Language translation is quite often overlooked and limited by the simplified view most people have of it. A layperson automatically assumes that language translation services requires knowledge of two or more languages and “converting” one language to the other. But beyond this bland and plain understanding lies a more complex process.
There is more to language translation services than just getting the direct equivalent of each word. Some specific peculiarities often come into play – word preferences, dialects and sentence construction. Although language translation has the purpose of getting the same message across, there are many ways to enhance the content in a way that the people who speak the language would more effectively understand the content without taking away the tone of the original content.
The process that translation follows is not limited to the accuracy of the grammar and words used but also involves creativity. An effective translator must be able to convey the message in a way that is not simply effective but accurate – without taking away the main idea of the source material. Take for a short example – Religious Text; it has different versions for the translated content as there are words that can be taken differently depending on the person translating it.
There are various types of language translation services that requires different levels of creativity. And it’s not based on length. Say, writing a direct translation of an informative tweet on social media, which requires a fair bit of creativity given the character limits on twitter. The level of difficulty and creativity is at times unpredictable. Translating a poem or a whole book – even content for websites requires a fair bit of assessment not just of the source material but of the target audience.
Translation can be easy as well, it is often based on the form or tone of the said content. Most informative and instructional text are direct. Quite often, seemingly universal. These kinds of translations are more concerned on grammar than actual outright creativity. Unlike poetry which delves into the art of words in the language used which may not have a direct translation but does have a close equivalent that can deliver the same meaning.
Here are the different approaches to translating according to Anne Schjoldager’s A Taxonomy of Microstrategies:
In business, translation is far more complex. Many companies make the error of creating direct translations based on straightforward tone and form. It results in accurately translated content but with a far less effective audience value.
This is where creativity and knowledge of the audience comes in.
Representing form versus content is one of the difficulties translators encounter in their task. Being able to present both requires creative skills. As discussed in the approaches, a translator decides how they will translate content. The translator’s approach to the text showcases their creativity in numerous ways, such as:
Contrary to what most think, the job of a translator is not limited to getting the counter part of each word in another dialect and simply leaving it at that. It requires creativity and understanding in order to accurately deliver the effect of the source text.
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