Simply speaking a language doesn’t mean that someone can necessarily translate it. There are many factors to keep in mind when it comes to translating languages. Some of those considerations can be cultural as well as the meanings attached to particular words. There are many cases where a word or two can have an entirely different meaning, and it can be the difference between building or destroying a relationship or opportunity.
Here are four tips to help you avoid some of the pitfalls of translation.
1. Be Specific
Being specific is important especially when legal documents require translation. Time is generally of the essence particularly if there is a court date set. Legal language at the best of times has its peculiar meaning, and if legal terminologies fail to translate as intended, it adds another layer of complexity that can have major costs and consequences. For this reason, having people who understand the meaning and then carefully translate is imperative.
2. Getting the Syntax
Right If the syntax is not right, confusion can result if the grammar, structure and the order of words aren’t correct when translating. Your documentation could end up sounding unintelligible and meaningless as well as lacking professionalism. Remember, there may be words in one language that don’t have a counterpart in another.
3. Finance and Numbers
Translation isn’t always about words. Numbers need to be correct too. Firstly, consider punctuation and where to put the comma. That can have an enormous consequence. Some countries don’t put the comma in numbers in the same place we do. Secondly, the finance industry uses a lot of unique technical terminologies which can make it challenging to translate especially if the words are specific to finance only. Having specialists who can understand the nuances of finance terminology and the culture is a must.
4. Some Words Have Multiple Meanings
Just because there is a word in one language doesn’t mean it has the same meaning in another. Think about words like ‘bank’. In English, it can be a financial institution or the part of land near a river or creek. As you can see, you can’t just translate the word ‘bank’. Likewise, if you want to convey “running a business” in English, it’s essential to understand that this may not make sense if the word ‘running’ in this context may not exist. So it’s never a case of just exchanging one word for another.