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Risks Involved in Translation

As information makes its way across countries and is made accessible either to larger numbers of people or to smaller target audiences, it is constantly being translated into several languages. There are numerous advantages to translation; for example the information is now available to a larger audience that once did not have access to it. This happens when a company is trying to market its product and create awareness about its benefits in other countries.

Information may be translated for publishing in technical or scientific journals or it may be translated by companies to facilitate the working of their staff in new countries. In both cases the information takes on a certain importance, especially when it is scientific or technical in nature, or if it has legal implications.

It is with the growing demand for translations that translators have gained in position, more so as good translators are difficult to find. If chance be that a company or publishing house has large amounts of content that needs to be urgently translated, this could well be a herculean task.

Risks Involved in Translation

  1. Certain words found in one language may not be available in the language it is being translated into.
  2. Sometimes, a single word may have two meanings in a particular language. In such as case, the translator is expected to be skilled to know the difference and render the word in the right meaning.
  3. A word may have an innocuous meaning in one culture but might take on a derogatory meaning in another.
  4. In an effort to save both time and money, many companies are turning to machine translations (MT). MT might be a great idea if one quickly requires just the gist of the message; however, these translations are not known for their accuracy.

Other challenges of course are linked to locating a highly trained and experienced translator who is adequately skilled in two or more languages and is able to translate keeping in mind the nuances of the language and also being faithful to the spirit of the original document.

Advantages of Outsourcing Translation

With translation being a highly precise and skilled task, most companies prefer to outsource translation to a professional agency. This of course has numerous advantages.

  1. Access to professional translators with extensive experience.
  2. Access to accurate translations. This is especially important if the documents are legal or likely to be published by the company.
  3. Ability to meet tight deadlines, sometimes within a few hours.
  4. Cost benefit, especially if the translation is limited to a few pages or for a specific period of time.
  5. Easy online access to quality translators at competitive rates.
  6. Time zone advantage.

This being said, it is important to note that there are also numerous limitations to translation; it is here that the phrase 'lost in translation' gains renewed significance.

Translations may have more than just linguistic value attached to them; in a corporate context for example, it may have the company's name and prestige attached to it. Keeping in mind the limitations of translations, it is therefore important to choose a translating agency through a rigorous selection process. It is best to choose an agency that understands your business objectives and ethics and delivers uncompromising value.

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