kaigou: pino does not approve of where the script is going. (2 pino does not approve)
[personal profile] kaigou
It's crazy, the things you never realize about language, when it comes to translations. How do brains work on two tracks at once? What lies in the heads of all those people at the UN who can listen, real-time, to one language and simultaneously speak the same meaning in a different language?

Hell, I can barely manage it for a word, maybe a single phrase, and then my brain breaks. But more than that, slowly working my way through corrections is really making me think (which, okay, is a something I like) about what words and phrases mean.

For instance, the phrase: I feel bad when... In French, this has been translated as je compatis -- which really means, "I sympathize."

Immediately, I recall the phrase a lawyer/linguist friend used to tell me: "I empathize but I do not sympathize." In other words: I feel your pain, but I don't feel sorry on your behalf. What does it mean to say, "I feel bad"? Does it mean sympathy -- as in, a feeling of shared pain/upset? Or does it include an element of regret, as though one is responsible for it: I'm sorry this happened to you.

You feel bad on someone's behalf without actually feeling responsible for the situation, which is what I'd consider empathy -- but the distinction between the two words (sympathy and empathy) is one that's frequently lost on many readers. Both are mentally translated (it seems to me) as "I feel bad", hence the ambiguity.

Talking it over with CP, and I suggested "I'm bothered when..." but as he pointed out, "bother" has a connotation of annoyance. In other words, "I'm inconvenienced when..." and that's not the same at all. Then we thought of "I take it personally", but that implies that the situation is causing one to be on the defensive. Just what are you taking personally? If it's "I take it personally when a friend is upset," does this mean you're feeling yourself guilty for their upset, or are your personal feelings because you're upset on your friend's behalf?

So perhaps simply, "I get upset when my friend is upset." I suppose most people would say that's sympathy (it's actually empathy), and then we're back to the beginning. Though CP suggested taking it down to the actual meaning: do you share the upset, or are you upset only by extension?

Perhaps "I share my friend's reaction..." is less ambiguous. Hm. I wonder what that is in Spanish.
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kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
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to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

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