Please note that the following examples are singular instances of inspiration for translating a certain way that either enhanced understanding/relevance/enjoyment to an English audience. I do follow the text rather closely most of the time.
Please excuse any typos you find! I was more focused on getting the essence of the source material on my first passthrough.
I actually really like translating Chinese imperial edicts. Lots of grandiose fluffiness + highfalutin' sentiment = an excuse to flex those diction muscles.— etvolare (@etvofluff) November 13, 2019
I read the same passage to my mom and she left halfway through. XDD Mom! Don't you want to know what I did at work today? pic.twitter.com/SRsypG0BqK
HERRO TYPO AGAIN. Why do these never register when I double check them…— etvolare (@etvofluff) November 14, 2019
I knows proper grammah and decided to upgrade the second typo'ed sentence. Here's how it looks now, a peek into the ongoing process of translation! 😀 pic.twitter.com/eMighZKORx
On the topic of being literal, or not. I used to be 100% word for word literal, but now I subscribe to the school of thought of conveying the meaning of the CN in a way that’s relevant & digestible in EN. This a commonly seen CN phrase & how I localize it in two ways. pic.twitter.com/GcnNgasNzs— etvolare (@etvofluff) October 11, 2019
Sometimes, we run across less than polished source material, especially in web lit. After four years, I feel comfortable enough in making judgment calls on judicious rewording or even cutting repetition (web novels only!). The key, IMO, is to make sure the meaning stay the same. pic.twitter.com/57YR0QkWvo— etvolare (@etvofluff) October 11, 2019
Much like the example above, in which the narrative tells us the connotations of the speaker’s words, here the narrative tells us the two maids’ thoughts. Rather than write that out, I just turned it into the maids’ thoughts to begin with. IMO, this is more impactful in EN. pic.twitter.com/qurTJd1Esv— etvolare (@etvofluff) October 11, 2019
Another example is a 1:1 replication of source language syntax. Sometimes, judicious rearranging will help the scene make more sense to readers of the target language. Following the CN here would have QYN talk about her style before the mental note of being straight as a rod. pic.twitter.com/3kvZcD4vqv— etvolare (@etvofluff) February 2, 2019
Heck! I love the next part of the monologue as well. As @GuanZhongWuxia says, this is when close attention to the scene is needed, and translating mechanically wouldn’t have the scene come out as well. But aye, it’s easy to go garbage in and garbage out and translate on autopilot pic.twitter.com/eNJqBZtFvv— etvolare (@etvofluff) December 11, 2018
The following are examples shared or question responses in Discord.
Going for the essence of the words instead of following character by character.
Judicious use of English sayings can give an insta-shot of cultural relevance and humor.
Don’t be afraid to personify something to give it more character and write in active voice.
Cross referencing Chinese apparel and accoutrements to English equivalents. It’s tedious, but necessary!