Let’s briefly look at some common problems translators are faced with, as well as what clients can do to make a translator’s job just the tiniest bit easier.
Cultural references, jokes and euphemisms
Translators, and most other language practitioners for that matter, need to be aware of a company’s style and cultural differences of their documentation. Some companies prefer to hide unpleasant facts beneath understatements or euphemisms. It is paramount that the translated text is a true representation of the source text which should also reflect the nuances.
Clients can greatly assist the translator by explaining what these words or references mean or by giving functional equivalents, so as to not lose any part of the message in the translated version.
Accuracy and context
Some languages are less complicated than others in certain areas. For example, some language groups in Papua New Guinea have more than ten different words for varieties of sweet potato. The Inuit Indians of Canada have twenty different descriptions for “snow”. English is not a precise language either where “Doctor Smith” could refer to either gender, but in Chinese one has to know the gender of the doctor to translate the word “doctor” accurately.
Therefore, it is essential that a client must try and give all possible and available information and context to a translator to enable more accurate translated text.
Although the above mentioned might seem like a lot of extra effort asked from a client it would aid the process of fast and accurate translation and also ensure the target population is effectively served with a good translation.
Next time’s post will contain more obstacles and helpful tips for both the translator and the client. Our motto at Language Inc is that any project is not just a once-off transaction, we like to build relationships and get to understand your world and style. A good relationship equals a good product.