Although it takes years to learn a foreign language and to use it fluently in writing or communication, it is not unattainable or impossible mission. A translator knows how to do the best translation which will suit desires of the language it is translated into.
People often joke about translation fails; there are a lot of pictures and photos presenting various and funny mistakes.
The purpose of this short article is to avoid those little and horrible mistakes and to do your job in an adequate manner.
- You have to bear in mind that when someone tells you, “Pigs might fly,” it does not mean that pigs suddenly became mythical beings or birds – it means that something is not possible. You should always choose the adequate proverb for the country in which language you are translating.
- You have to be familiar with the right meaning of the word, with the field that you are dealing with. Think about “net,” for example, whether it is related to sport or economics.
- Try to avoid spelling mistakes. This kind of inaccuracies are not likely to be accepted, for example:
Thank you for you’re [instead of your] time.
Are there any dinner specirals [instead of specials]?
- Be aware of punctuation!
Incorrect: Big boy’s drive big toys!
Correct: Big boys drive big toys!
- Your grammar has to be perfect. You need to know where nouns, verbs, adverbs, or adjectives take place in the sentence. Respect the word order and see how the adequate structure of the sentences makes you an excellent translator!
Did John cut an apple with a knife?
Did John cut a knife with an apple?
- Bare in mind names of people and places. They are not likely to be translated! It is acceptable to transcribe them but it is gaffe to change them in that way.
John (Gia, Ivano – Italy, Ivo – Bulgary, Jean – France, Jock – Scotland…)
- Your vocabulary needs to be excellent. Turn two sentences into one, or three if you please, but please, do not change their meaning! It is the worst sin in this field of dealing with language. Sentences need to sound best possible in the language they are translated and they have to be understandable and correct.
Dogging point! (?)
(It may not mean the same thing in Germany as it does in car parks in Essex)
- If your language does not have an adequate word for the one that needs to be translated, you can use apostrophes and leave it as is or you can describe it using the appropriate sentence or homonyms and synonyms. Try to keep it original and not “destroy” it.
- Some jokes cannot be literally translated. So, if the joke you have to translate keeping it funny is about cheap Scots, remember who is considered miser in your country!
- I have already mentioned that your grammar needs / has to be perfect. If not so, you can be laughed about or you can change the meaning.
Your Grammar has to be perfect.
Not: Your Grammar has to is perfect.
Nor: Your Grammar has to will perfect.
Translating and interpreting is not an easy job to do. The fact is that people work on the above-mentioned skills for years and often make mistakes. The interpreter needs to know both languages he/she is working with. If only one language is mastered, the result can be catastrophic. Grammar, verb tenses and vocabulary are essentials in this field of work. If one of these lacks, the job will be done poorly and in an inadequate way. It is important to follow the rules and to respect them.
Stay calm, check everything a dozen times and keep it original, whether you are ordering a shirt or translating official political documents!
About the author
Cristina Oliveira is an English and German translator and works as a freelancer, mainly on the online market. At the moment she is taking a master degree in teaching English as a second language for young learners at the ISCE Douro.
This is the first sponsored post on the blog. From now on, we will occasionally host sponsored posts on the 15th of the month.