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Keys For Successful Translation

Translation may seem to be an easy job but it is actually quite an arduous task. Before giving you the main keys to be successful at it, you better know that translating has its own vocabulary. To begin, you should know that translation consists of transcribing an original text, which is known as the source text, into another language, which is called the target text. Of course the person translating is the translator. Furthermore, you have to know that “A language” is the mother tongue (or a strict equivalent) of the translators or interpreters; the “B language” is a language in which they are able to speak fluently but that is not their mother tongue; and “C language” is the passive language, the one in which they do not work but understand. Moreover, the world nowadays is living in the age of modern technology. Therefore, a common way of translating is the C.A.T., an abbreviation for Computer Aided Translation, which means using computer softwares as an assistance for translation.

If you achieve to assimilate this knowledge and you know the basic vocabulary for translation you will be ready to learn the keys of success. The main purpose of translation is to make a text understandable for people. Therefore, first of all, before starting to translate, you have to make sure that you have understood the correct meaning of the text. You must read it several times and search for the words you do not know or do not understand. Trying to translate a text you do not even understand would be a huge mistake. Also reading and rereading enables you to identify the writing style of the author which is something you have to maintain.

Once this is done, it has to be borne in mind that the translation must reflect the source text at all costs, particularly the meaning. You cannot make a word-for-word translation because the order of the words is not the same in every language. For instance, “the blue butterfly” is the English way to say “le papillon bleu” in French (papillon = butterfly; bleu = blue).

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you have to find the best equivalent of the words, expressions, abbreviations and proverbs. In case you didn’t know, a lot of expressions and proverbs have their equivalent in other languages. Sometimes the translation is really funny. Take the example of the expression “to kill two birds with one stone” in English. In French you say “Faire d’une pierre deux coups”, which means hitting twice with one stone. The expressions are very similar but are not the same. Speaking of finding equivalents, you have to know that most of the time proper nouns are not translated for monuments. For instance, you don’t translate “The Big Ben” into “El Grande Ben” in Spanish.

Furthermore, it is also very important to respect the physical aspect of the text. Preferably you want to keep the same typeface the same size and colour. Of course, you have to respect the number of linefeeds, paragraphs and subparagraphs too.

When you have gone through all these steps, the last one is to review, proofread and correct your target text. By doing so, you can find out if some sentences are not written the best way, you can avoid omissions and typing errors, and you can fix spelling and grammar mistakes. The proofreading must be done by another translator to ensure that you did not make any mistakes, because two sets of eyes are always better than one!

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