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In Turkey, our teachers tell us that some sentences we create are wrong. For example, in Turkish, "Başım ağrıyor.", that sentence's exact translation is "My head is aching". However our teachers are telling us that those kinds of sentences are wrong, and they are sentences that are thought in Turkish way. And they say instead of "My head is aching", you need to say "I have a headache". For another example, "Bu konumuz değil" means "That's not the point" but when I want to translate this into English I would say "This is not our subject" (which is, at least according to Turkish, correct translation) I want to know, are my sentences wrong and shouldn't be used or what? How do those sentences sound to native speakers?

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    Translation isn't an exact science, and often requires fitting an utterance from one language into the most common or idiomatic form. So "my head is aching" is technically a sentence I understand, but I'd more immediately understand "I have a headache." And "this is not our subject" would sound like a riddle - our subject could refer to our field of work, our conversational topic, the purpose of what we're doing ... but "That's not the point" would convey more clearly to me where the conversation would go - what is the point of what we're doing, then? – TaliesinMerlin Nov 13 at 15:42
  • Thanks for the answer. I want to ask one more thing. Then how can I know whether I am translating them better or not? Do I need to listen to the conversations a lot or could you give me some advices? – Mustafa K. Nov 13 at 15:56
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    Experience. Read and listen to conversations. Study abroad in an English-speaking community. – TaliesinMerlin Nov 13 at 16:03
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    Translation is an art and before you decide to be a translator you must acquire near-native proficiency in the language you're working with. – Centaurus Nov 13 at 16:05
  • The correct usage is sometimes context dependent. If someone said "my head is aching", I would think he was trying to make some kind of point other than that he has a simple headache. For instance, if he were trying to solve an impossible riddle, he might say "my head is aching". – Walter Mitty Nov 13 at 20:40

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