Translation is the art of transposing a piece of text into a new language. The original text is commonly referred to as the “source text,” and the subsequent translation is known as the “translation” or “meta-text.” A translator is not to be confused with an interpreter. The former works with written text, whereas the latter works with two or more people to facilitate oral communication.
Many people assume that the translation process consists of swapping each original word for its equivalent in another language. However, this is a misconception. Translation entails capturing the author’s writing style and meaning. It is a complex process that requires not only extensive linguistic knowledge, but also a willingness to accommodate cross-cultural differences.
Very few sentences can be translated word for word. Each language has its own grammatical rules and sentence structure, meaning that sentences have to be translated as complete units of meaning. A translator will need to ensure that the tone of the work remains consistent throughout. They also need to understand idioms in both languages, otherwise meaning may be lost during translation.
The different types of translation
Translators tend to specialize in one or more of the following areas:
Sworn translation: The translation of transcripts, certificates, and other documents that need to be declared legally valid.
Legal translation: The translation of texts that pertain to the law. These are not sworn translations, but they typically require a translator with a legal background because they will have to work with specialist terms.
Technical translation: The translation of instructive text or manuals. Examples include manufacturing guides or assembly instructions.
Informative translation: The translation of non-fiction, mainstream texts such as news articles.
Literary translation: The translation of novels, poetry, and other written works of fiction.
Scientific translation: The translation of peer-reviewed journal articles, case studies, textbooks, and other material of a scientific nature.
Why do we need translation services?
Approximately half (52%) of online content is written in English. The remaining 48% encompasses numerous other languages. This includes Russian (6.6% of content), Japanese (5.6% of content), and German (5.6% of content).
In an increasingly globalized age, businesses need to draw upon reliable translation services to reach new markets. Even though many people in countries where English is not spoken as a first language can read and make sense of it online, customers generally prefer to make a purchase if they can read descriptions in their native tongue.
Businesses rely on translation services for the following: Annual reports, financial projections, aptitude testing, product labels, technical documentation, reviews, marketing copy, brochures, employee handbooks, and more. When expanding into a new market, businesses must ensure that their copy will not cause confusion or offense. A professional translator becomes an invaluable line of defence against embarrassing errors.
Individuals may also need translation services. For instance, if someone moves abroad, they might need to show a new employer or university a translated copy of a birth certificate, degree transcript, or another official document.
The importance of working with a professional translator
Accurate, sensitive translation is a skill. Under no circumstances should you use Google Translate or a plugin. At best, the end result will be slightly stilted. In all likelihood, the translation will be grossly inaccurate.
Unless you are confident in both the original and target languages, you should never attempt to do it yourself. When you need to translate a piece of text, use the best translation website to find the perfect translator. They will be able to work with you to convey both the literal and metaphorical meaning behind the text, allowing you to communicate with people of any language.