRSESCU
58
a prisoner or has Ielt like a prisoner, to aesert (no
preposition) 'to leave or run away Irom military service
without authority or permission, to run away from sb/sth
'to leave somebody or a place suddenly; to escape Irom
somebody or a place and to run from 'to move, especially
quickly, in the speciIied direction. In my opinion, the
proper translation would be woula run away from the army,
given the style and the Romanian verb, although in a more
oIIicial style to aesert would be properer. But the other
translations do not seem much mistaken either, except Ior
run from army.
Trialea is used wrongly Ior fuaecai because trial is
only a noun.
The word order in the translation oI vor fi fuaecai
sumar is also mistaken in some oI the papers. The adverbial
modiIier oI manner expressed by an adverb may come
between the last auxiliary and the lexical verb, or at the end
oI the sentence/clause. So we cannot say woula briefly be
fuagea.
We can also notice the wrong Iorm oI the noun
aesertions, i.e. aesertations / aessertations, probably
invented under the inIluence oI the Romanian language,

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
59
and the wrong use oI the preposition on (in put an ena on
aesertations) instead oI to.
The translation oI fiinac m-am luat aup capul
altuia also caused various problems, starting with the literal
translation because I (have) followea someboay elses heaa
and Iinishing with more 'creative translations, such as
because I followea someboay elses mina, because Ive
chosen someone else aavice or because I followea
someboays iaeas and because I followea the others aavice
(instead oI a perhaps more acceptable because I followea
the others aavice).
The mistake in the agreement all this (things) Ior
toate acestea is also worth mentioning.
Fr riscuri nefolositoare proved also to be a
diIIicult syntagm, translated as without useless risks,
without unuseful risks, without unnecessary risks, or as the
unnecessarily complicated with no any other unuseful risks.
Unuseful is an invented word, and in this context useless
('certain not to achieve the desired results) seems more
appropriate than unnecessary ('not needed or desirable).
However, risks collocates more Irequently with
unnecessary than with useless.









AMALIA MRSESCU
60
There were mistakes also in the translation oI Acum
e ae prisos orice prere ae ru., which became in English
Now all regret is in vain., Now any regrets are useless.,
Now is in vain any sorrows., or Its worthless now any
sorry. All is used with nouns in the plural or with nouns in
the singular indicating a period oI time, thereIore, we
cannot say all regret. Any is used in sentences implying
doubt or instead oI some in negative sentences and in
questions. It may be used with plural countable nouns,
meaning 'one or more, with singular countable nouns,
indicating 'one oI a number oI things, especially when it
does not matter which, or it may be used with the meaning
'no matter which; every, as is the case here. ThereIore,
Any regrets is wrong. A correct translation would have
been Any regret or All regrets. Senseless has the meanings
'lacking any reason or purpose, Ioolish, i.e. fr fuaecat,
nesocotit, or 'unconscious, i.e. fr cunotin,
neinsufleit, fr via. So its use in this context is
inappropriate. Sorrow is 'a Ieeling oI sadness or distress
caused especially by loss, disappointment or regret; grieI
and in this meaning it is an uncountable noun. As a
countable noun, it means 'a particular cause oI this Ieeling;
a sad event. So its use here is also inappropriate. Besides,

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
61
the respective sentence also contains a disagreement
subject predicate (any sorrows is) and a wrong word
order (predicate adverbial subject, instead oI subject
predicate adverbial). Sorry can be used only as an
adjective or an interjection, so any sorry is a wrong
translation. Not to mention that the choice oI worthless
('having no value or use; having no good qualities) is
inappropriate.
Another mistake was the use oI the present tense or
oI the conditional present, the latter probably under the
inIluence oI the Romanian language, aIter if only.
While the comparative oI superiority oI soon is
given correctly (sooner), the comparative oI equality is
wrongly built as sooner as possible, the soonest, the
sooner possible.
The translation with quickly (If only it woula ena
quickly. More quickly.) does not Iollow the original closely
enough, as it does not respect the degrees oI comparison.
As we can notice, there are various types oI mistakes
in this set, ranging Irom the grammar mistakes in the use
oI tenses and moods, in the degrees oI comparison, or in
word order to the vocabulary mistakes represented by the
invention oI new words or by the wrong choice oI a word









AMALIA MRSESCU
62
in a synonymic series. I do not think that the grammar
mistakes could have been avoided iI the students had been
asked to make the translations at home. But in that case
perhaps the vocabulary mistakes would have been Iewer.
Anyway, they would have had more time to think over the
text and the possible translation variants, and that might
have had as a result a decrease in the number oI mistakes.
Starting with this assumption, let us examine the second set
oI translations.
The second set contains translations Irom English
into Romanian oI a Iragment taken Irom J. Conrad`s Heart
of Darkness. The students were in the third year Romanian
English and they were required to make the translations
at home, and to make them as 'beautiIul as possible. They
were given several weeks Ior that. They had studied Heart
of Darkness at the literature course, but I doubt that they
had read it, so they ignored what came beIore and aIter the
respective Iragment. The text that I selected, this time Ior
its message, but also because it seemed rather diIIicult, is:

'They had been engaged Ior six months (I don`t
think a single one oI them had any clear idea oI time, as we
at the end oI countless ages have. They still belonged to the

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
63
beginnings oI time had no inherited experience to teach
them as it were), and oI course, as long as there was a piece
oI paper written over in accordance with some Iarcical law
or other made down the river, it didn`t enter anybody`s
head to trouble how they would live. Certainly they had
brought with them some rotten hippo-meat, which couldn`t
have lasted very long, anyway, even iI the pilgrims hadn`t,
in the midst oI a shocking hullabaloo, thrown a
considerable quantity oI it overboard. It looked like a high-
handed proceeding; but it was really a case oI legitimate
selI-deIence. You can`t breathe dead hippo walking,
sleeping, and eating, and at the same time keep your
precarious grip on existence. Besides that, they had given
them every week three pieces oI brass wire, each about
nine inches long; and the theory was they were to buy their
provisions with that currency in river-side villages. You
can see how that worked. There were either no villages, or
the people were hostile, or the director, who like the rest oI
us Ied out oI tins, with an occasional old he-goat thrown in,
didn`t want to stop the steamer Ior some more or less
recondite reason. So, unless they swallowed the wire itselI,
or made loops with it to snare the Iishes with, I don`t see
what good their extravagant salary could be to them. I must









AMALIA MRSESCU
64
say it was paid with a regularity worthy oI a large and
honourable trading company. For the rest, the only thing to
eat though it didn`t look eatable in the least I saw in
their possession was a Iew lumps oI some stuII like halI-
cooked dough, oI a dirty lavender colour, they kept
wrapped in leaves, and now and then swallowed a piece oI,
but so small that it seemed done more Ior the looks oI the
thing than Ior any serious purpose oI sustenance. Why in
the name oI all the gnawing devils oI hunger they didn`t go
Ior us they were thirty to Iive and have a good tuck in
Ior once, amazes me now when I think oI it. They were big
powerIul men, with not much capacity to weigh the
consequences, with courage, with strength, even yet,
though their skins were no longer glossy and their muscles
no longer hard. (Conrad 1994:58-59)

The published translation reads as Iollows:

'Fuseser angajai pe sase luni (nu cred ca vreunul
dintre ei s Ii avut o idee limpede despre timp, asa cum
avem noi la sIrsitul a nenumrate veacuri; ei mai aparin
nc nceputului vremilor . nu aveau, ca s zic asa, o
experien mostenit care s-i lumineze) si, Iireste, atta

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
65
timp ct exista un petic de contract scris, n acord cu o lege
caraghioas sau alta, Icut dincolo de Iluviu, nimnui nu-i
trecea prin cap s se ntrebe cum triau oamenii acestia.
Sigur c si aduseser cu ei niste carne stricat de
hipopotam, care n-ar Ii putut ine prea mult chiar dac
pelerinii, proIitnd de o harababur grozav, n-ar Ii aruncat
o mare parte din ea peste bord. Fapta prea a Ii un act
samavolnic; n realitate era ns doar o legitim aprare. Nu
poi respira strv de hipopotam cnd te trezesti, cnd dormi,
cnd mnnci si n acelasi timp, s te agi, ca vai de tine,
de via. n aIar de asta, li se ddeau sptmnal cte trei
buci de srm de aram, lung Iiecare cam de nou
degete; tlcul era s-si cumpere, cu aceast valut, provizii
n satele de pe Iluviu. V putei nchipui cum mergea treaba
asta. Sau nu erau sate, sau localnicii se artau ruvoitori,
sau directorul, ca si noi ceilali, hrnii cu conserve si cu
vreun ap btrn de pripas, nu voia s opreasc vaporul
dintr-o pricin mai mult sau mai puin obscur. Asa nct,
aIar c ar Ii nghiit srma, sau ar Ii Icut din ea crlige
pentru prins peste, nu vd la ce le-ar Ii Iolosit salariul acela
Iistichiu. Trebuie s spun ns c le era pltit cu o
regularitate vrednic de o 'Companie comercial att de
mare si de onorabil. Ct despre alt hran, singurul lucru









AMALIA MRSESCU
66
de mncat pe care l-am vzut la ei desi nu arta de Iel
comestibil erau niste gogoloase din ceva ca un soi de
coc pe jumtate coapt, de un albstrui murdar, pe care le
pstrau nIsurate n Irunze, nghieau cnd si cnd o
mbuctur, dar att de mic nct preau s Iac gestul mai
mult de dragul de a-l Iace, dect cu scopul serios de a se
hrni. Cum, n numele tuturor dracilor Ilmnzi din ei, nu
s-au repezit la noi ei Iiind treizeci, iar noi cinci ca s
nsIace o mbuctur ca lumea . asta m uluieste, acum,
cnd m gndesc. Erau brbai trupesi, zdraveni, Ir mare
putin de a cntri urmrile, plini de curaj, de Ior chiar si
atunci cnd pielea nu mai lucea pe ei si muschii nu mai
erau att de tari. (Conrad tradus de Ticu Archip 1993: 56)

And here are some oI the students` translations, the
ones that I have considered representative Ior the types oI
mistakes they make:

Ei Iuseser logodii timp de sase luni (nu cred c
vreunul dintre ei avea o idee clar a timpului, asa cum noi o
avem la sIrsitul nenumratelor vremi. Ei nc aparineau
nceputurilor timpului nu aveau nici o experien
mostenit care s-i nvee cum era) si desigur, atta timp ct

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
67
exista o bucat de hrtie scris n concordan cu niste legi
Ialse sau alta Icut n josul rului, nu-i trecea nimnui prin
minte s-si Iac griji cum vor tri. Cu siguran aduseser
cu ei niste carne de hipopotam stricat, care nu putea
rezista Ioarte mult, oricum, chiar dac cltorii, n mijlocul
unei zarve socante, nu aruncaser o cantitate considerabil
din ea peste bord. Prea o procedur arogant, dar era n
realitate cazul unei aprri legitimate. Nu poi s respiri
hipopotam mort mergnd, dormind si mncnd si n acelasi
timp s-i pstrezi o stpnire riscant asupra existenei. In
aIar de asta, ei le dduser n Iiecare sptmn trei buci
de srm din alam, Iiecare de aproape nou inci lungime,
si teoretic ei erau pe punctul de a cumpra provizii cu acea
valut n satele din partea rului. Vezi cum mergea treaba.
Fie nu erau sate, Iie oamenii erau dusmnosi, sau directorul
care ca si noi ceilali se hrnea din cutii de conserve, cu un
ap btrn aruncat ntmpltor nuntru, nu vroia s
opreasc vaporasul dintr-un motiv mai mult sau mai puin
ascuns. Deci, dac nu nghieau chiar srma, sau Iceau la
cu ea pentru a prinde pestii, nu vd la ce bun le puteau Ii
salariile lor extravagante. Trebuie s spun c erau pltite cu
o regularitate demn de o companie de comer onorabil.
Pentru ceilali singurul lucru de mncat desi nu prea









AMALIA MRSESCU
68
deloc comestibil pe care-l vedeam n posesia lor erau
niste buci de stuI ca o coc pe jumtate gtit, de o
culoare albastru-vineiu murdar, pe care le pstrau nvelite
n Irunze, si din cnd n cnd nghieau cte o bucat, dar
att de mic nct prea Icut mai mult pentru aparen
dect pentru un scop serios de subzisten. De ce pentru
numele tuturor diavolilor chinuii de Ioame nu veneau dup
noi ei erau treizeci la cinci si aveau un bun osp pentru
o dat, m uimeste acum cnd m gndesc la asta. Ei erau
niste oameni mari, puternici, cu curaj, cu putere, nc, desi
pielea lor nu mai era lucioas si muschii lor nu mai erau
tari.

Ei Iuseser angajai timp de sase luni (nu cred c
vreunul dintre ei avea o ct de vag idee a timpului, asa
cum noi o avem la sIrsitul anilor nenumrabili. Ei nc
aparineau nc nceputurilor timpului nu aveau o
experien bogat ca s-i nvee cum era) si desigur, atta
timp ct exista o bucat de hrtie scris n concordan cu
niste legi caraghioase sau alta Icut n josul rului, nu-i
trecea nimnui prin cap s-si Iac griji cum triau. Cu
siguran aduseser cu ei niste carne de hipopotam stricat,
care n-ar Ii putut rezista Ioarte mult, chiar dac cltorii, n

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
69
mijlocul unei zarve socante, nu aruncaser o cantitate
important din ea peste bord. Prea o atitudine arogant,
dar era ntr-adevr cazul unei autoaprri legitime. Nu poi
s respiri hipopotam mort mergnd, dormind si mncnd si
n acelasi timp s-i pstrezi stpnirea precar asupra
existenei. In aIar de asta, li se dduser n Iiecare
sptmn trei buci de srm de alam, Iiecare de
aproximativ nou inci lungime, si ideea era c ei trebuiau
s-si cumpere proviziile cu acel mijloc de plat n satele din
partea rului. Vezi cum a mers treaba. Fie c erau sate, Iie
oamenii erau dusmnosi, sau directorul care ca si noi
ceilali se hrnea din cutii de conserve, cu un ap btrn
aruncat ntmpltor nuntru, care nu vroia s opreasc
vaporasul dintr-un motiv mai mult sau mai puin ascuns.
Asa c, dac nu cumva nghieau doar srma, sau Iceau la
cu ea pentru a prinde pestii, nu vd la ce le-ar putea Iolosi
salariul lor extravagant. Trebuie s spun c era pltit cu o
regularitate vrednic de o companie mare si vrednic de
ncredere. In rest, singurul lucru de mncat desi nu arta
deloc comestibil vedeam c n posesia lor erau niste
buci dintr-o substan cu ar Ii aluatul pe jumtate gtit, de
o culoare albastru-vineiu murdar, pe care le pstrau
nvelite n Irunze, si din cnd n cnd nghieau cte o









AMALIA MRSESCU
70
bucat, dar att de mic nct prea Icut mai mult pentru
aparen dect pentru un scop serios de subzisten. De ce
pentru numele tuturor diavolilor chinuii de Ioame nu
veneau dup noi ei erau treizeci contra cinci si aveau un
bun osp pentru o dat, m uimeste acum cnd m gndesc
la asta. Ei erau oameni mari, puternici, cu curaj, cu putere,
nc, desi pielea lor nu mai era lucioas si muschii lor nu
mai erau rezisteni.

Ei Iuseser logodii timp de sase luni (nu cred c
vreunul dintre ei avea o ct de vag idee a timpului, asa
cum noi o avem la sIrsitul anilor nenumrabili. Ei
aparineau nc nceputurilor timpului nu aveau o
experien bogat ca s-i nvee cum era) si desigur, atta
timp ct exista o bucat de hrtie scris n concordan cu
niste legi caraghioase sau alta Icut n josul rului, nu-i
trecea nimnui prin cap s-si Iac griji cum triau. Cu
siguran aduseser cu ei niste carne stricat de hipopotam,
care n-ar Ii putut rezista Ioarte mult, oricum, chiar dac
cltorii, n mijlocul unei zarve socante, nu aruncaser o
cantitate important din ea peste bord. Prea o atitudine
arogant, dar era ntr-adevr cazul unei autoaprri
legitime. Nu poi s respiri hipopotam mort mergnd,

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
71
dormind si mncnd si n acelasi timp s-i pstrezi
stpnirea precar asupra existenei. In aIar de asta, ei le
dduser n Iiecare sptmn trei buci de srm de
alam, Iiecare de aproximativ nou inci lungime, si ideea
era c ei trebuiau s-si cumpere proviziile cu acel mijloc de
plat n satele din partea rului. Vezi cum a mers treaba.
Fie c nu erau sate, Iie oamenii erau dusmnosi, sau
directorul care ca si noi ceilali se hrnea din cutii de
conserve, cu un ap btrn aruncat ntmpltor nuntru,
care nu vroia s opreasc vaporasul dintr-un motiv mai
mult sau mai puin ascuns. Asa c, dac nu cumva
nghieau chiar srma, sau Iceau la cu ea pentru a prinde
pestii, nu vd la ce le-ar putea Iolosi salariul lor
extravagant. Trebuie s spun c era pltit cu o regularitate
vrednic de o companie mare si vrednic de ncredere. In
rest, singurul lucru de mncat desi nu arta deloc
comestibil vedeam c n posesia lor erau niste buci
dintr-o substan cum ar Ii aluatul pe jumtate gtit, de o
culoare albastru-vineiu murdar, pe care le pstrau nvelite
n Irunze, si din cnd n cnd nghieau cte o bucat, dar
att de mic nct prea Icut mai mult pentru aparen
dect pentru un scop serios de subzisten. De ce pentru
numele tuturor diavolilor chinuii de Ioame nu veneau dup









AMALIA MRSESCU
72
noi ei erau treizeci contra cinci si aveau un bun osp
pentru o dat, m uimeste acum cnd m gndesc la asta. Ei
erau oameni mari, puternici, cu curaj, cu putere, nc, desi
pielea lor nu mai era lucioas si muschii lor nu mai erau
rezisteni.

Ei Iuseser logodii timp de sase luni (nu cred c
vreunul din ei avea o ct de vag idee a timpului, asa cum
noi o avem la sIrsitul anilor nenumrabili. Ei aparineau
nc nceputurilor timpului nu aveau o experien bogat
ca s-i nvee cum era) si desigur, atta timp ct exista o
bucat de hrtie scris n concordan cu niste legi
caraghioase sau alta Icut n josul rului, nu-i trecea
nimnui prin cap s-si Iac griji cum triau. Cu siguran
aduseser cu ei niste carne stricat de hipopotam, care n-ar
Ii putut rezista Ioarte mult, oricum, chiar dac cltorii, n
mijlocul unei zarve socante, nu aruncaser o cantitate
important din ea peste bord. Prea o atitudine arogant,
dar era ntr-adevr un caz de legitim aprare. Nu poi s
respiri hipopotam mort mergnd, dormind si mncnd si n
acelasi timp s-i pstrezi stpnirea precar asupra
existenei. In aIar de asta, ei le dduser n Iiecare
sptmn trei buci de srm de alam, Iiecare dintre ele

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
73
lung de aproximativ nou inci lungime, si ideea era c ei
trebuiau s-si cumpere proviziile cu acel mijloc de plat n
satele din partea rului. Vezi cum a mers treaba. Fie c nu
erau sate, Iie oamenii erau dusmnosi, sau directorul care
ca si noi ceilali se hrnea din cutii de conserve, cu un ap
btrn aruncat ntmpltor nuntru, care nu vroia s
opreasc vaporasul dintr-un motiv mai mult sau mai puin
ascuns. Asa c dac nu cumva nghieau chiar srma, sau
Iceau la cu ea pentru a prinde pestii, nu vd la ce bun le
puteau Ii salariile lor extravagante. Trebuie s spun c erau
bine pltite cu o regularitate demn de o companie de
comer onorabil. Pentru ceilali singurul lucru de mncat
desi nu prea deloc comestibil vedeam c n posesia lor
erau niste buci de stuI ca o coc pe jumtate gtit, de o
culoare albastru-vineiu murdar, le pstrau nvelite n
Irunze, si din cnd n cnd nghieau cte o bucat, dar att
de mic nct prea Icut mai mult pentru aparen dect
pentru un scop serios de subzisten. De ce pentru numele
tuturor diavolilor chinuii de Ioame nu veneau dup noi ei
erau treizeci contra cinci si aveau un bun osp pentru o
dat, m uimeste acum cnd m gndesc la asta. Ei erau
oameni mari, puternici, cu curaj, cu putere, nc, desi pielea
lor nu mai era lucioas si muschii lor nu mai erau rezisteni.









AMALIA MRSESCU
74

Ei Iuseser logodii de sase luni (nu cred c vreunul
dintre ei avea o idee clar a timpului, asa cum noi o avem
la sIrsitul nenumratelor vremi. Ei nc aparineau
nceputurilor timpului nu aveau nici o experien
mostenit care s-i nvee cum era) si desigur, atta timp ct
exista o bucat de hrtie scris n concordan cu niste legi
Ialse sau alta Icut n josul rului, nu-i trecea nimnui prin
minte s-si Iac griji cum vor tri. Cu siguran aduser
niste carne de hipopotam stricat, care nu putea rezista
Ioarte mult, oricum, chiar dac cltorii, n mijlocul unei
zarve socante, nu aruncaser o cantitate considerabil din
ea peste bord. Prea o procedur arogant, dar era n
realitate cazul unei autoaprri legitimate. Nu poi s respiri
mirosul de hipopotam mort mergnd, dormind si mncnd
si n acelasi timp s-i pstrezi stpnirea riscant asupra
existenei. In aIar de asta, ei le dduser n Iiecare
sptmn trei buci de srm din alam, Iiecare de
aproape nou inci lungime, si teoretic ei erau pe punctul de
a cumpra provizii cu acea valut n satele din partea
rului. Vezi cum mergea treaba. Fie nu erau sate, Iie
oamenii erau dusmnosi, sau directorul care ca si noi
ceilali se hrnea din cutii de conserve, cu un ap btrn

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
75
aruncat ntmpltor nuntru, nu vroia s opreasc
vaporasul dintr-un motiv mai mult sau mai puin ascuns.
Deci, dac nu nghieau chiar srma, sau Iceau la cu ea
pentru a prinde pestii, nu vd la ce bun le puteau Ii salariile
lor extravagante. Trebuie s spun c erau pltii cu o
regularitate demn de o companie de comer onorabil.
Pentru ceilali singurul lucru de mncat desi nu prea
deloc comestibil credeam c n posesia lor erau niste
buci de stuI ca o coc pe jumtate gtit, de o culoare
albastru-vineiu murdar, pe care le pstrau nvelite n
Irunze, si din cnd n cnd nghieau cte o bucat, dar att
de mic nct prea Icut mai mult pentru aparen dect
pentru un scop serios de subzisten. De ce pentru numele
tuturor diavolilor chinuii de Ioame nu veneau dup noi ei
erau treizeci la cinci si aveau un bun osp pentru o dat,
m uimeste acum cnd m gndesc la asta. Ei erau oameni
mari, puternici, curajosi, cu putere, nc, desi pielea lor nu
mai era lucioas si muschii lor nu mai erau rezisteni.

Ei Iuseser logodii timp de sase luni (nu cred c
vreunul dintre ei avea o ct de vag idee a timpului, asa
cum noi o avem la sIrsitul anilor nenumrabili. Ei nc
aparineau nceputurilor timpului nu aveau o experien









AMALIA MRSESCU
76
bogat ca s-i nvee cum era) si desigur, atta timp ct
exista o bucat de hrtie scris n concordan cu niste legi
caraghioase sau alta Icut n josul rului, nu-i trecea
nimnui prin cap s-si Iac griji cum triau. Cu siguran
aduseser cu ei niste carne de hipopotam stricat, care n-ar
Ii putut rezista Ioarte mult, oricum, chiar dac cltorii, n
mijlocul unei mari zarve, nu aruncaser peste bord o
cantitate important. Nu poi s respiri aer de hipopotam
mort mergnd, dormind si mncnd si n acelasi timp s-i
pstrezi stpnirea precar asupra existenei. Inainte de
toate, ei druiser lor n Iiecare sptmn trei buci de
alam, Iiecare lung de nou inci, si teoria a Iost c ei
trebuiau s-si cumpere proviziile cu acel mijloc de plat n
satele din partea rului. Vezi cum a mers treaba. Acolo
n-au Iost satele lor, Iie oamenii erau dusmnosi, sau
directorul care ca si noi ceilali se hrnea cu cutii de
conserve, cu un ap btrn aruncat ntmpltor nuntru,
care nu vroia s opreasc vaporasul dintr-un motiv mai
mult sau mai puin ascuns. Deci, dac nu cumva nghieau
chiar srma, sau Iceau la cu ea pentru a prinde pestii, nu
vd la ce le-ar putea Iolosi salariul lor extravagant. Trebuie
s spun c el Iusese pltit cu regularitate de o persoan
onorabil a unei mari si onorabile companii. In rest

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
77
singurul lucru de mncat desi nu arta deloc comestibil
vedeam c n posesia lor erau niste buci dintr-o substan
cum ar Ii aluatul pe jumtate gtit, de o culoare albastru-
vineiu murdar, pe care le pstrau nvelite n Irunze, si din
cnd n cnd nghieau cte o bucat, dar att de mic nct
prea Icut mai mult pentru aparen dect pentru un scop
serios de subzisten. De ce pentru numele tuturor
diavolilor chinuii de Ioame nu veneau dup noi ei erau
treizeci contra cinci si aveau un bun osp pentru o dat,
m uimeste acum cnd m gndesc la asta. Ei erau oameni
mari, puternici, cu curaj, cu putere, nc, desi pielea lor nu
mai era lucioas si muschii lor nu mai erau rezisteni.

As we can notice, the published translation itselI is
not beyond reproach, so it will be discussed together with
the students`. Their translations contain several striking
mistakes that are present in all or at least almost all papers
and prove that the students translated mechanically,
without thinking, totally disregarding not only the rules oI
the Romanian language, but also elementary logic.
The Iirst mistake appears at the very beginning in
the translation oI They haa been engagea for six months as
Ei fuseser logoaii (timp) ae ase luni in Iive papers. It is









AMALIA MRSESCU
78
true that the most common meaning oI to be engagea is a fi
logoait, but aIter reading the whole text they could have
seen that the situation was impossible, as it presented
IiIteen couples oI male Negroes engaged to be married and
working on a steamer. In the other paper, the verb to
engage is translated correctly (Ei fuseser angafai timp ae
ase luni), but the tense is wrongly chosen, as the 'mai
mult ca perIect suggests that the action was Iinished
beIore the moment oI speaking, and now 'they are no
longer engaged. So a correct translation would be Erau
angafai ae ase luni. The presence oI the subject Ei Ior
They is not necessary in Romanian, where we may have a
sentence with an unexpressed subject, understood Irom the
context.
The Iormulations o cat ae vag iaee a timpului and o
iaee clar a timpului Ior any clear iaea of time do not
sound Romanian. O iaee limpeae aespre timp sounds more
naturally, although translations like (nici) mcar o vag
iaee aespre timp or o iaee clar aespre timp (with the
adjectives they selected, but with aespre Accusative,
instead oI a Genitive, and with a consequent
reIormulation) would have been also good.

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
79
La sfaritul anilor nenumrabili Ior at the ena of
countless ages does not take into account the meaning oI
countless nenumrai, not *nenumrabili. La sfaritul
nenumratelor vremi does not take into account the
meaning oI age varst, but also epoc, perioaa or
generaie. The translation with nenumrate veacuri is
closer to the original.
For They still belongea to the beginnings of time, I
think that the translation with the past tense is better than
the one with the present tense used in the published
version, as the whole text is told in the past.
Some farcical law or other was wrongly translated
as nite legi caraghioase sau alta or nite legi false sau
alta, which sounds Iunny because legi caraghioase/false is
in the plural and alta in the singular. Actually alta in their
translation is coordinated not with law, as it should be, but
with bucat ae hartie. This happened because some was
wrongly assumed to mean nite, when in Iact its meaning
was vreo, a meaning which is suggested by the Iact that the
noun is in the singular. And the meaning oI farcical is not
false, but absura, riaiculous.
Un petic ae contract Ior a piece of paper is, in my
opinion, a little exaggerated. The piece oI paper may have









AMALIA MRSESCU
80
been a contract, but petic ae contract sounds somehow
Iunny. And the meaning oI aown the river is in fosul
raului/fluviului, not aincolo ae fluviu.
We can also mention the translation oI Certainly
they haa brought with them. - Cu siguran aauseser cu
ei, instead oI a more natural Sigur/ Desigur c aauseser
cu ei, but this is a minor mistake. A little more serious one
is the cacophony chiar aac cltorii (Ior even if the
pilgrims), present in all the students` papers, and avoided in
the published version by using the actual translation oI
pilgrims, i.e. pelerini.
Shocking hullabaloo should have been translated as
:arv/ harababur teribil, rather than ocant. And in the
miast of a shocking hullabaloo - in miflocul unei :arve
teribile, not profitana ae o :arv teribil, as the hullabaloo
could have been caused precisely by the throwing
overboard oI the hippo-meat. But this is only an idea.
Anyway, the translation should Iollow the original as
closely as possible.
Haant thrown was wrongly translated by the
students with the 'mai mult ca perIect aruncaser under
the inIluence oI the English language, instead oI a more

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
81
natural conditional perIect n-ar fi aruncat (as it is
correlated with coulant have lastea).
There was one student who did not translate the
sentence It lookea like a high-hanaea proceeaing, but it
was really a case of legitimate self-aefence at all. The
others translated it rather strangely. For high-hanaea
proceeaing the variants were proceaur/ atituaine
arogant, but arogant can describe mostly persons, so act
samavolnic (as it appears in the published translation) is
better. A case of legitimate self-aefence was translated as
ca:ul unei (auto)aprri legitime/autoaprri legitimate,
the last word being invented under the inIluence oI its
English correspondent. These syntagms sound unnaturally
in Romanian, and so does the published version era aoar
o legitim aprare. The natural and correct translation is un
ca: ae legitim aprare and it can be Iound in the paper oI
one oI the students.
This was nothing as compared to the translation oI
the next sentence. You cant breathe aeaa hippo walking,
sleeping, ana eating, ana at the same time keep your
precarious grip on existence became simply Nu poi s
respiri hipopotam mort mergana, aormina i mancana, i
in acelai timp s-i pstre:i stpanirea precar/o









AMALIA MRSESCU
82
stpanire riscant asupra existenei in Iour oI the six
papers. None oI the respective students wondered how you
can breathe a hippo at all. The published translation Nu
poi respira starv ae hipopotam cana te tre:eti, cana
aormi, cana mnanci i, in acelai timp, s te agi, ca vai
ae tine, ae via - is no better in this respect. The other two
oI the students` papers present attempts to improve the
translation. But one only managed to make it worse Nu
poi s respiri aer ae hipopotam mort ., whatever that aer
ae hipopotam might be, while the other one is indeed better
Nu poi s respiri mirosul ae hipopotam mort. . For
keep your precarious grip on existence I think the
published translation is better, although it sounds strange
(s te agi, ca vai ae tine, ae via). Perhaps a better
variant would be s-i pstra:i cat ae cat controlul.
They haa given them every week three pieces of
brass wire appeared as ei le aauser/ li se aauser in
fiecare sptman trei buci ae sarm ae alam. Here we
can notice again the unnecessary presence oI the subject ei,
unnecessary because they has a generic meaning, so a
passive is better, and the translation oI the Past PerIect haa
given by the 'mai mult ca perIect, which suggests that the
action had been completed beIore they started working on

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
83
the steamer and makes the presence oI every week
unnecessary. So the right translation is the published one,
with li se aaeau. But in the published version brass is
translated incorrectly as aram, instead oI alam. Another
translation suggested by the students is even worse than the
others ei aruiser lor in fiecare sptman trei buci
ae alam. Apart Irom the unnecessary translation oI they as
ei, and the wrong tense oI the verb, this translation also
contains the Iollowing mistakes: the indirect object
expressed by the personal pronoun lor is not anticipated by
its weak Iorm le, as it should have been; the verb give is
translated by aruiser, which is not correct because the
brass wire was not a giIt, but the Iorm oI payment Ior their
work; wire is not translated at all and the speciIication
should have been made, because it is one thing to have
three pieces oI brass, and another thing to have three pieces
oI wire, so the most important element in the syntagm is
the wire, not the brass.
Ana the theory was they were to buy their provisions
was also translated in diIIerent ways, some correct, some
not. A correct version was i iaeea era c ei trebuiau s-i
cumpere provi:iile, although Ior provisions a term like
alimente or hran would have been more appropriate. The









AMALIA MRSESCU
84
incorrect versions i teoretic ei erau pe punctul ae a
cumpra provi:ii or i teoria a fost c ei trebuiau s-i
cumpere provi:iile Iollow the original too closely. The
theory appears here as opposed to the practice. So its
translation by teoretic is good, but erau pe punctul ae a .
suggests that they were actually very close to buying
something, when, in Iact, that was not the case. Talcul in
the published translation (talcul era s-i cumpere) is
inappropriate because it is popular and its meaning ('sense,
signiIicance, meaning; interpretation, explanation; Iable)
is diIIerent Irom that oI teorie.
Currency was wrongly translated as valut even in
the published version. You can hardly call some pieces oI
brass wire valut ('the system oI money used in a
country). So the correct translation is mifloc ae plat,
which some oI the students suggested.
But none oI them gave the correct translation Ior
river-siae villages. I do not know what they meant by
satele ain partea raului, when a more natural and a correct
translation is satele ae pe malul raului / ae lang rau / ae
pe fluviu. I think that they knew that siae means only
'parte, although its Iirst meaning is 'latur, margine.

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
85
For You can see how that workea the translation was
Je:i cum a mers/ mergea treaba. The published translation
is better: J putei inchipui cum mergea treaba asta,
especially the translation oI you can see. Je:i is
inappropriate because it is in the singular, and Marlow was
addressing several people, not just a single person. It also
sounds unnatural. A better translation would have been Iat
cum mergea treaba asta. That is underlined in the original,
so it should have been stressed.
The translation oI the Iollowing sentence was again
the source oI numerous mistakes. The Iirst appears in the
translation oI There were either no villages, which one oI
the students has rendered as Fie c erau sate, which I think
is a mistake caused by carelessness and haste, and another
one rendered as Acolo n-au fost satele lor. There was
wrongly supposed to mean acolo, when in Iact it is a
dummy subject, not an adverbial oI place, and lor was
added, although there is no word in the original to justiIy
its presence in the translation. The tense oI the verb was
also wrongly chosen and either was not translated at all.
Then the translation oI the correlatives either.or.or was
fie.fie.sau, when sau.sau.sau or fie.fie.fie would
have sounded more naturally. The steamer appears as









AMALIA MRSESCU
86
vaporaul, although it is a rather large ship. And the
airector, who like the rest of us fea out of tins, with an
occasional ola he-goat thrown in, aiant want to stop the
steamer was translated as airectorul, care ca i noi ceilali
se hrnea ain cutii ae conserve, cu un ap btran aruncat
intampltor inuntru, (care) nu vroia s opreasc
vaporaul. How the old he-goat could be occasionally
thrown in the tins I personally do not understand. They did
not understand it either, but this did not prevent them Irom
writing it. The presence oI the second care in some oI the
translations is justiIied neither by the existence oI a
correspondent in the original nor by the rules oI the
Romanian language.
Maae loops with it to snare the fishes with appears
as fceau la cu ea pentru a prinae petii. Loops is indeed
la, but in my opinion it is rather diIIicult to use it to catch
Iish, so I think that carlige would be more appropriate. La
in the singular also sounds wrong, the plural lauri would
be better. The preposition cu Ior with is a literal translation
not conIorming to the norms oI Romanian. Din ea is the
correct version. I aont see what gooa their extravagant
salary coula be to them was wrongly rendered by some oI
the students as nu va la ce le-ar putea folosi salariul lor

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
87
extravagant. The conditional present le-ar putea folosi
suggests that the action is simultaneous with that oI
'seeing, i.e. a present action, which is not the case. What
inIluenced them was the Iorm coula be, instead oI coula
have been. But regardless oI the English version, the
translation should have been le-ar fi putut folosi, as the
action is anterior to the moment Marlow tells his story.
For I must say it was paia with a regularity worthy
of a large ana honourable traaing company, the wrong
versions were trebuie s spun c era pltit cu o
regularitate vreanic ae o companie mare i vreanic ae
increaere and trebuie s spun c el fusese pltit cu
regularitate ae o persoan onorabil a unei mari i
onorabile companii. The Iormer is wrong because oI the
repetition oI vreanic, which could have been avoided, as it
actually was in some papers, by saying cu o regularitate
aemn ae or cu o regularitate vreanic ae o companie ae
comer onorabil. The latter version does not contain only
the annoying repetition oI onorabil, but also its wrong
association with persoan the Iirst time it is used. Worthy
can indeed be used as a noun and one oI its meanings is
persoan aemn ae respect, ae laua, but nothing, no
determiners in this context would suggest that here it is









AMALIA MRSESCU
88
used as such. On the contrary, the indeIinite article a
precedes the noun regularity, and worthy Iunctions here as
an adjective determining the same noun. Also the presence
oI el (Ior salariul) is not necessary here because the subject
is understood Irom the context, and the tense oI the verb a
fi (the 'mai mult ca perIect, fusese) is wrongly chosen,
although the use oI the past tense in English (was paia)
should have resulted in its translation as era, a fost. Fusese
suggests that the salary had been paid beIore the travel
began, which is not the case, as it was previously stated that
they received their payment every week, during their travel.
For the rest was wrongly rendered by some oI them
as pentru ceilali.
I saw in their possession was translated by most oI
them veaeam c in posesia lor, by one as creaeam c in
posesia lor, and by another one correctly as pe care-l
veaeam in posesia lor. I do not know what made them
introduce the conjunction c, since it has no correspondent
in the English text. Neither do I know where creaeam
comes Irom. (I think it was considered that to see was used
in this meaning, but it does not sound logical.) The last
translation seems good Irom the lexical point oI view, but
the tense oI the verb is wrong.

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
89
A few lumps of some stuff like half-cookea aough
appears in some papers as nite buci ae stuf ca o coc pe
fumtate gtit and in others as nite buci aintr-o
substan cum ar fi aluatul pe fumtate gtit. Stuf was used
under the inIluence oI the English word, although a simple
look in the dictionary would have enlightened the students
as to the real meaning oI stuff (substan, material,
materie, esen). Coc and aluat do not collocate with the
verb a gti, but rather with a coace, so the published
translation, un soi ae coc pe fumtate coapt, is better in
this respect. Still, the word gogoloae used there Ior lumps
is too Iamiliar Ior a literary translation. For airty lavenaer,
albastru-vineiu muraar sounds too complicated. Albstrui
muraar is better. One oI the students Iollowed too closely
the original text and did not introduce the relative pronoun
pe care. So, her translation was nite buci . le pstrau
invelite in frun:e.
For but so small that it seemea aone more for the
looks of the thing than for any serious purpose of
sustenance the published translation (aar atat ae mic incat
preau s fac gestul mai mult ae aragul ae a-l face, aecat
cu scopul serios ae a se hrni) sounds better in Romanian
than the students` translation (aar atat ae mic incat prea









AMALIA MRSESCU
90
fcut mai mult pentru aparen aecat pentru un scop
serios ae sub:isten).
Why in the name of all the gnawing aevils of hunger
they aiant go for us appeared either as ae ce pentru numele
tuturor aiavolilor chinuii ae foame nu veneau aup noi in
the students` papers, or as cum, in numele tuturor aracilor
flman:i ain ei nu s-au repe:it la noi in the published
version. Gnaw is a roaae, a aistruge, a frmanta, a chinui.
Taking into account that it is gnawing aevils of hunger, and
not aevils gnawea by hunger, I think a better translation
would have been ae ce in numele tuturor aiavolilor
chinuitori ai foamei. . Din ei was added by the translator,
although there is no indication in the text that they were
'their devils. To go for sb. means here to attack sb., not to
go to a place ana bring sb. back. So, nu veneau aup noi is
inappropriate; s-au repe:it la noi is correct.
The translation i aveau un bun osp pentru o aat
(Ior ana have a gooa tuck in for once) has the major Iault
that it does not sound Romanian because it Iollows the
original too closely. Actually it is a word-Ior-word
translation which leads to a nonsensical sentence. Ca s
inface o imbuctur ca lumea, the published version, is a
little inIormal, but so is the English tuck-in. The translation

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
91
oI of it (when I think of it) by la asta in the students` papers
is unnecessary.
From the last sentence the students did not translate
at all the syntagm with not much capacity to weigh the
consequences.
As we can notice, the translations done at home with
a dictionary at hand and with more time at disposal are not
better than the ones done in class. Some explanations might
be that the students are reluctant to use dictionaries to
check the meanings oI the words they think they know,
they display insuIIicient grammar knowledge, and they do
not have what we call 'simul limbii, a sixth sense that
tells a good translator what s/he can or cannot say that
would be correct, but also sound good in a certain
language. A solution might be Ior them not only to learn
new words and improve their grammar, but especially to
read more in both languages in order to develop this sense
which is most important Ior a translator.














AMALIA MRSESCU
92
CONCLUSIONS

As we can notice, almost every language area is a
potential source oI translation errors. DuII suggests several
steps that we can take and things that we can do in order to
avoid them and to obtain good translations. First oI all, we
should be aware oI the Iact that 'the translation should
reIlect accurately the meaning oI the original text. Nothing
should be arbitrarily added or removed, though
occasionally part oI the meaning can be transposed`.
When translating a text we should ask ourselves the
Iollowing questions:
'-Is the meaning oI the text clear? Where do the
uncertainties lie?
- Do any oI the words have underlying implications?
- Is the dictionary meaning oI a word the most suitable
one?
- Does anything in the translation sound unnatural or
Iorced? (1990:10).
Then, we should consciously stop using our mother
tongue as a system oI reIerence and use the rules oI the
Ioreign language independently oI the mother tongue. The
ordering oI words and ideas in the translation should match

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
93
the original as closely as possible, but taking into account
that diIIerences in language structure oIten require changes
in the Iorm and order oI words. The source language
inIluence can be shaken oII iI we set the text aside and
translate a Iew sentences aloud, Irom memory. This will
suggest natural patterns oI thought in the target language,
which may not come to mind when the eye is Iixed on the
source language text. Then, we should use proper
dictionaries, not be in a hurry and trust our knowledge too
much. Last, but not least, we should keep in mind and
Iollow the stages oI the translation process:
1. Iind as much inIormation as possible about the writer
whose text we have to translate;
2. read the text careIully, paying attention to its content,
purpose, modality, style, stressed words, connotations, etc.;
3. Iind synonyms in the target language Ior the words that
require special attention;
4. make the rough translation;
5. make the Iinal translation, in accordance to the norms oI
the target language. (cI. Levichi 1975: 250-251)
In Newmark`s opinion, 'an important translation oI
any kind should be reviewed by a second translator whose
language oI habitual use is the target language. (.) In









AMALIA MRSESCU
94
addition, it is desirable that at an early stage a third
translator whose language oI habitual use is the source
language should check that the text has been understood
and a subject-expert be brought in, iI appropriate, to check
Ior appropriate register. Finally, the text should be revised
bearing the stamp oI the translator`s idiolect. (1993: 38)
He also suggests that it is important to have a parallel
reading oI the translation and the original, 'not only to
ensure that no word sentence paragraph in the original
has been overlooked or Iorgotten (as usually happens) but
to ensure that every punctuation mark (.), Iigure or word
in the original has been accounted Ior (not necessarily
translated) in the translation. (1993: 106)
Only such translations can contribute to
understanding and peace between people(s), can transmit
knowledge in plain, accessible and appropriate language,
and can explain and mediate between cultures, respecting
their strengths and implicitly exposing their weaknesses,
but on the basis oI a common humanity.
'A hundred years ago, the majority oI translated
texts were religious, literary, scientiIic and philosophical.
Apart Irom the religious texts in Protestant-only areas,
translations were mainly read by an educated elite in each

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
95
country. In this century, translation has become a Iorce and
an instrument oI democracy. (.) The subject matter
translated has extended to the whole range oI human
knowledge, with particular emphasis on the most important
technological innovations and on political and commercial
relations between nations as well as on creative literature.
Further, the range oI languages translated has increased
continuously as more countries become independent (.)
and more languages achieve national status within each
country. (Newmark 1993: 16)
So translation plays an increasingly important role in
the contemporary world and 'there is no sign or likelihood
that this translating activity throughout the world will
decrease. (Newmark 1993: 17)
It seems unlikely that Esperanto will become an
international language known by everybody and that will
reduce the need Ior one to learn other languages. Machine
translation, on the other hand, might replace human
translations, but only at certain levels.
ThereIore, there will always be a need Ior translators
and we should give good translations the importance they
really have.










AMALIA MRSESCU
96
BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Bantas, A., Croitoru, E. Diaactica traaucerii. Bucuresti:
Teora. 1998.
2. Bassnett, S. Translation Stuaies. London and New
York: Routledge. 1988.
3. Brnzeu, P. Despre traauceri in Zile i semne.
Timisoara: Excelsior. 1994. pp. 88-92.
4. Conrad, J. Heart of Darkness. London: Penguin Books.
1994.
5. Conrad, J. Inima intunericului (traducere de Ticu
Archip). Craiova: Literatorul. 1993.
6. Croitoru, E. Interpretation ana Translation. Galai:
Porto-Franco. 1996.
7. DeIoe, D. Robinson Crusoe. London: Penguin Books.
1985.
8. DeIoe, D. Robinson Crusoe (traducere de Petru
Comarnescu). Bucuresti: Tineretului. 1956.
9. DuII, A. Translation. OxIord: OxIord University Press.
1990.
10.Levichi, L. Gramatica limbii engle:e. Bucuresti: Teora.
1998.

6RXUFHVRI(UURULQ7UDQVODWLRQ
97
11.Levichi, L. Inarumar pentru traauctorii ain limba
engle: in limba roman. Bucuresti: Editura StiiniIic
si Enciclopedic.1975.
12.Newmark, P. About Translation. Bristol: Longdunn
Press. 1993.
13.Prlog, H., Teleag, M. Dicionar ae colocaii nominale
engle:-roman. Timisoara: Mirton. 1999.
14.Rebreanu, L. Goana in Opere 3. Bucuresti: Editura
pentru Literatur. 1968.