An accurate translation that can convey the meaning of a document is the cornerstone of a globalized world. Today most businesses do not cater to a small localized community of customers. Instead, they deal with customers who may live in the opposite part of the world and speak an entirely different language.
Professional translation services ensure that the intended meaning of a document is faithfully conveyed to the reader. So if you want to expand your business to newer parts of the world and you want your brochures or advertisements to be adequately translated, you can consider hiring a professional translator.
Alternatively, if you wish to translate a document yourself, you should keep the following points in mind.
6 Things That Should Be Kept In Mind While Translating A Document
Keep The Culture In Mind When Translating
Most people think that replacing the words of one language with the corresponding term of another language is the end goal of translation. However, that is not the case when you want to translate the text from one language to another; then, you need to understand the culture of the region for which you are translating the document.
There are many terms that are culturally inappropriate, and they need to be substituted with other less offensive terms. There are many terms that are used today which have racist origins, and these words are best avoided.
For instance, if you are translating a text to English and wish to use a term that means a group of friends, then saying “my tribe” is inappropriate.
The word tribe was used by the Britishers during the colonial era to designate forest dwellings communities. Colonial history is replete with examples where the word tribe is used in a derogatory manner.
However, today the word tribe is often used to mean a close group of friends. But if you use the word tribe and the document is meant to be read by those countries who were under colonial rule then they might feel offended.
Another culturally sensitive word is “Ninja,” which is today used to mean incredible technique or great move or fighting ability. However, the word has its origin in Japan, where the Ninjas were originally Japanese foot soldiers who belonged to the lower classes.
So you must avoid problematic words like Ninja and tribe so that you do not end up offending your reader or, worse still, get caught in a legal complication.
Again, understanding the culture is essential to decide on the way in which you want to address your reader. Some cultures are fine with words like Sir and Ma’am. But if you are dealing with a young American woman, she may be offended if you use the word, Ma’am. Ma’am is generally used for older women in America, and so may land in trouble for using it in a document meant for American readers.
Do Not Try To Go For A Word To Word Translation
When you try to find a word corresponding to every word that is written in the original text, you are sure to run into trouble.
It is not practically feasible to find one word corresponding to every word in a language. For instance, the word brother-in-law can be translated by a single word in Hindi or Bengali, or Urdu( Asian languages). So in such cases translating every word will dilute the impact of the original text.
Try To Learn About The Subject Matter Of The Document That You Wish To Translate
Without understanding the subject matter of a document, you will not be able to understand or translate it faithfully. Every field, be it science, fashion, or literature, has jargon. So if you are not into technical stuff, you will not be able to translate an appliance manual in an appropriate manner.
Hence it is advisable to ask a subject expert to help explain the concept during the process of translation.
Do Not Think That Translation Can Be Completed By A Single Person
Most people mistakenly believe that a linguist is the one person who is responsible for translating a document from one language to another.
However, the size of the text may increase or decrease by twenty to thirty percent when changing from one language to another. So you need to have a design expert on board who will change the format of the document, say a brochure, according to the volume of the text.
Likewise, you also need a subject matter expert and a copywriter in your team to ensure that you can do your job perfectly.
Do Not Rely Entirely On A Code
It is true that today there are programs that can help translate text from one language to another. But it will be foolish to rely entirely on a program. Most programs do not have a comprehensive glossary of words.
Also, codes are not great at understanding cultural context. However, a program works much faster than a human. So you can always use a code, but it should replace human linguists in its entirety. Most people use a mix of both codes and human experts to translate large volumes of text.
Do Not Forget To Translate The Numbers
The metric system used in different countries is different. For instance, some countries use pounds as a unit of weight, others use kilograms. So you must use the appropriate metric system and change the numbers accordingly so that your text is more meaningful and more readily understandable.
The translation of a document is not an easy job. It requires a coordinated effort on the part of many experts to communicate the exact meaning of a text in another language. However, if you keep the cultural context in mind and if you understand the subject matter reasonably well, then your task will not be very challenging. Moreover, you should not shy away from taking the help of glossaries, dictionaries, and codes to make your job easier.