We are all translators!
We are all translators at some point in our lives. We hope you have no doubts about this.
If not, let’s see.
- Whenever we travel and have to communicate with people who speak a language different than our own, we are naturally translating, being translators. This is a subconscious process when we speak the other language well. But if we don’t know the other language well, it can be a real struggle and we have to consciously search for our words.
- Whenever we are in our own country and receive a foreign friend, or tourists approach us in the street to ask for directions, we take on the role of translator at that moment, whether we want to or not, because the circumstances demand it.
- Whenever we help our children with their homework, whatever the language they are learning, be it English, French, German, Spanish or any other, we also must make an effort to communicate or even teach in that language.
- If someone at work asks us to translate a document, an e-mail message or a proposal, we must do it as professionally as possible, and we have to use the best translation techniques that we know. The goal is to get the message across in the best way possible and to ensure the work meets the desired quality standard.
We could continue listing situations in which we all, at some time or another, become translators; professional or amateur, but translators undoubtedly. And, like everything in life, our goal is always to try and do it in the best way possible. It is precisely for this reason that we think it is important to share some simple translation tips with everyone. These tips will certainly help in any situation where you find yourself in the shoes of a translator.
TIPS for OCCASIONAL TRANSLATORS
- If you are translating a written text, read the whole thing through before you start translating. If you are taking part in a conversation, pay close attention throughout.
- Try to understand the intention of the author or speaker.
- Adapt your translation to the person who will be reading it or hearing it. In order to achieve this, you need to know them first.
- Always remember that to translate well you have to correctly interpret the original text or speech.
- Be coherent in the type of vocabulary and terminology that you use throughout your translation.
- If you are using a dictionary, never just opt for the first translation you see; carefully analyse everything the dictionary says about each word and then make an informed decision.
- Be especially careful with “false friends”. They can cost you dearly!
- If it is a written translation, read the whole thing through before you consider it finished.
- Re-read your translation a few hours later. This will help you spot typing errors and inconsistencies that you had not noticed before. (If you can, ask a colleague to read over your translation too.)
- Always make use of your computer’s spell check function. You have everything to gain by doing so!
We hope these simple tips will help you with all of your occasional translations. After all, we are all translators at one time or another.
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If you need professional assistance to translate a text, into whatever language, do not hesitate to contact us by clicking here.