Translation Can Be a Risky Business

Translation Cab be Risky Business

There is a belief that languages cannot be perfectly translated into one another. This belief is not necessarily true as the ways people conceive the world whatever language they speak are much the same.

If people saw the world in completely different ways then an accurate German translation may not be possible as it would not truly represent what the person is trying to say and the real meaning may only rest in how it is said in the source language.

Language structure may be different

Every language has its own specific structure. It is true to say that it is far easier to translate a language which has a simple structure. For example, a simple English sentence has a subject, then a verb, followed by the object such as “They eat vegetables” or “They eat meat.” However, in a language like Persian, the order is somewhat different. In Farsi, the structure of a simple sentence has the subject first, then the object and ending up with a verb. In Arabic, the pronoun “they” is included in the verb. Any German translation service, for instance, needs to have experienced German English translators that are clear about the word order in a sentence.

Idiom usage is another example of word use which is specific to particular languages. The way the words are used makes it particularly difficult for machine translators to get the gist of the sentence because idioms do not necessarily follow clear language rules. The translator needs a deeper understanding of the language’s culture to enable a good translation to take place.

Compound words are another difficult language feature, especially in languages like German, that can cause problems for English German translators. When two words are put together as compound words the overall meaning often changes, such as the compound words anytime and seashore. The compound word bookworm can be particularly confusing as it is both an idiomatic expression and a compound word which changes the meaning of the two words when they are put together as a compound word. Butterfly is a word in itself by if the two parts of the word are separated they convey different meanings as individual words.

It is these complexities in languages that make it even more important when translating to engage the services of an experienced and knowledgeable translator and not use online translators like Google Translate.