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|Posted on 6 February, 2013 at 23:11|
The Use of English Question Mark "?" in Burmese Translation
Nowadays, I have proofread a few Burmese translations and come across the phenomenon of the use of English question mark in Burmese translation. Some translators use the English question mark but some don't. It has come to my attention that which practice whether the use of English question mark or not using it is a standard authentic translation.
When we look at the Myanmar Script, it includes 33 consonants, 12 vowels and a number of consonant combination symbols. Unfortunately, there is no English question mark in our Myanmar Script, but we have the equivalent, that is to say, a symbol representing the two tiny vertical lines called Poke-ma, which also represents an English full stop.
I would like to look at the Ethics in Translation in the hope that it would resolve this issue. Ethics in Translation are as follows:
Ø Translator shall not alter, make addition to or omit anything from their assigned work. (AUSIT)
Ø Translate original message faithfully to satisfy the needs of the end user. (ATA)
Ø Render faithful translation of source text (meaning & register) [IOL]
Ø Guarantee that translation is a faithful rendering of the original. (UN)
Ø Refuse to give text an interpretation of which he/she does not approve.
Ø Translation to be faithful and render exactly the idea and form of the original.
Ø Faithful translation should not be confused with a literal translation, cultural adaptation may be needed.
Among the set of rules for translation, I choose the "translate original message faithfully to satisfy the needs of the end user, (ATA), to apply in this scenario. As long as we have the equivalent of the English question mark in Burmese Script, the equivalent would satisfy the translation of the English question mark and it would satisfy the needs of the end user as well. Some translators put both the equivalent and the English question mark at the same time so it makes the English question mark redundant in my view because it is not necessary, the equivalent is already there. However, the use of English question mark in Burmese writing can be accepted in casual writings such as Facebook, Twitters and etc, but it should be avoided in formal translation. Translation is regarded as one of the professional industries and it should be done professionally.
What is your thought?