Translation: It’s Need & Relevance
It’s no hidden secret that the 21st century is hallmarked with seamless and limitless information over the internet. The internet, although heavily dominated by the English language, caters to the 780 crore+ population of the world, which speaks more than 7000 languages and dialects.
With greater internet penetration across various strata of society and different linguistic cultures, the demand for good translation has grown multifold. The majority of internet users do not identify themselves as native speakers of English. Only a fraction of internet users are well-versed in English; some understand English but prefer their respective languages. Most internet users have working knowledge of the language, relying heavily on the translated material.
But what makes a translation worthy of readers’ attention? What are the qualities of a good translation? It is a question that has primarily been a part of the daily lexicon of academics and, lately, businesses operating across the globe in various linguistic regions. The over-simplistic and short answer to this riddle is a good translator. But again, like the roundabout, you are at the soul of a similar question: What are the qualities of good translator?
Well, suppose you are a business, MNC, entrepreneur, solopreneur or just an avid reader looking for the answer to these questions. In that case, you are reading the right article, for we have discussed the qualities of a good translation at length in this article.
Qualities of Good Translation
What makes a translation worthy of readers’ attention and time? What are the qualities of a good translation? The answers to these questions are multifaceted and depend on many factors, some of which overlap. Still, all have the same core: to provide an impeccable language translation hallmarked with a good user experience.
Multiple factors make a translation good. These factors also resonate with the essential prerequisites or qualities of translator. These factors also play an important role in determining the readers’ experience and output quality, among other deliverables.
Qualities of a good translation include but are not limited to the following:
● Flow Appropriation
● Multifaceted Adaptability
● Trend Appropriation or Contemporariness
Want to learn more about these qualities of a good translation? Read on to find out more about them.
Precision is the heart and soul of a good translation. The precision determines the accuracy and reach of the message originally conveyed in the text source. It becomes even more critical when it is used for business purposes or subjects where precision or accuracy is one of the chief KPIs.
For example, precision becomes the driving force of your communication with your target audience when you are a commercial entity operating across multiple linguistic regions. This generally happens with MNCs or organisations working in various multilingual areas within the same country or state. Suppose you are not able to convey the message effectively from the text source into your target language. In that case, all your expansion efforts will be futile as your target audience stands miscommunicated and lost in translation.
This also happens with academic subjects requiring precision and details like medical sciences or legal science. Even a slight change in the original message can have huge and devastating effects.
That’s why precision or accuracy remains one of the most critical factors determining translation success. Whether or not a translation stands the litmus test of delivering the intended message depends on how accurately the translation was conducted.
If precision is the heart and soul of translation, then lucidity or clarity stands to be the blood that the heart drives all across the body. A good translation ensures that the original text’s message is delivered with clarity to the target audience. This clarity itself depends on several factors, which are, more or less, affected by one another as well as the other qualities of good translation.
Why clarity is the queen of hearts is because clarity ensures that the message is not only conveyed to the target audience, but at the same time, the statement also remains easily understandable and relatable to the target audience. The more the target audience gets the translated message correctly, the more likely they will visit more frequently to your web pages or apps, for they got what they were looking for: the required content in their language and that too written with clarity, making it easy for them to navigate through, understand and to base their decision upon it. Clarity simplifies the entire process of pain a user has to go through while reading or to understand something written in a language that the user does not identify with.
The success or quality of translation is also determined by the user experience, which in turn is affected by a multitude of factors, and originality is one of them. Originality in translation refers to the quality of translation that leaves a resembling imprint on the readers’ minds that they are reading the original content itself.
Originality in translation ensures that the readers do not feel disconnected from the translated text because of translation inconsistency and incoherence arising out of linguistic peculiarities. There are many ways in which the translation can be presented as the original text. Using and adapting the linguistic reference and socio-cultural moorings of the target group is one such factor.
For example, the English word renaissance refers to a period in European civilisation that was marked by a revival of Classical learning and wisdom. But when it is translated into Hindi, the word PunarJagran is preferred. Although it does not denote the original literal meaning of renaissance, i.e, rebirth, it is used as the socio-cultural moorings and linguistic understanding of the Hindi-speaking population so that they do not feel detached from the content. The end result is that the Hindi-speaking users use this translated word as the original word and resonate with the same ideas and processes as initially conveyed by the renaissance.
Flow appropriation is an essential prerequisite for a good translation, for it ensures that the original message is conveyed in the same flow, tone and style in the translated content as well. Flow appropriation becomes even more critical in the case of businesses and MNCs operating in various linguistic regions for proper flow for their translated content ensures that the content is not only user-friendly but user relevant also.
For example, when a Tamil real estate builder builds a mansion in the Marathwada region, which is heavily dominated by the Marathi-speaking population, and sells it chiefly to the Marathi-speaking population, his success depends on how accurately he is able to market his product with proper flow, style, and tone to the target audience in the target language.
The same also goes for famous literature pieces of one language being translated into another. For example, the English stories by Ruskin Bond are equally read and enjoyed by all the linguistic regions because the translation of such masterpieces takes into account the vernacular idioms, phrases, tones as well as socio-cultural references.
Linguistic adaptability is not only confined to idioms, phrases, tones, or styles as far as translation is concerned. A good translation is always known to be adaptable to multiple appropriateness relating to the target language and audience. There are many factors that determine this.
For instance, a good translation adapts the original text to the societal norms of the target audience. This ensures that your target audience is not only able to understand and relate to the translation but also does not feel offended by the original language references.
Let’s understand it with the example of rapidly becoming popular k-dramas. The K-dramas draw their origin to South Korea, a country known for its taste for a wide variety of flesh, which also includes those animals — both terrestrial and aquatic — which are either religiously or culturally, in some cases even both, are understood to be in the prohibited category like pork in Islam and beef in Hinduism.
In such cases, the translation succeeds when it adapts to the target audience’s moorings, and preferences like pork or beef are generally referred to as roasted deer or something else which the target audience has no connection with.
Consistency is the key to a good translation. In this case, consistency refers to various linguistic phenomena. For example, there are multiple stages of evolution of a language like old English or victorian English, medieval English, modern English or post-modern English (also known as millennium lingos). It is of utmost importance to ensure that the entire translated text sticks to a single-stage preference. Sometimes, only some particular words are used in italics to demonstrate that the word belongs to a specific language preference.
Among other factors, consistency is also determined by the flow and style in which the translation takes place. Here, it is essential to clarify that flow and style are not only limited to vernacular languages or dialect preference but also include the grammatical and writing formats like the formal or informal style of writing and Chicago format.
Additionally, consistency should also be maintained in font sizes, types, and colours, among other factors. More often than not, it is also expected of an excellent translator to keep in mind the character of individuals while doing translations of speeches. For example, in the United States of America, it’s a pretty commonplace for natives to use the F* word as part of their daily lexicon. It’s not considered offensive in the USA, although some might not prefer to use this. But when a translator translates the dialogues containing the F* word into other languages where it does not have social acceptability, the translator is required to use the nearest possible and most minor offensive substitute for the same.
Trend Appropriation or Contemporariness
Languages are like flowing rivers, they are alive as long as they keep flowing. The same applies to translation as well. With time languages transform, in some cases even transform their linguistic and cultural nuances and social acceptability.
Let’s understand it with the example of the post-modern English language, also known as the millennium lingos. Slangs like flabbergasted, bro, crashed, exhausted, kidding etc., have entirely different meanings as compared to their traditional dictionary meanings. Since language has adapted to the use of such slang and words, so should the translation to ensure that it remains contemporary and follows the trend of the day.
Still confused about the contemporariness of languages. Look at this historical example. In the early 20th century, racism was prevalent in the USA & UK, wherein blacks, Asians, and people of color were discriminated against on the basis of their skin color. Words like Niggers, black booty, kung-fu people, or comparisons of people of color with domestic pets were quite common. But today, using such words, phrases or comparisons is not only offensive but also illegal. In such a case, a good translator ensures that such offensive and unlawful words are often beeped or replaced with less harsh alternatives.
Translation & the 21st century: Why you should bother about it
Translation in the 21st century is often called one of the most voluptuous services for businesses and even otherwise. Having discussed the qualities of a good translation, let’s take a cursory look at the prospects of translation as a service for businesses in the 21st century.
With the rapid development and expansion of the internet and the formation of the global economy, long-term growth for businesses and MNCs has become synonymous with an accurate presentation of their products and services in the language of the target market. This is where you find translation entangled in the parts and parcels of the businesses. You must make sure that you hire the Best website translation service provider for success.
Not only worldwide, but businesses also require translation services even within a linguistically diverse country like India, where there are hundreds of thousands of languages and dialects. It is here that translation and localization service companies like Process9 come to their rescue. In the age of AI and automation, language localization and translation tools like Mox Veda and Mox Wave not only provide result-oriented translation services but also meet all the above qualities of a good translation. Process9 is the best Mobile app translation and web translation service company with decades of industry-rich experience. We are the one that your business needs.
If you are looking to expand your footfall across linguistic regions, wait not. Connect with us for a free and quick consultation.