Back Translation


Back Translation
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Monday, April 19, 2010 at 5:00am

“Back translation” adalah istilah teknis dalam dunia penerjemahan, yang mungkin tepat untuk dipadankan dengan “Terjemahan balik.” Istilah ini bermakna menerjemahkan materi dari bahasa A ke bahasa B, kemudian hasil terjemahan bahasa B diterjemahkan balik ke bahasa A oleh orang (editor) lain. Prosedur ini sangat berguna bagi editor, terutama bagi yang belum banyak jam terbangnya, untuk memeriksa ketepatan atau kecermatan makna aslinya seperti yang dimaksud oleh penulisnya.

Untuk kalimat yang tampaknya mudah dan sederhana, biasanya penerjemah yang belum banyak berpengalaman cenderung untuk segera saja mulai menerjemahkannya, tanpa pikir panjang, tanpa mempertimbangkan konteks dan lain-lain. Terjemahan semacam itu saya namakan “terjemahan instan.”

Terjemahan instan cenderung rentan menghasilkan kalimat yang maknanya mungkin jauh berbeda dari maksud penulis aslinya.

Contohnya, kalimat sederhana seperti

DAVID LOVES HIS WIFE, AND ME TOO.

dengan serta-merta, secara “instan,” cenderung langsung saja diterjemahkan menjadi

DAVID MENCINTAI ISTERINYA, DAN SAYA JUGA.

Apabila penerjemah mempertimbangkan konteks, makna kalimat sederhana tersebut dapat dipikirkan atau dipilih dari paling sedikit lima kemungkinan terjemahan yang berbeda, misalnya:

David loves his wife, and me too.

0. David mencintai isterinya, dan saya juga.

1. David mencintai isterinya, David juga mencintai saya.

2. David mencintai isterinya, saya juga mencintai istri saya.

3. David mencintai isterinya, saya juga mencintai istri David.

4. David mencintai isteri orang lain (misalnya isteri Peter), saya juga mencintai isteri Peter.

5. David mencintai isteri Peter, David juga mencintai saya.

6. dst … dst…
Proses Terjemahan Balik

Lima kalimat Indonesia hasil terjemahan tersebut di atas kemudian diterjemahkan balik oleh lima orang (atau lebih) ke dalam bahasa Inggris. Contoh terjemahan balik di bawah ini menunjukkan kemungkinan bahwa lima terjemahan instan tersebut dapat ditafsirkan kembali ke dalam lima (bahkan lebih) kalimat berbeda yang sangat mungkin bermakna beda karena berasal dari konteks yang ditafsirkan berbeda-beda pula.

0-A. David mencintai isterinya, dan saya juga.

a. David loves his wife, and me too.

b. David loves his wife, so do I.

1-A. David mencintai isterinya, David juga mencintai saya.

a. David loves his wife, and David (also) loves me.

b. David loves his wife, and David loves me too.

2-A. David mencintai isterinya, saya juga mencintai isteri saya.

a. David loves his wife, and I (also) love mine.

b. David loves his wife, I love mine too.

3-A. David mencintai isterinya, saya juga mencintai istri David.

a. David loves his wife, and I also love David’s wife.

b. David loves his wife, and I love David’s wife too.

c. David loves his wife, so do I.

4-A. David mencintai isteri Peter, saya juga mencintai isteri Peter.

a. David loves Peter’s wife, and I also love Peter’s wife.

b. David loves Peter’s wife, so do I.

5-A. David mencintai isteri Peter, David juga mencintai saya.

a. David loves Peter’s wife, David also loves me.

b. David loves Peter’s wife, he loves me too.

6.A.. dst … dst…
Lessons Learnt

1. Kalau ada kalimat yang tampaknya sederhana dan sangat mudah, sebaiknya kita tidak tergesa untuk langsung menerjemahkannya. Kita justru harus “curiga” kalau menemui suatu kalimat ganjil yang tampak sangat sederhana. Telusuri dulu konteks materi asal kalimat tersebut. Apalagi kalau konteks keseluruhan bacaan yang kita terjemahkan bernuansa ragam non-formal, misalnya ragam bahasa “populer” atau bahasa “gaul.”
2. Kalau kita merasa ragu apakah terjemahan kita sudah tepat dan cermat, mintalah tolong kepada rekan lain untuk menerjemahkan balik terjemahan kita ke bahasa aslinya. Cara ini sering lebih efektif daripada bertanya tentang “arti” atau maksud kalimat aslinya.
3. Prosedur semacam ini juga cukup efektif bagi kita sendiri untuk memperbaiki kalimat bahasa Indonesia kita. Kalau rekan kita kesulitan menerjemahkan (balik) kalimat kita, ada kemungkinan hal itu disebabkan oleh tatabahasa kalimat kita yang kurang benar, kurang idiomatik, ambigu, atau sukar dipahami. Dari fakta ini kita akan terdorong merevisi atau memperbaiki bahasa Indonesia kita. Ini juga merupakan kesempatan bagus untuk menaikkan tingkat keterbacaan (readability) tulisan kita.
4. Bahasa yang tinggi tingkat keterbacaannya akan mudah dipahami. Kalimat yang mudah dipahami biasanya tinggi pula tingkat keterjemahannya (translatability). Kalimat seperti itu akan menuntun penerjemah menghasilkan karya yang berprinsip “terjemahan berdasar makna,” (meaning-based translation) alih-alih “berdasar bentuk.” (form-based translation).
5. Bagi biro penerjemah yang mempekerjakan sejumlah penerjemah, prosedur back translation dapat digunakan sebagai latihan untuk mengembangkan “gaya selingkung” produknya.

Malang, 7 April 2010. Penulis: Setyadi Setyapranata.

26 thoughts on “Back Translation

  1. no words than THANKS knowing after this..
    and if it’s need longer time to think what the suitable meaning to be in written English article… how is the fastest way translating the “Direct” translation as guide sir…???

  2. This article is very useful as the information how to translate well. This article also reminds us to be more careful in translating some languages to the other languages. And it’s true that when we want to translate, we have to be able to catch the writer’s aim.

  3. That’s really help me to translate any words, or sentences better than before. Because I know that I often do any mistake when I translate english into Indonesia language.

  4. This is a very good article because the content of it is about the way to translate well. It’s very important, especially for the students that want to be a good translator. From this article, we can know that we do not need to translate word by word.

  5. The contents of the article are realy needed by the new comers in translation because it can help us to develope our skills as the new leraners by understanding it. Thank a lot sir…..!

  6. Great!!!
    the content of the article is new knowledge for me…
    be a good translator is not easy, but it can be easy if we know how the way to be a good translator…

    I hope this article can helps us as a beginner…..
    gambatte sir… thanks a lot…🙂

  7. After reading this article, I realize that it is difficult to translate a foreign language.😀
    But I do believe the way it’s described in the article is very helpful for us to translate well.

  8. Excellent….!!!!
    this articles may be helpful for beginners who want to learn more about translation and how to translate a word or phrase properly.
    thanks so much.

  9. That’s very awesome MTD…
    Now, I comprehence how to translate well, but I am still confused to translate if I found any longer sentences.
    So, What’s the best solution?

  10. amazing article…
    I think we as a beginner are difficult to understand about the original meaning, moreover we use English as a foreign language.
    so let us discuss about it further….
    good luck🙂

  11. So,, we can’t mistakenly to translate the translation, because if one word is wrong it can be different meaning,,
    don’t be afraid to study translation!!! don’t afraid make a mistakes because we still learn.

  12. My simple comments :
    Translate like a cup of hot coffee, this taste is bitter but if our want to analyze there is so many taste, like salt, sweet, sour, etc etc. Only difference that separates.
    I like this article because it can bring me to imagines about the meaning of a sentence, thank’s sir !

  13. thats good article…
    there are some instruction in this article to help us know what words can be put in. absolutely to translate some languages. studying translation means knowing how different meaning can be influence to others sentence.

  14. There is no other word except Thanxs after knowing this article..
    It is really help me to know more about how to be a good translator, because as new comer in translation I need a lot of knowledge about it…..

  15. It’s really good article. To be good translator, we need good understanding of the content.
    thanks for the article sir,,,

  16. I really think that translation is easy, but in the fact it’s not as easy as in my mind…
    from some words above, I realize that my way is wrong to translate some articles.
    there are a lot of things to do before translating the word.I do hope I can be a good translator who think first before translating. Thank You very Much Mr.Firman.

  17. berati kita harus paham struktur kalimat nya dan cara menempatkannya dlm bhasa indonesia yaa..??
    apa kita bisa mentranslate menggunakan logika kita?
    tidak semudah membalikkan telapak tangan..hmm
    need practice more to develop knowledge about it, i want to be a professional translator..

  18. That’s very great article. I can know many ways how to translate well as the right meaning of the sentences or words.
    So many things that we don’t know how to translate the sentence or word, because sometimes we directly translate like the meaning of the sentence or word itself.
    so, thank you very much for the suggestion.

  19. Actually ,,,,, I wanna be a good translator, but I’m still conscious because my grammar isn’t clear.
    After I read this article, I’m sure that I can raise my future. this article give me many ways to do it and make me be spirit going to translate.
    Thanks Mr ,,,,,,,
    for your giving information about the way to translate. .

  20. Its a great inspiring article for the reader whose willing to be a good translater.Indeed, thats a new essential information for the beginner translater in being an expertise of back translation.. thanks

  21. before I read this article, I think that to be translator is easy,but the reality it’s so difficult. it didn’t cross my mind,so this is really geart for me,because this article give me inspiration to be good translator..I LOVE IT..thank you so much sir..

  22. Thanks so much Sir for sharing this article. That is absolutely something new for me. From this article, I have the reference how to solve some problems in term of how the way to translate.Being a translator is not as easy as I think.🙂

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