December 30th, 2017

The Problems With Language Translation

By Todd Daon

Anyone who has ever tried to translate between two different languages will understand the problems associated with language translation. These problems have been bugging translators for years. It is not easy to capture the same meaning when translating between two completely different languages.

Language is a communication tool. It can be used in many different ways to express either the same idea, or a completely different idea. The problem arises when translators attempt to translate word for word. This can be disastrous because the context in which the words are used is not taken into consideration. For example, in the English language, the word “market” can mean the stock market, or the fish market. Simply translating the word market to another language without taking into account the context can change the original meaning completely.

Therefore, the human mind is till required to do a translation job well. But the entire translation process can be very time consuming because this means the translator has to read the entire text and rewrite everything in a different language. Some translators have turned to technology for help. They use software to help with the translation.

Unfortunately, most translation software in the market today cannot accurately obtain the semantic meaning of a sentence. So the software has to resort to word for word replacement. And as we have just mentioned above, word for word replacement does not work for translation services. The translator is better off without the software. Here is when another problem arises.

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What happens if a translator fails to understand the meaning of the original text?

This can happen because of cross cultural differences. For example, the word “dude” is used as a friendly term between buddies. There may be no equivalent of the same word in another language. So the translator is faced with this problem: What is another word that can be used to express the same meaning? Sometimes, there is a close substitute. Other times, the translator is not so lucky and has to settle for a word that has a totally different meaning. This depends on the language.

In today’s high tech world, the best software translation services are offered by the search engines. However, the technology is only meant to translate to a level where the reader can still make out what the passages of text are trying to say. Search engines continue to use such software because it is their role to find and deliver content to the end user in the quickest possible manner.

However, the output generated by such software is still far from decent. The reader has to make smart guesses just to make out what the translated text is trying to say.

In view of the above, if you are looking to translate one language to another for publishing purposes, you have to rely on skilled human translators. This is because, to date, there is no technology available that is powerful enough to replace the human mind’s ability to see and understand things in context. That is one up for the human mind against technology.

About the Author: Our Translations Agency is a leading provider of professional language and translation services. Visit our website for Language Translation services. Hire an Italian translator.


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