Translation is at best an echo.

(George Borrow, English Author, 1803-1881)

Progressively, organizations are finding it important to translate materials into different languages, either for their global endeavors or for an evolving local audience. Translation consists of studying the lexicon, grammatical structure, communication situation, and cultural context of the source language text, analyzing it in order to determine its meaning, and then reconstructing this same meaning using the lexicon and grammatical structure, which are appropriate in the receptor language and its cultural context (Larson 1998:3). Thereof, translation is an art!

There is a huge effort involved in producing a document in any language: research background, writing, editing, proofreading… but there is also a titanic effort in translating the same document into another language.

There is an undeniable connection between time and quality. Something that has been done overnight, don’t expect it to be as polished as something that the translator had some time to review, revise, modify, and furthermore, edit.

To start with, you have to ensure that your source content (text) is clear and precise. To some degree, a bad original document could result in an awful translation. On the off chance that the content is hazy, a good translator will ask you to clarify what you are attempting to communicate. However, it is better if you avoid using jargon or cultural expressions that are understood only in your country when it comes to a general translation.  (Please, let us not confuse this with localization in which the target-language content is adapted to more effectively convey a similar meaning or connotation in the target culture).

It is also important to provide the translator with the meanings of any acronyms and trade names that you consider appropriate. Another  good idea is to provide the translator with some background of the technical information relating to the document to be translated.   By doing so, you will allow the translator to be as accurate and clear as possible as the piece will fit into the whole.

The translator on his/her part should also possess strong knowledge of the source language and target language , make good use of all the tools available such as internet, translation software, and online resources such as dictionaries, forums, glossaries, among others in order to appreciate and capture in the new text the aesthetic qualities of the original. The differences between cultures can be a challenge. Remember the task of the translator is to convey a single message written in two different languages without losing neither the spirit nor the identity.

The fundamental issue for the translator will be to find equivalents that produce in the reader of the translation the same effect that the author intended to cause to the readers to whom the original text was directed. For what a good translation needs to be true to the original and able to stand on its own for a new audience. IN OTHER WORDS….translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes (Günter Grass).

Claudia Ramirez
Claudia Ramirez
Born in El Salvador, Claudia Ramírez is a Lawyer, proofreader, and translator with over twelve years of experience including translation of literary texts. Member of the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI), European Association of Translation Studies (EST), and Asociación Latinoamericana de Estudios de Traducción e Interpretación (ALAETI). Claudia translates from and into Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian) and French.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Adam West says:

    Translation is essentially an effort on the translators part. Translating can be very vital to the success of some aspects of business development.

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