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 Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)

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itsmeyouidiot
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PostSubject: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:27 pm

Okay, so its been established that Felarya has a sort of translation magic that makes everyone appear to speak the same language in Felarya, except where the magic is weaker.

Of course, I imagine this could lead to some problems. Try making a pun in Felarya, for example, and the person you're making it to will likely end up confused if they're not from the same world as you, they'll hear the words in their own language. For example:

Person 1: I guess you can call me a pungeon master, then!

Person 2: What's a "pungeon?"

Person 1: Um, hello? Pun and Dungeon? Pungeon?

Person 2: Those words don't sound anything alike...

See? I'd imagine learning to read in Felarya is a pain in the ass, too, since reading is accomplished by stringing together the sounds made by letters in most languages, and having the sounds made by each letter combined into a word pronounced totally differently than it is in your own perception will muck things up a bit.

The only way I can see this being worked out is if language in Felarya is translated into a universal language that communicates the speaker's intended meaning perfectly (minus things like tone of voice, perhaps) without either the speaker or listener being aware.

Or we could just take the "it's magic, we don't have to explain it" approach, but what's the fun in that?

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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:53 pm

We've been over this. I suggest you use the search.
Felaryan Languages
There are some other threads on this subject, but to my knowledge that was the most recent.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:56 pm

Ah, thanks. I rarely use the search because I only look at threads if I want to post in them, and I don't do thread necromancy.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:24 pm

itsmeyouidiot wrote:
Ah, thanks. I rarely use the search because I only look at threads if I want to post in them, and I don't do thread necromancy.

Yeah, the simple version of it is:

- Audible language, whether spoken or recorded is automatically translated through some as of now unknown process. Some people think its some kind of translation spell, others think its some weird dimensional...thing, caused by Felarya's innate weirdness. Either way, it hurts brains to try and figure out, lol.

- Written language is not affected by this translation-effect at all. People from other worlds can read their own language, but cannot read the languages of other people, and so on. This is usually not much of an issue, since the vast majority of native Felaryans, be they giant, human-sized or tiny, are illiterate. We know the fairies have their own written language. The dridders, elves and ur-sagolians likely do too, since they were all great civilizations at one time. Multicultural cities like Negav or (maybe) Kelerm likely have a "standard" written language that is used for all their trade and record-keeping, to streamline the process.

There are many different opinions on how it works and the minor nuances of it, but I think the above two points basically sum up the current, generally accepted information for the translation-effect.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:29 am

Actually, the OP makes a good point. Some things just can't be translated accurately. Languages (as anyone who is fluent in two or more knows) are not exact equivalents of one another; they have both different cultural bases, and different constructions. Puns are a good example of things that are very difficult, sometimes impossible, to translate while conveying the full meaning (or even any meaning at all, in some cases).

Cultural references may be substituted to ones which are familiar to the listener, although that will invariably imply some change in the intended meaning. (Which, interestingly, very often means that the listener won't actually be hearing exactly what the speaker intends to convey.)

But puns can't always be translated, even through magic. So either the "huh?" effect suggested in the OP would indeed happen, or the "magic translation" would choose to omit any reference to a pun, leaving the listener to wonder why the speaker is chuckling to himself (and perhaps even why his lips are moving without any sound being produced).

(I remember, several years ago, seeing the film Master and Commander, in English with French subtitles. There's one point where a character makes a rather bad pun about "the lesser of two weevils". Out of interest, I remember glancing at the subtitles at that point to see how they'd managed the translation. It was impossible to convey properly, and the only translation they'd managed to come up with to express a similar pun was utterly cringe-worthy, making it even worse. I can just imagine something like that happening during conversation in Felarya...)

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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:14 am

Not fearing to be called out, but aren't we overthinking this translation spell? It's nothing but an excuse as to why sapient creatures who lived in the wild their entire lives can speak English. Hell, it literally runs on the A Wizard Did It explanation. This is a common literary device whose entire purpose is to allow the readers to understand what the aliens are saying. Besides, it's literally a magic translation. Surely you can just wave your hand and say "it translates the pun perfectly" and be fine with it. It's not even an important aspect of Felarya since it's endemic to fictional literature, so why are we even trying to explain it at all? If it's not a big part of the story, then don't worry about it.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:07 am

Oh, I'm not "worrying" about it. I don't see it as a problem. I'm simply pointing out that it's impossible to constantly have absolutely flawless translations, and there are some things which cannot be meaningfully translated.

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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:03 pm

I think Sean is right. It's just there so people wouldn't bring up the problem about why everyone can speak to each other. Honestly, I'd be equally fine with just taking the translation spell out of canon, and just running with it. There's no way either solution would be plausible anyway.

At least without making languages specific to each race, and spending the time to build off it.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:17 pm

Yeah, I kind of have to agree with Sean.

Honestly, no one knows why speech is translated, or how. I'd be fine with it just being another mystery of Felarya.

No matter which school of thought you subscribe to regarding the matter, none of them cover all potential issues, and all of them hurt your brain a bit to think about for too long.

That's why I just posted the basic known rules for them, since we can agree on those and they are fairly simple to understand.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:19 pm

The wiki says:
"In 2005 BU, the mage Almikar Potentis cast a very powerful spell of translation all over the continent. Because of the enormous amount of magic in the world, it endures to this day."
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:03 pm

Anime-Junkie wrote:
The wiki says:
"In 2005 BU, the mage Almikar Potentis cast a very powerful spell of translation all over the continent. Because of the enormous amount of magic in the world, it endures to this day."

Yeah, honestly I always thought that should have been moved to rumors.

No need to give a specific cause for the translation. Plus, that creates more problems than it solves. How could a mage cover an entire continent? What happens if someone wants to write stories outside of the current continent? ...and so on.

I'm all for expanding the setting, but some things really don't need a concrete explanation, especially something as difficult to explain as an auto-translation effect.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:15 pm

I agree. It makes less sense with it there -_-
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:40 pm

Honestly I flat out think the language spell is .....well......lazy. I'd be much for favorable to a language that is considered "common" along with individual languages for races/cultures. I've always wondered what the actual languages sound like......are nagas hissing at each other? Which languages sound romantic? Alas all these questions mean exactly squat cause we have some blanket of boringness clause.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:55 pm

No, we don't.
Read the wiki dude, don't just blindly assume.
The translation spell makes it so people can understand each other. It doesn't change what they hear.
It allows intelligent beings in Felarya to understand the speech of others as if they were speaking their own language. It's a strange impression : you hear that your interlocutor talk to you in a different language but, somehow, those foreign words make perfect sense.
I posted this before it was in the wiki in the thread I linked earlier in this topic. It's nothing new.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:09 pm

Yet it does, cause we don't write what the characters hear, we write what the characters interpret.

Which is why I'm disappointed.....You just don't see those suspenseful scenes where two people are talking in another language that one character doesn't know what they are saying.....blanket of boringness.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:29 pm

That's not the fault of the world, it's the writers that aren't putting characters in situations where they would be speaking of concepts that a listener would have no frame of reference for/
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:54 pm

What AJ says: there haven't been chances for getting situations where these awkward moments could happen...

But I don't feel guilty for not doing so. Who says we won't see things like a lame pun that no translation can fix, for example? Razz (EDIT: now that I recall it, I mentioned once that a character didn't understand what a bunch of foreigners said... but it was a minor mention, anyway)

Anyway, it's an interesting point to talk for a while, but it isn't like a very big issue. Just some fun fact.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:22 am

As I already said: this "spell" is nothing but an excuse as to why aliens are speaking English. It is a very common literary device and is not unique to Felarya. The universal translator, whatever it's called in sci-fi, runs on the same principle. If you have a problem with Felarya's "Alien Speaking English", then you should too with any other fictional work, because it is the exact same core concept with the exact same purpose. Moving on.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:10 pm

What Sean said.

You know Lord of the Rings right? That one epic series with different races with different languages? Well Tolkein also said that there is a common tongue. All the sapient beings can speak the common tongue, but the books (all lotr material) are written in English so that we can read it of course. We still see it in a readable language, and we still know that in Middle-Earth there are different languages everyone speaks, but they still have a common tongue to understand each other. It also helps culture.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:34 am

Like everyone has been saying, I think this is being overthought a bit too much.

Let's just have it like they did it in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:18 am

Pendragon wrote:
Like everyone has been saying, I think this is being overthought a bit too much.

Let's just have it like they did it in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Everyone sticks fish in their ears?

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PostSubject: Re: Translation Troubles. (Or: Felarya's Universal Language?)   Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:03 am

Oldman40k2003 wrote:

Everyone sticks fish in their ears?

Or mermaids, who nestle there and whisper to you? Razz

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