Some Common Misconceptions of Translation

Common Misconceptions of Translation

Many businesses still undervalue the importance of translation and don’t really believe that the work of translation agents and translators can really add value to their business. This is one of the common myths of translation, as in fact translation is a serious business and an important addition to any business if it is managed well.

There are however some common misconceptions of translation, four of which are described below.

● If you can speak and write a foreign language, you are qualified to be a translator

This is what many people think, but it isn’t completely true. Having the ability to speak, read and write in a foreign language isn’t a passport to having the qualifications to do translation work. To begin with, it’s not just speaking and writing that are important. It’s far more important to have a much better understanding of the two languages involved.

You can’t just be a bilingual translator with only a superficial knowledge of the two languages you intend to work with. Translating isn’t just about having good skills in the two languages but the way the language is used colloquially and idiomatically is of prime importance and helps to gauge the skills of a translator. No language is free of the culture of those that speak the language. The way things are said in a language depends on the culture of the people who use it so a good translator should be able to become immersed in the culture of the language when doing translation work.

In summary, if you manage a business and you think you will benefit from translating your product’s information for marketing purposes overseas, don’t advertise the job amongst staff who know just a little of the language from holidays. Choose an experienced bilingual translator who has a true feel for the languages involved.

● Translating is an easy task

Translating is not for the faint hearted, as it can place rigorous demands on you. It can not only be extremely time consuming and arduous but complex and intricate too. Concentrating concurrently on two texts in different languages can tax even the best of brains. It’s more than just translating word for word but a total understanding of the subtleties in the languages and the use of certain phrases and vocabulary must be just right.

● Computers are able to do translations

So far, no software program has been able to take over the role of a human bilingual translator. It’s easy to program a computer to translate single sentences but translating language subtleties, particularly in legal and technical documents, has never been achieved so far. Machine translators are only able to provide the gist of a text, but not go into details.

● Professional translations are unimportant

 A professional translator may not always be required, but if the documents to be translated have to be 100 percent accurate or there could be legal consequences, such as providing translated documents for immigration purposes, then it’s vital to use the services of a professional translator.