Throughout an entire semester of localization and translation, few assignments have come close to being as challenging or labor intensive as this final one. The project covered four-thousand words from three articles from various German news organizations. These articles were to do with current events, namely the controversy surrounding WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. The three articles were from Der Spiegel, Deutsche Welle, and the Berliner Zeitung. These publications represent a variety of political perspectives and they are tailored for different audiences, offering a broader sense of the subject than would a single source.
The first article was pilfered from the website for Der Spiegel, whose political bias tends towards the left. Of the three, this was not only the longest by far, but also the most difficult. On the flipside, it was also the most informative and offered a side of the argument that most tend to ignore. That is, the author played the Devil’s Advocate when speaking of WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange. He is portrayed as criminal; the leader of an organization whose works endanger national security of America and that of countries. He is also described as an internet activist, exposing the secrets of corrupt leaders abroad. With regards to the text itself, it required much editing. For instance, the use of adjectives like “American” and “U.S.” would be redundant to an American audience. The language used in the text was also somewhat difficult at times. Some sentences I used an extremely loose translation, others were omitted from the text altogether. An example of this can be found on page 3 of the original article. “selbst die laufenden Ermittlungen der australischen Bundespolizei gegen sie selbst habe die Hackergruppe online verfolgt.” I could not accurately translate this, so I decided to omit it from my polished translation piece. Another problem that I came across in this text was the seemingly constant use of incomplete sentences. This can be seen in the first couple sentences in the article. “Und andere als gefährdet ansehen.” If translated directly into English, it would read “And others seen as vulnerable” By itself, it makes sense, but it is grammatically incorrect. Sentences like these were either incorporated into other sentences or were expended so as to make them a proper sentence.
The second article was much shorter and to the point. It discussed the recent actions of major financial institutions such as Visa and PayPal. More specifically their ban on services to the WikiLeaks organization. From what I can tell, the article was largely unbiased: it neither condones nor condemns the actions of WikiLeaks or the financial institutions taking action against them. This is, in my opinion, great journalism in that it allows the reader to form their own opinions. Never mind that it makes the article much easier to translate! The language is also much simpler. Unlike its counterpart from Der Spiegel, this article used a much drier language, which is much more appropriate for a news article. Although I needed some outside information, such as the proper names for the Swiss Banks mentioned in the article, the article was overall very simple to translate.
The last article from Berliner Zeitung was a bit more complex in that it involved legal matters. Overall, the article was somewhat difficult to understand. To overcome this, I read articles in English so that I could understand the facts and then use them to adapt my translation. Some words such as “federal attorney” and “rape-allegations” took a bit of work to translate as well.
Overall these three translation assignments were nothing like I’ve ever done before. In past assignments, we have translated older, less relevant and simpler articles. This collection of articles was different in that they had longer text, generally more complex vocabulary, specialized jargon having to deal with technical and legal terms, and were current. The currency of the articles proved to be very helpful, because if I had trouble translating a certain part, I could read a similar article in English, and base my translation off of that.