Wolfram Wilss in his The Science of Translation:Problems & Methods gives his definition of translation: Translation is not simply a matter of seeking other words with similar meaning, but of finding appropriate ways of saying things in another language. Translating is always meaning-based, i.e. it is the transfer of meaning instead of form from the source language to the target language.

As a translator, I totally agree with him on this. The meaning, of course, is of the most importance. Yet, we must find out the appropriate way of saying things. The following sentence can fully prove the ways of saying would eventually affect the translation quality.

1. The history of a tree from the time it starts in the forest until the boards which it yields are used, would form an interesting and, in many instances, an exciting story.

version 1: 树的历史开始于森林中,直到生产为木板后被使用为止,成为一个有趣且有许多事例的激动人心的故事。

version 2: 一棵树,从它在森林中生长起直到被制成木板使用为止,这段历史会构成一个饶有趣味的故事,在很多情况下这个故事十分激动人心。

Analysis: The English sentence intends to tell us the time when tree’s history starts and how is the history. Obviously, the version 2 is much native and readable. It’s logic is clear and smooth.

2. There are two regulatory systems which interact. One timing system comes from the evidence of our senses and stomachs, and the periodicity we experience when living in a particular time zone.

version 1: 有两个调节系统相互作用。一个定时系统来自于我们的感官和胃的证明,就是当我们生活在一个特定的时区所经历的周期性。

version 2: 人体有两个相互作用的时间调节系统。一个时间调节系统依据感官和胃发出的信息,依据我们生活在某个时区所体验的周期性规律。

3. The traditionalist type of composer begins with a pattern rather than with a theme. The creative act with Palestrina is not the thematic conception so much as the personal treatment of a well-established pattern.

version 1: 传统主义型作曲家始于某种格调而非某种主题。帕莱斯特里纳的创作行为不太像对固定格调进行个性化处理的主题概念。

version 2: 传统型作曲家是从形式出发而不是从主题出发进行创作的。帕莱斯特里纳的创作不是主题的构思,而是对固定形式的个性化处理。

Read Also: Creative Translation (for CS-EN Translation)