Wednesday, February 16, 2005

What translation is not

Translation is not pairing words or phrases one to one: too many translators (and most customers) seem to think that there is always some word in the target language that is the "correct" translation for a certain word in the source language, and that the same is true for idioms, phrases, and longer pieces of text.

I think that there are various causes for this:
  • not reading and self-editing one's own translation (if translators did, they would more easily realize that it does not make sense, or at least that nobody would say it like that in the target language
  • not understanding what one is translating
  • insufficient knowledge of the industry terminology in the source or target language (or both)

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