RMNB recently published two articles [I and II] translating an interview Michal Neuvirth gave to František Suchan of iSportz.Cz. The original interview was conducted in Czech and translated by Kara Martinková with proofreading and edits by our team. While we stand by the articles we published, we acknowledge that translation is as much an art as it is an academic skill. Interpretations of syntax, grammar, and idiom always threaten to transform the intent of a statement, and some of Neuvirth’s meaning may have been misconstrued.
For example, we translated Neuvirth as saying the following:
I am really sure that I have the weakest competition (Braden Holtby) I’ve ever had.
But choosing competition as an apposition for Braden Holtby is subjective. Neuvirth might have intended for competition to mean competition-as-a-thing, not as a person. Given that interpretation, Neuvirth may simply have been saying this season is the best opportunity he’s ever had to earn the number-one goalie spot.
The underlying meaning of the two statements is nearly the same, but the tone is dramatically different.
The context of the article might support that interpetation too. Later in the interview, Neuvirth responds to a question about Holtby by first saying that he is a great goalie, albeit one with less experience than Varlamov and Vokoun. Using the alternate translation above and taking into account his later comment about Holtby, Neuvirth’s statements are not so incendiary.
This same interpretative gap can apply to other parts of the interview as well. Where Neuvirth describes himself as “angry” at not starting in the playoffs, the words down or unhappy might also have been used.
The vagaries of language are challenging, and there are many possibilities to lose the intent and tone of the original statement on its path from conversation to original article to translation. We hope our readers can grant a healthy amount of leniency to Neuvirth and our translators.