10 Secrets all Translators Know But Others Don’t|
Common knowledge is that translation involves adapting one language into another. Sounds easy to some, but those involved in this intricate process would know that there’s a lot more to it. In fact, translation is a full-time job that takes professionalism, skill, qualifications, and years of experience.
So, whether you’re a newbie in this field, or interested in learning more about it, here are 10 secrets all translators know, but others don’t…
1.It takes more than just knowing a language
Just because someone knows a language, it doesn’t mean they are able to translate it. Being a translator is a skill and a profession, and most of the time, the job requires some sort of qualification – either a degree in the said language, or certificate from the American Translators Association. It also involves keeping up with translation trends and technology.
2.Translating TO and FROM are very different
Unlike some may believe, a translator who’s able to translate into a specific language, might not necessarily have the ability to translate from it. For instance, if a linguist is proficient in En-Ar translations, that means he/she can translate from English into Arabic, but not the other way around. If they were able to do vice-versa translations as well, it would be labelled En-Ar-En.
3.Most translators have specialisations
It doesn’t take just ‘anyone’ to translate a medical document or conduct SEO translation. Intricate and specific translations need expert linguists who specialise in a specific field. Most of the time, they have vast experience in a particular industry, or perhaps educational qualification in the said field. Whether it’s a financial, or gaming document, a translator who specialises in this field is best suited for the role.
4.Translating fiction and marketing is the hardest
Contrary to popular belief, translating fictional or marketing content is one of the toughest jobs for a linguist. While technical content usually stays the same in terms of context, fictional or marketing material usually needs a little bit of adaption or creativity to suit cultural differences in audiences.
5.Translation and interpretation are different
What makes someone a translator, certainly doesn’t make them an interpreter. Indeed, both jobs involve adapting one language into another, but there is a difference between the two. Most translators would agree that translation and localization is a lot more advanced and requires more time and careful thought. People usually specialise in one or the other (although there are a few people who do both translation and interpretation as a job).
6.Translating/writing subtitles is complex
Those subtitles you read whilst watching Netflix have had a lot of work put in behind them! Subtitling can be a complex task for translators as the process has specific rules – certain languages limit the word count; some have certain lengths for the subtitle line; they need special attention when considering the deaf; and readability is also a crucial aspect.
7.Machine translation shouldn’t replace humans
Machine translation vs human translation – the never-ending debate. One thing a professional translator or language service provider will tell you, is to never opt for machine translation. Google Translate will not accurately translate your content, and it is certainly not the easy or cheaper way out of a project. Make sure you have a qualified linguist or professional translation company handling your translation so you can guarantee quality!
8.Translation technology is a thing…
…And it shouldn’t be confused with machine translation. Translators and language service providers are big fans of this technology as it can make the human translation process a lot easier, quicker and a lot less monotonous. Tools like translation memory or CAT tools are just a few of the software us linguists use to stay organised and manage a translation.
9.Humour is difficult to translate
It may seem easy, but humour is actually one of the hardest things to translate. Linguists have to be extremely skilled and fluent in both languages in order to correctly translate a joke or pun. Different locales have different senses of humour, and certain jokes won’t come across well if the exact same words are used when adapting the message.
10.Freelance translators are just as busy
You might have an image of a freelance translator lounging on the sofa in their pajamas with a laptop in hand. In fact, it’s very different. These individuals work just as hard as an in-house translator would, and they even sit at a desk for hours, and sometimes nights on end. Holidays aren’t always ‘days off’, either!