All posts tagged: translations

Translation of financial texts

Translation of financial texts

Financial texts are characterized by particular detail and accuracy. Not only do they seek precision in language but they also need swift transmission of the information. It is important that translation does not waste the economic brevity which is indeed the main attribute that makes these texts especially interesting and useful.

mitraTranslation of financial texts
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Methods of translation

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:

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Specific features of medical translation

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.

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Mixing styles in translation

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.

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Translating idioms

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.

 

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Guidelines for the translation agency

Guidelines for the translation agency

No company can do everything on its own; we all use the services of accountants, translators, solicitors. Don’t forget that you’re more than a client for these providers, you are their manager.

When you turn to a translation agency, you should know what guidelines, or instructions, to give the translators for that particular text. The translators will do all the work; that’s what you pay them for, but if you want to make sure the translation will come out perfect and according to its original purpose, state your requirements and give instructions for the job. Here are the basic guidelines to give a translation agency when you want to use its services.

mitraGuidelines for the translation agency
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