2.  Pronoun agreement

 

Pronoun agreement is a fairly straightforward matter in each language, but in translation things often go wrong when a plural noun in one language is equivalent to a singular noun in the other.  Here, Greek is the source language and English the target.

μποτιλιάρισαν τα κρασιά και τα συσκεύασαν σε κούτες

They bottled the wine and packed them in boxes.

What is the problem with the English sentence?

 

Discussion:

Them has nothing to refer to.  Since the translator has chosen to translate κρασιά (plural) by the singular wine, the pronoun them needs to be changed to singular it, to make the English cohesive in its own terms.  Note that in English at any rate, the plural wines would imply different kinds of wine.

Similar problems are common in translations of  μαλλιά and  χρήματα, in particular.  Although this problem is well known, it is often difficult to eradicate, and has been noted in the speech of bilinguals (who seem immune from many other forms of learner mistakes).  Cf:

        My hair is a mess and I can't do anything with them.

        Have you got any money with you?  Yes, they're in my purse.

back