Language Translation For Dummies

Language is a very complex mode of human communication. With hundreds of diverse languages in the world how possible would that be that a person from the east could bring bring a message across somebody in the west without distorting the real message? What if people who speak different tongues gather together trying to talk to one another? How chaotic could it get? Language translation may immediately pop-out to anyone's head as an answer but it's way beyond that.

Language translation is not a piece of cake. It's quite dynamic and needs tons of expertise. The text to be translated is called the "source text," and the language to be translated is called the "target language".

A certain text can be perceived in hundreds of different ways. The primary goal of language translation is to interpret the meaning of a text to the equivalent text of another language. It is essential that the same message is communicated accurately.

Misinterpretation and misconception arise when the language translation is haphazardly done. There are translation services but it needs to be very efficient. Translation must take into account constraints. Here are some factors to consider in translating any language.

Context should be well-interpreted. The context of the source text should always be parallel to the target language.

The rules of grammar of the two languages should be overlooked. A single error in translating the tense of a message can distort the supposed meaning of the original text.

The writing conventions and the idioms of the languages are no second priority. An expression in a certain country differs from the other. What's funny for a Japanese may be offensive to a spanish. Every single expression that will be translated is considered critical.

Another common misconception in translating is that there exists a simple "word-for-word" equivalent between any two languages. Translation is not a straightforward mechanical process. A word-for-word translation does not take into account context, grammar, conventions, and idioms.

Relevant resources are also necessary in order to translate efficiently.

There are also two criteria in determining the quality of language translation: fidelity and transparency. Fidelity or "faithfulness" in translation is measured through the accuracy of the translated text, whether it render the meaning of the source text, without adding to or subtracting from it, without intensifying or weakening any part of the meaning, and importantly without distorting it.

The criteria used to judge the fidelity of a translation vary according to the subject, the precision of the original contents, function and use of the text, its social or historical context, etc.

On the other hand, judging the transparency in translation would appear more straightforward. It can be in the case of word-for-word translations generated by many machine-translation systems. This often results to a humorous and non-sense message.

Words are so powerful that a single mistake in translating them spells a big difference. Language is more than just words and phrases, it is a vehicle for communication understanding.

By: Hayley Davis