Translation / Interpretation 101

In the past, I was working as a translator / interpreter, my boss asked me a question, one day.  The question was “what do you think the objective of a translator / interpreter is?”

Having lived in different countries and worked with several different interpreters, I found that the most important thing when interpreting or translating is to be able to convey the message effectively.  Accurate translation is expected.  On top of the accuracy, effectiveness of communication is what can only be achieved by seasoned human translators.

Nowadays, google translation is becoming better, and the machine does quite accurate word-for-word translation for free, at least for certain language pairs.  Also, internet has made language learning easier so, on top of google translations, there are more multi-lingual people in the world than before.  However, not everyone can understand the meaning behind expressions in foreign languages. Even less people can express the nuance of the original language in a different language without losing its meaning.  Therefore, the value of human translators would be accurate communication of message, instead of translation of words, in multiple languages.

The question would be how we can we can achieve that.  It is not an easy question to answer, and it is something that I keep thinking about so, it is not a definite answer but here are some opinions of mine:

1. Learn to become a good script writer / actor / speaker / listener in multiple languages.

2. To do so, read a lot, write and get peer reviewed, and socialize / work with the people from the cultures that you are translating for.

3. Learn about the subject you are translating.  Be sure to not only learn the jargon in both languages but also learn the concepts and background of the subject.

Becoming a good communicator in multiple languages take lots of practice and experience but it can be done. It would take time but be persistent.

Please feel free to share us your opinions.

©VivMo Projects, LLC

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