Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I can now better understand why books with different translations appear at time to vary in content or context.

In recent months, I have the opportunity to translate and edit several articles of different languages into English with the help of online translators. Some of the languages for translation include French, Italian, Hungarian, and Japanese.

One of the greatest difficulties I faced in translating the languages is the many varied meanings of a word. Take French for example. The word 'apres' or 'a pres' is translated by the different online translators as 'after' or 'near'. A sentence such as the following:

Après ses casinos, le groupe Louvre Hôtels souhaitait également offrir aux clients de son hôtelier un accès Wi-Fi gratuit

therefore, can be translated as:

After its casinos, the group Louvre Hôtels also wished to offer to the customers of its hotel free Wi-Fi access


Near its casinos, the group Louvre Hôtels also wished to offer to the customers of its hotel free Wi-Fi access

This sentence, which is at the start of a new paragraph, however appears incorrectly translated, based on the structure and preceding paragraphs which made no mention of what is before, hence, 'after' cannot be used. The word 'near' seems logical, but in understanding the context, does not seem to fit the starting point of a new paragraph, so a French to English dicitionary was consulted.

Apart from the meanings 'after' and 'near', the dictionary also defines 'apres' as 'in front of', which put the whole context of the sentence in different light. The plausible meaning of the abovestated sentence therefore can be translated as:

In front of the casinos, the group Louvre Hôtels also wished to offer to the customers of its hotel free Wi-Fi access

Having determined 'in front of' to be the 'correct' translation, most of us will automatically assume the same word 'apres' used at the beginning of the next paragraph means the same thing, but this is far from the truth and presumptious, as in the case of the article I was editing. Reading through the context of the new paragraph:

Après un état des lieux et une série de tests en réel, c’est la gamme sans fil AirPremier qui a été retenu pour répondre totalement aux contraintes techniques Wi-Fi des hôtels

the correct translation will appear to mean 'after' rather than 'in front of', as in the case of:

After an inventory of fixtures and a series of testing in 'live' environment, it is the wireless AirPremier which was retained to answer completely the technical constraints Wi-Fi of the hotels

Following this thread of discussion, it is clear that translations and interpretations can differ in context. This is probably why different translations and versions of the Holy Bible can sometime appear to be different in interpretation of certain passages and verses in specific context. When read as a whole, however, the focus of the Bible is essentially the same, and it is our attitudes as the reader in understanding the truth within that is important.

Online Translation Tools: