Having read various Chinese novels that had been translated into English, it was clear some translations were better than others in regards to the type of translation. It poses various concerns including subjective interpretation, in which the original story is unable to be reproduced in another language effectively. Some translators care for the content and form of the text to be the importance of the text, whereas others focused on the message it portrays, or the syntax, punctuation and rhythm, but the biggest problem of all was that some meanings and words cannot be translated altogether. The Chinese language considers the English to be a simple language, and as a result, there just aren’t the words to describe effectively many situations. Similar issues, as Katherine Hayles points out, are placed on the digitising of texts.
The biggest problem to many in media translation is the loss of meaning. Meaning for me is not just the words on the page, and the story it creates, but also the meaning that comes with the physicality of the book. The physical object and material of the book itself is in some cases the only reason a book has any meaning.
But not just looking at the physical book itself, there is a sense of originality and authenticity that would be lost in translating a document into electronic text. The significance a book possesses could lie in the font it is written in, or the illustrations or diagrams. In the Nehemiah Grew, the text we digitised in our lesson had all of these factors, as well as the editor’s corrections, and this is what made the book so captivating and interesting. Therefore, my essay will focus more on these issues of translation, and whether or not we can overcome them.