Truth in translation?

Ever wonder just how tricky translations can be?  Here’s a little case study.  I saw that a Russian website had picked up  my review of the Islamic galleries at the Louvre so I decided to check it out.  HCylindrical box Spain 968ere is an excerpt from the original in English:

The narrative tries to insert into [the show’s] chronological account a sense of what makes a work “Islamic.” An introductory panel, for example,. . . .    By pulling books out of the chronological narrative, the curators reinforce an impression that they are building a definition of “Islamic art.” But they don’t, not really, for we immediately return to a progression of artistic developments in a world where trade and conquest trigger exchanges of aesthetics and technologies.

Now here is the Russian translation (presumably created automatically through Google translate or other software):

Повествовательная часть и комментарии к экспозиции составлены таким образом, чтобы в свете этих хронологических событий придать произведениям искусства «исламский» смысл. Например, во вступительной части. . .
Из-за того, что хранители музея и устроители выставки выставляют книги вне хронологического контекста, еще больше усиливается впечатление, что они искусственно создают понятие “исламского искусства”.  Хотя, на самом деле, это не так, поскольку мы все равно сразу же восстанавливаем в памяти последовательность этапов развития искусства во всем мире в целом, где в результате развития торговых отношений и захвата чужих территорий никак нельзя было обойтись без взаимного влияния и обмена эстетическими традициями и технологиями.

And this is how ‘Google translate’ converted the Russian back into English:

The narrative portion of the exposure and comments are designed in such a way that in the light of these historical events to make works of art “Islamic” meaning. For example, . . .

Because of the museum’s curators and organizers of the exhibition for the book is a chronological context, further reinforces the impression that they artificially created the concept of “Islamic Art.” Although, in fact, it is not so, because we are still immediately evocative sequence of stages in the development of art in the world as a whole, where the development of trade relations and annexations was impossible to do without mutual interference and sharing of aesthetic traditions and technologies.

So the question is: did the  translation transmogrify the text or  does the translation, by its very oddness and misunderstanding of the English, in fact show up some (unintended) ambiguity in my original?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s