Translation Criticism 1: UN’s Millennium Goal

Today, I have come across a one page of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Cambodia which English is a source text (ST) and Cambodian (Khmer) is a target text (TT).

From a professional point of view of my over ten years within this industry, I tend to assure the referential and pragmatic accuracy of the translations; I have worked with both directions: English to Cambodian (Khmer) and Cambodian (Khmer) to English. All translators should adhere to Translator’s Ethics and Professionalism.

  1. The term “framework” of the Title, translator used the Khmer term “ក្របខណ្ឌ” which is notably more emphasizing than just “framework” literally means “គម្រោង” or “plan”.
  2. Cross-Cutting Issues that “cross-cutting” should mean essential or inclusive, the translator used Khmer term “បញ្ហាអន្តរវិស័យ” which contextually understood of inter- such as international, inter-states, interim “អន្តរកាល”, or interministry “អន្តរក្រសួង” etc. The translation seems deviated the intended ST. The complete translation should be “បញ្ហាជាចង្កោម”.
  3.   Estimated Resources Needed is translated as “Needed Resources Estimation” or “ការប៉ាន់ប្រមាណធនធានចាំបាច់”. Translator seems neglect the flow of grammatical orders to maintain the original intended message. The good flow of translation should be “ធនធានដែលគេប្រមាណទុកតាមដែលចាំបាច់”.
  4. Programming Principles is translated as “Development Programming Principles” or “គោលការណ៍ស្នូលនៃកម្មវិធីអភិវឌ្ឍន៍”.
  5. Stakeholders is translated as “Important Relating Partners” or “ភាគីពាក់ព័ន្ធសំខាន់ៗ”.  This word should be simply translated as “អ្នកចូលរួមឬអ្នករួមចំណែកឬអង្គភាពពាក់ព័ន្ធ”.
  6. an interactive consultative process is translated as “an active consultative process”.  It should be “ដំណើរប្រឹក្សាយោបល់គ្នាយ៉ាងទៀតទាត់ឬយ៉ាងយកចិត្តទុកដាក់”.
  7. Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development which “inclusive” is understood by the word “including” means “all are included” or “no one is left behind or “រួមទាំងអស់គ្នា” or “មិនអោយនរណាម្នាក់លំបាកយ៉ាកក្រ”.
  8. “to actively participate in and benefit equitably from growth and development that is sustainable and does not compromise the well-being, natural and cultural resources of the future generations” which the term “compromise” is translated as “damage”. The original context should be maintained because “compromise” could be “exchange” ប្តូរយក or “replace” ដាក់ជំនួស or “disapprove” បដិសេធន៍ or “harm” បង្កការឈឺចាប់.


Notes on Translation Criticism

Cambodia’s UNDAF 2016-2018 English Khmer

Written by Sophan SENG

UNDAF Cambodia English UNDAF Cambodia Khmer

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