The Importance of Culture in Translation Work

Translation is not just the activity of translating word by word from the source language to another language. This cannot guarantee quality translation as one language cannot express the actual meaning of the other if the transalation concentrated on words only.

In fact there are differences between the meanings built in and the meanings that must be captured and expressed. A translator might face a lot of difficulties while translating from one language to another. This is why a translator working with a Translator Toronto or New York based company needs to think differently by directing their attention to different aspects of the environment.

Translation is not simply replacing words with similar meaning but of finding appropriate ways of saying things in another language. For accurate translation from the source language to the target language importance must be given to the culture of the target language. It is the cultural aspect only that can help in communicating the message in the way it should be. Plus, it also helps in avoiding misunderstandings.

Before beginning the translation work, it is essential for the translator to do some research on the lexical content and syntax of the target language along with the ideologies, value systems and ways of life in a given culture. This will help the translators to have an idea about the audience in both languages and different elements of the target language. For example there is a lot of difference in the way French is spoken in European countries and in Canadian states and the same goes with English too and any translator in Toronto or Montreal or in some European city will have to take the differences into account.

Key cultural elements to consider while translating:

1) Customs and tradition are part of a culture and for translating a translator must be aware of these aspects. Be it a marriage or a funeral, a festival or some vows, any translator can get into problems if he/she translates without comprehending or understanding the significance behind the occasion. For example, in a Christian marriage, the exchange of kisses is part of the ceremony while the same would be totally inappropriate. Even expressing feelings in public is outrageous here.

2) It is important to verify the connotation of the product name in a foreign language, as there might be different meanings of the same word in different languages. This is even more important when the translation is done for a global marketing campaign.

3) Anything humorous must be treated carefully as the target audience might not appreciate the way it has been written or even understand it. Thus, translation and linguistic expression must be viewed within the wider societal and cultural environment.

4) Keeping in mind the target audience, the grammar, punctuation and vocabulary should be used as it impacts the style of the language.

5) Also consider other cultural factors too such as pictures, symbols and colors as the same picture might have negative connotation in some other country. For example the color white is associated with mourning in Japan but in most of the European countries it is the black color that represents mourning. In the same way even pictures can have a cultural or political implications and can sometimes cause a problem with the target audience.

Thus, for a good translator working with a Translator Toronto or New York based company it is important for him to a thorough understanding of the culture of the source language as well as that of the target language apart from their hold in linguistic. When looking for translation service in Spanish Translation or say German Translation make sure that the company gives due importance to the cultural aspects of both the source and the target language.

Source by Albert Carter

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