Translating from one language into another can be quite a difficult task. This is because each language is unique, and with this uniqueness comes originality which otherwise might not be found in another language. The use of proverbs, idioms might even be lost during the process of translation. However, if it is accurately done, common errors like that can be completely avoided.
When you need to write a successful professional translation, there are a number of factors that you must consider before you even begin translating. This is important because adequate preparation makes the art of translation easier. You should target clear and concise sentences because this is the only way you can be sure you have captured every bit of information in the original sentence.
To avoid making common mistakes, here are a few tips for translation
MAKE SENTENCES BRIEF AND STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
When translating, it is usually impossible to completely capture the meaning of the text in the original language. This is why it is important to make your translation as simple and comprehensive as possible. You should always ask yourself, “What is important in this sentence? What is the message it tries to pass across?” When you find that, it is then up to you to recreate that sentence in about 20 words or less, in the simplest way possible.
AVOID COMPLEX AND COMPOUND SENTENCES
The main aim of translation is to make a previously unreadable text — due to language barriers — readable to individuals. Using compound and complex sentences adds a level of complexity to the translation. This is why it is important that you try as much as possible to maintain the standard English word order, that is having a Subject, Verb and Object. It is also important to check for errors in the source text, so as not to translate an error into a new language.
AVOID USING HUMOR
It is tempting to want to infuse humor into the translated piece. However, you must remember that language is representative of a culture. Perception and understanding are two factors that should not be thrown to the wind. Expressions are not universally understood, or even appreciated. Also, humor hardly translates to equivalency. However, if you believe that humor is a part of the source text, you should then use what is called transcreation. Transcreation is the process of communicating the same message of similar emotional effect, or feelings, as well as using the style and tone of the source text to achieve translation.
MAKE SURE DATES ARE CLEAR
It is quite easy to translate dates since the entire world uses a unified calendar. However, mistakes can occur when dates aren’t properly explained. An example is this: 07/08/2020. This could mean the 7th of August, 2020. It could also mean 8th of July, 2020. To be sure you don’t mislead your reader, spell the month’s name out. This way, your reader immediately understands.
The goal of translation is to communicate. The sole purpose is to communicate the ideas of a particular writer from one language into another. When translating, this should always be at the back of your mind. Also, it is important to maintain a uniqueness which translates to accuracy.
PROOFREAD YOUR WORK FOR ERRORS
It is common to get carried away during the process of translation. Check that all your translated texts have meaning, and their meanings are equivalent to the message of the source text. Also, check for grammatical errors, as this could also lead to ambiguity. Always read the translated text over and over again until it feels right in your ears.
After translation, you can always ask somebody else to read your work. This gives you an edge of what’s missing, and what could be better translated to give a clearer meaning.
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