Blog

How we provide high translation quality?

Just like any other area involving a subjective factor, translation requires strict rules and procedures to regulate the process and guarantee a high quality end product. Quality assurance is among the most important missions for each agency.

mitraHow we provide high translation quality?
read more

Mary Dobkova from Mitra: “Doing this job is like dancing on the bridge of daily challenges…“

You are an Operations Manager at Mitra Translations. Can you tell us more about the position?

Being an Operations Manager involves having a sense of responsibility, good organization, focus to detail and adequate multi-tasking. Or in other words, this job is a constant dance on the bridge of daily challenges – the client, standing on one side of the bridge, and the translator, on the other. As for me, I am the key acting figure in the middle.

Does working for a translations agency require any specific skills and knowledge?

Our job is specific, just like any other job. The world of translation is developing really fast. We are switching from normal to digital pens; paper dictionaries turn into automated translation memories and termbases; machine translation, that indeed seems to have become quite innovative, almost takes the place of standard translation in Word files; and all of this requires resourcefulness and adaptability. We are sort of like an academy, where we celebrate our victories and learn from our defeats. As someone once said, “A person who doesn’t make mistakes is unlikely to make anything”. It is important that we learn from our mistakes and turn them into an advantage.

Do you experience any particular difficulties?

Of course, but who doesn’t? I love my job and there’s nothing out there that can scare me.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Task assignment 🙂

Which of your personal and professional skills and qualities help you in being a valuable professional?
I have never pursued success at any cost. I would say that loyalty, hard work, dedication and constructive criticism have always been very useful to me.

You are positive and cheerful. To what extent does your attitude help you do your job better?

I am pleased that I have left such an impression on you. This is probably because you haven’t seen me hit the ceiling J. I think we should have a good balance of working hard and having fun. About positivity – I believe in my own potential. I believe that when a person truly wants something, anything is possible.

What goals do you have in your career?

I have been working at the company for seven years and I can say one thing with absolute certainty – it has developed tremendously over the past years. My wish is that we continue developing and succeeding with the help and support of Mina Ilieva, Dilyana Ilieva and Teodora Todorova, and also thanks to the high motivation of each and every one of the team. Personally, I like seeing my colleagues being happy with what they do and I would be pleased if I can contribute to that being the case.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work in your spare time?

I love all types of dances. I’m just getting started in salsa dancing and that brings me a tremendous amount of joy.

 

mitraMary Dobkova from Mitra: “Doing this job is like dancing on the bridge of daily challenges…“
read more

Methods of translation

Depending on the way we approach translation and the methods we use, we can divide it in several categories. Today translation is a highly-developed practice and there are plenty of perspectives and classifications, systemizing the various approaches to it. However, the most popular and frequent methods are the following:

mitraMethods of translation
read more

Specific features of medical translation

When translating medical texts, we take into account the various rules and requirements associated with these texts. This is a strictly specialized type of translation and requires increased attention; the most frequent medical documents we translate: leaflets, clinical protocols, patient journals and information leaflets, e-trainings and patents.

mitraSpecific features of medical translation
read more

Machine translation – will machine translation ever beat human translation?

The concept of fully automated machine translation was originally conceived in the 17th century but was actually pioneered in the 1950s. Whereas, centuries ago it was just a philosophical concept, for the last few decades a lot of success has been achieved in making it a reality and in underpinning its practical application.

The practical application comes soon enough – actually, the idea for less human involvement in translating texts constitutes the triggering factor for introducing machine translation as an option. Human translation can be summarized in the following two points:

  1. Decoding” the meaning of the source text;
  2. Rendering the contents into the target language.

This seemingly simple procedure actually constitutes a profound and complicated cognitive process. In order to adequately decode and transfer the contents, one should have in-depth knowledge of grammar, semantics, syntax, idiomatic expressions, etc. Of course this is a stumbling block for machine translation, as computers are not capable of processing information as well as the human brain. The main challenge for people involved in the development of machine translations is to invent a computer which is able to process information differently and enter new text which is adequate enough so no one could tell apart machine translation from the human version thereof. For modern technology this proves impossible. It is quite difficult to create a machine text that comes even remotely close to the quality of human translation. Nonetheless, various approaches deliver promising results.

  1. Rule based machine translation. This approach can be applied to translations in very similar language pairs, e.g. Bulgarian/Serbian, Swedish/Norwegian, Finnish/Estonian. This method allows for making relatively adequate translations based on the matching linguistic and grammar rules and forms of the relevant languages.
  2. Interlinguistic method. This is maybe the most commonly used method. It is processing of the source text and transferring it in an “intermediate language” – a program selecting the most common grammatical and other types of rules valid for the greatest number of languages. The target text is the result of this intermediate process.
  3. Dictionary based machine translation. No unnecessary treatment of information – here we’re not looking for the specific meaning of a given word but we translate the meaning referred to in the dictionary.

There are also other approaches, for instance, the statistical and the hybrid approach, but they are less widespread. Various methods can become useful in different ways when it comes to different types of translations. Take, for example, the statistical approach – it works best in translation of documents and legal terminology as a whole, as it respects the formal way of expressing your point.

Yet another challenge is the translation of non-standard languages. Translation of dialect and slang words and phrases can become a real catastrophe if you don’t do everything possible to avoid ambiguities. None of these conditions, however, is enough to make the machine translation sound like human translation, no matter how much you adhere to the correct meaning.

Despite the apparent superiority of human intellectual work over the machine writing and translations, the successful application of MT opens up new technological horizons. Work facilitation needs new ideas in the field of programming and understanding language as a whole. This action is practically impossible for the machine – when we work this out we will be one step closer to discovering artificial intelligence.

 

mitraMachine translation – will machine translation ever beat human translation?
read more

Mixing styles in translation

Mixing language styles in one of the most frequent mistakes in translations. The whole point of different styles is to differentiate between situations and contexts. Mixing styles can therefore lead to incorrect translation: lack of clarity, blunders, loss of the text’s spirit, atmosphere (if it’s a literary text), etc.

Such mistakes become the most obvious when scientific terminology is used in literary text or in dialogue from it, or in the opposite case, where lyrical, artistic words are used in scientific, legal or advertising documents. The formal/business style, the journalistic style and the scientific style may be combined, but they should not be mixed with the literary style.

N.B. Advertisements often contain words from the literary style, such a ‘soft’ and ‘fluffy’, but in most cases this makes them sound comical and does not inspire confidence.

The most important aspect of translating literary texts is to create a convincing text that best describes the author’s view, even at the cost of using words that are not exact equivalents. In other words, in order to achieve contextual accuracy, words that are not direct translations are allowed. However, the use of terms, loanwords and idioms that are out of context is inadmissible. It would bring confusion and ruin the general mood of the piece, depending on the type of text we’re working on.

When working with any of the other styles, mixing them with each other is more acceptable. A text can successfully combine the scientific, journalistic and business styles. And so can its translation, because for those styles, literal translation and the preservation of the exact meanings of words must be observed. The only factor we should pay specific attention to is the words with several meanings, which are typical for this style.

Only linguists with a high level of knowledge and many years of experience can create a coherent and convincing text. You can immediately sense it when even the less important words in a text sound out of place. ‘Sense’ is the right word to use. A translator’s sense, intuition, is one of his/her crucial qualities developed through years of practice. It takes a lot of general knowledge to understand and translate the terms and words characteristic to different language styles. The art of translation lies in choosing the most suitable word for the context. Even more knowledge is required when a word has different meanings in the different literary fields. Technical and scientific texts rarely contain words with unpredictable meanings; terms and words of non-artistic nature prevail in them. In recent years, more and more young people who lack even the basic knowledge to be translators have come into the translations field. This creates obstacles for the specialists in their development, even though the work they do is of high quality. Sadly, the quality of a translator’s work is directly proportional to the years of experience. Translation has all the characteristics of an art, and just like any other art, it is both about senses and about the work that develops these senses, this intuition, with the years. Young people should be given the opportunity to develop, but not at the expense of the quality of work we strive for. The best solution to this problem would be to improve the selection process of specialists, to apply a more efficient filter when establishing how skilful they are with language.

mitraMixing styles in translation
read more

Translating idioms

Quality translation has its subtleties, one of them being the correct and understandable rendering of idioms. Any translated text needs to be understandable, and when we’re dealing with language units like idioms, choosing the right words requires a special skill.  One of the main advantages we need is a good knowledge of all the languages we’re working with.

An idiom is a set language form, typically with a figurative meaning, in a phrase or a whole sentence. This can include some slang forms and sayings found in works of art. Such expressions usually have a very clear meaning, however metaphorical.

In order to convey them, the following rules should be kept:

  • literal translation is only acceptable for idioms that are unambiguous, even when we’re working with different languages (most commonly in phrases like ‘Sisyphean task’);
  • idioms that are whole sentences should not be translated literally, for example ‘It’s raining cats and dogs.’;
  • the message of the idiom should remain unchanged, it has to be correct in terms of context and facts, regardless of the words used;
  • using loanwords is unacceptable, because most idioms have the same contextual meaning in the different languages;
  • language styles should not be mixed. This was already implied in the above rules and from the fact that idioms are only used in literary texts.

Translating new idioms whose meaning isn’t completely clear to the public, for instance in slang of dialect speech. These expressions don’t usually have equivalents and are characteristic of certain geographical regions. If a translator knows the area well, he or she has an advantage when dealing with such expressions.  Think of London’s very own Cockney rhyming slang: even the locals don’t understand it. For expressions of that type, a translator needs to muster all his/her creative thinking to come up with the right equivalent words. Or to think of a completely new expression with the same meaning.

It’s the same with dialects: knowledge in cultural geography is a big plus. Finding new expressions is not a priority here; in most cases it’s not necessary. Dialect idioms require a very small change during translation, and that change is different from what we described above. Dialect speech typically omits sounds in words or uses words that are specific for the geographical area. Such words are especially tricky and their translation requires creative thinking and the choice of the closest synonym.

These are the rules we need to follow with regard to specific expressions in literary texts. A linguist’s most reliable helper in this case is his or her own general and cultural knowledge.

 

mitraTranslating idioms
read more

Why do digital publishers need a translation agency?

The translation business went through drastic changes with the advent of the Internet. Easily accessible even on mobile phones and tablets, e-books and e-magazines have more and more users. The digital format and Internet connectivity make them easily accessible to the wider public, without geographic limitations. An online magazine or book is literally a click away from readers from all over the world.

You understand the unlimited possibilities this offers the translations business.

Because access to different types of content is a lot easier (articles, magazines, books, etc.), publishers and editors need a translation agency as their reliable partner who can translate that content into the language of the users and, of course, localize it.

 

Don’t underestimate the translations of your texts this could become a catalyst for your business!

 

Here’s how: Let’s say you have a German client who approaches you to write an article or to maintain their blog in German. These texts need to respond to the needs of the local community. Editors and copywriters are not supposed to speak German – their job is to create an efficient text that meets particular client and audience requirements.

Surely you don’t want to refuse the job just because you’re not fluent in German.  Here’s where the translation agency comes into play. As your partner, they will not only translate the text, but also localize it according to the needs and specifics of the audience.

 

Hiring a translation agency will allow you to step into a broader market in terms of languages, and your projects will be finished in an efficient and timely manner.

Mitra Translations offers professional translation services for businesses and for multilingual content creators. The languages we speak and in which we do professional translation: see HERE.

Professional translators guarantee more than a simple translation for your articles or documents. They turn language into a key advantage in the work process thanks to multilingual publishing. The translation agency guarantees you a global auditory, all the while keeping the content of your article unchanged.

 

When you use the services of a professional translation agency, the translated version of your article will be so effective that readers in different countries will be able to communicate with it in the same way as with the original version. We hope you understand that this gives you an advantage as a competitor.

 

The ever increasing demand for translations into different languages in electronic format requires that publishers work closely with a professional translation agency. This way they can provide quality translations to their users, texts that correspond to the needs of the readers in the respective language without bringing any changes into the content and meaning of the original.

This broadens the geography of your business, not to mention profit.

 

Contact us now! Let us win new clients and conquer new business territories together!

 

mitraWhy do digital publishers need a translation agency?
read more