Friday, August 10, 2012

Common Problems Faced During Translation


Translation, being a growing field, has been much analyzed and talked about. Several conclusions have come up regarding its nature, the obstacles one faces during translation, traits of a translator and the process that is to be followed. Some common problems that occur during the translation process are -

* Reading the original language poses a problem to inexperienced or unskilled translators. It is not just the verbal fluency of a language that is required. The skills to read and write it are sometimes more important.

* The translator could have a problem in comprehending the language too. This could be because of lack of proficiency in that language or complexity of the language or the personal interpretation of the translator.

* The translator sometimes brings in his own beliefs and experiences in interpreting a document. This could potentially harm the document's accuracy, intent and effect. This is a natural problem to occur with every translator but it must be fought against. The focus of the translator must be on the client and his needs.

* Lack of knowledge of the source language. The translator should ideally be a native to that language. That is the only way to ensure comprehensive translation of the content, complete with colloquial understanding of expressions, humor, slangs, hidden meanings, culturally significant content, etc. Some translators only deliver the word to word translation or the superficial meaning of the text. This leads to a loss of the text's core meaning.

* Semantic (which includes aphorisms, standardized terms, etc.) and the cultural (which includes idioms, proverbs, puns, etc.) difficulties of translation. Translators should know all the characteristics of the language.

* Language can be misused unintentionally. While using a particular expression, the intentions of the translator could be innocent, but the actual meaning of the expression in the targeted language could be offensive or sordid. Know your language, and if you do not, then inform the client in clear words.

* There are some rare words whose meanings escape, not only the general public but also the dictionaries. The translator should have enough common sense and intuition to come up with the closest possible word for it. Only a thorough understanding of the language and the field of translation warrants such advanced skills. Contextual understanding of the document is extremely important.

* Being faithful to both languages. There are rules and cultural differences to be considered in both languages. It is difficult to express exactly the same meaning in another language at times. There are sometimes no equivalents for certain words or expressions. The most a translator can do is come up with the next best alternative word.

All these problems that are faced during the translation process can be combated with experience, taking up wide variety of projects and through a constant improvement in language skills.

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