Dialect is Important in Translation

Dialect is Important in Translation
Dialects do originate from a region in a country but they often define additional factors, like ethnicity or social class. A business seeking a translation of documents and product descriptions designed to be read by those who speak a regional dialect really needs an expert translator who understands the dialect well and can do an expert translation.

According to translation and literature lecturer BJ Epstein, from the University of East Anglia, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain when translated into Swedish used a standardised form of the language. This meant the book’s characters who spoke in a dialect had the main effects of their language more or less eliminated when translated into standard Swedish. This shows the importance of dialect in translation.

Human translators struggle enough with translating different dialects and accents but machine translation tools find it even more difficult. Siri, an Apple voice recognition software, shows this flaw clearly. It has been well programmed to interpret and understand human language, but not when local dialects and regional accents are concerned. A machine translator can’t tackle dialects on its own. It needs to wait until it has been programmed to do so.

A Human Translator develops a relationship with a text

A human translator asked to translate a German dialect will have had the experience and understanding to make a good translation. It’s all about the translator keeping a personal connection with the language so that new audiences who speak a relevant dialect can gain from a good translation. This opens up new markets for businesses who have asked for a German dialect translation.

If you have asked for an oral translation to be put in an advertising campaign for a product, it’s even more important to get the accent right otherwise the expected audience will turn away and that will be business lost. Language is vital as a point of communication, whether in the oral or written form.