Different Factors Influence Different Translations
There are explanations from Nida in Venuti 2004:160 which are related to how one translation can be different from other translations and one of those that is interesting for me most is about what the four basic requirements of a translation usually meets, which are (1) making sense, (2) conveying the spirit and manner of the original, (3) having the a natural and easy form of expression, and (4) producing a similar response
People have different cultural and situational background, the languages we have will also consist of differences and these conditions affect the different translations which are resulted by someone. Something that is in a language considered common can be translated into something more specific or even exaggerated when we see it from the SL (Source Language) point of view though the meaning of the expression will give the same understanding when it is in TL (Target Language). The two examples of translation here were taken from Indonesian short stories written by an Indonesian author (Djenar Maesa Ayu) and translated by a person whom I guess is neither an Indonesian nor a Native Speaker of English, because his name is Michael Nieto Garcia.
1. Original text: Namun saya sangat benci kepada lintah.
Translation: But I had a deep loathing for the leech.
2. Original text: Sepanjang hidupnya Hyza tidak pernah sudi makan buah durian.
Tanslation: All of her life Hyza had never allowed herself to eat durian.
In the first sample we can see how the part of the sentence was translated differently in the form of the text, which in the original text (SL) the word “benci” has a function as a verb but then in the TL it was translated into the word “loathing” which functions as a noun. Additionally, in English, the word “benci” can be translated into the word “hate or hatred” and if we have them checked on the coca (http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/) Corpus bank of data, we can see how actually the word hate or hatred is more commonly used in the texts, but in the translation above the translator chose to use loathing than hate or hatred. This condition could happen because of some reasons which we could not find why but we can predict that it’s all because he is familiar with the word loathing and he thought the word loathing is more suitable for being used in the text he translated (by seeing the content of the story and the context the story has).
And for the second sample we can see how the Indonesian phrase “tidak pernah sudi” was translated into the English phrase “had never allowed herself” which actually when the English phrase is translated back into Indonesian the meaning would be quite different compared to the original text, since the meaning of “tidak sudi” is more about having no willingness rather than not being allowed. This condition seems happen because the Indonesian word “sudi” does not appear a lot in Indonesian text and it makes some translators, including the translator above, Garcia, does not have the clear idea what the word “sudi’ precise meaning.
However, at some points both phrases can express the same idea and will get the same response from readers, the translation is making sense, and they conveying the spirit and manner of the original.
As a conclusion, we can see here how it is true that there can be no fully exact translation since no two languages are identical, either in the meanings given to corresponding symbols or in ways in which such symbols are arranged in phrases and sentences it stands to reason that there can be no absolute correspondence between languages, (Nida in Venuti, 2004:153).
Ayu, D.M., (2009) Mereka Bilang Saya Monyet (9th ed.). Jakarta, Indonesia: Gramedia
Ayu, D.M., (2005) They say I’m a Monkey (M.N. Garcia, Trans.). Jakarta, Indonesia: Metafor Intermedia.
Nida, E., (2004). Principles of Correspondence. In L. Venuti (Eds), The Translation Studies Reader (pp.153-167). New York, USA: Routledge.