Why is communication important in translation?

December 17, 2021
Juan Bravo

The importance of translation services in the modern world is greater than ever. One might think that it is not relevant anymore due to popularity of English worldwide, but this statement is wrong. As much as translation might not be necessary in regular conversation, it is crucial in more serious cases. It is true that English is getting more popular, but many people worldwide use it on a basic level, that doesn’t allow them to truly communicate.

Why is communication important in translation?

What do we understand by “truly communicate”? It refers to the goal of professional translations, which is to translate intent and sense of a statement, instead of translating every single word separately.

Cultural challenges in Translation pose one of the biggest translation challenges.


Translation as Communication

Translation is indeed a type of communication – not only interlingual, but also cultural. Its goal is to truly communicate the original message, attending its meaning, while also taking into account the cultural and historical context of the text. Well-executed translation will make your target audience understand your message as precisely as if they could read your mind.

Professional translation experts can convert messages to a language that is completely different than the original one and preserve its sense, meaning and even cultural context.


What type of communication is translating?

Translation is indeed a type of communication – not only interlingual, but also cultural. Its goal is to truly communicate the original message, attending its meaning, while also taking into account the cultural and historical context of the text. Well-executed translation will make your target audience understand your message as precisely as if they could read your mind.

Professional translation experts can convert messages to a language that is completely different than the original one and preserve its sense, meaning and even cultural context.

If you are interested in this topic we recommend you to check the following book by Juliane House.


What is communication in translation?

It refers to the process of communication between the translator and the author of a certain text that is to be translated. It is a crucial process, as without it a translation job can face the serious consequences of a wrong translation.

If you are the author of the text you need to clearly explain the context of your message in case there is any doubdt. The translator will then use his/her expertise to change phrases and words in your text in a way that will ensure that the meaning and sense of the text is fully preserved.

In order to fully understand the importance of communication in translation, we need to be aware that, while looking at the text, translator would see something else than the rest of us. Regular people would see a text that needs to be translated, probably word by word, into another language. A good translator sees possible untranslatable words, hours of work it will take for the text to be translated, words and phrases that can be problematic… All while understanding the context, cultural background, and trying to make the most sense in the target language.


How important is communication in translation? Examples and consequences:

Efficient and constant communication is important as it helps the translator to do the work faster and better. The professional you hire must know what style to use and translate according to it. Sometimes he or she might need to completely change sentence structure and words in order to preserve the context, but thanks to communicating with you he will be fully aware of any changes and the way in which they will affect the meaning of text.

As we already mentioned, unsuccessful interpretation of customer requirementscan lead tobad translation. This can have very serious consequences at very different levels, as you will see in the following examples:

Why is communication important in translation?

The importance of a high quality Business Translation

“Suposse that you have a British company that wants to enter the Chinese market. You need to translate your newest marketing campaign, necessary for return of investment. You make a quick search in the internet and hire some general translation company offering very low fees for the translation of your text. For some reason you did not communicate with your translator first, and your translator does not contact you either. You receive your translation in time, you publish it in the Chinese market, everyone seems happy for the first few days…”

“After weeks of not receiving any new customer from the new Chinese market, you decide to review your marketing campaign. You hire a chinese speaker and ask him if he sees any problems with the translation and why it is not returning any investment. Surprisingly, he tells you that the advertisment is offensive, the translation makes no sense and he wouldn’t buy your product if it was your potential client.”

“This results in a loss of reputation for your company and a very important investment in a new translation and the lost of a chance to enter the market in time.”

You might think this is a very extreme example, but you should acknowledge this is not rare at all. Many translation companies lack specializated translators or have very strict deadlines, which makes it impossible for your translator to contact you for further information in case of doubt.

After all, English and Chinese are completely different languages and professional inexpertise can lead to false friends or untranslatable terms. This may end up being irrelevant or non-attractive, in worst case scenario it can even appear offensive.

Business document translations is a sensitive legal document translation that can assist you to increase your business’s credibility. However, keep in mind that bad translation praxis can bring you the oposite result.


The importance of a good Medical Translation

“Suposse that you are the owner of a major pharmaceutical company that needs to translate the list of ingredients required to create their newest medicine. This is a very important vaccine that will be used to fight back the latest Coronavirus disease. Wrong translation can indicate a wrong substance or procedure, which can be dangerous for customers, plus a disaster for your company and the whole world.”

We should keep in mind that companies from sectors such as pharma and biotech can pose a threat to people’s lives without proper translation. Even translators with great knowledge in the sector may have questions that needs to be clarified to ensure safety of consumers. That is why communication is crucial in translation and should be present at every stage of the process.

As important as a Medical Translation is, a high quality Patent Translation is a key part.


Literary Translation, the Art of Translation

Probably the simplest example of how literary translation can be an art would be the translation of a text that rhymes. In the source language it might sound great, but if you directly translate it to other… It might be chaotic. It is possible to use synonyms in most cases, but sometimes even that wouldn’t work.

Translators specialized in literary translation or in poetry normally need to develop a text from the scratch, make it rhyme and very precisely preserve the context. This way professionals are able to develop text that sounds natural in another language, while keeping the original message. Everyone knows poetry is an art, but remember, if you read a translation of a literary piece of work, give credit to the translator too.


How does translation affect the communication process?

A good translator bridges the communication gap between people from different cultures speaking different languages. Translation is also a mediating process, a process that has very serious implications.  

Some languages are so different from each other that direct translation would deliver wrong message. There are language rules that can exist in one language, but not in another. Therefore, bad translation can possibly destroy our communication efforts.  

These days demand for precise translation is bigger than ever. Private documents, businesses entering new markets, complex transcriptions, medical translations… These things require professional translation approach.


Precise translations at TranslateDay

Here at TranslateDaywe are aware of the importance of communication during your translation. We will not start a translation until we know precisely what you want and what your requisites are. Feel free to contact us for any question you might have regarding our transation, although we will contact you in case there is any doubt when we receive your work.

While also bringing you these free articles from our blog, we make a big effort to bring our customers the best service and hire only the best specialized translators for your use case. All our translations are certified, signed by a professional document translator, specialized in the kind of document of your choosing.

Our professional team of experts can translate your documents and precisely preserve their context, while communicating with you to ensure translation of the highest quality possible. Each of our legal document translation is accepted and approved by USCIS.  We have been significant industry benchmark for the last 12 years, translating to 12 major languages and delivering over 60 000 perfectly translated documents to our clients.

We offer affordable translation prices, fast service and best quality. Contact our translators!

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4 Comments. Leave new

Translator Edmonton
January 24, 2022 8:22 am

Hey I am new to this blog. I am found this blog very useful. Thanks for the nice blog.

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for the translational communication rwanda senior 4 MEC in the 2019

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translation communication MEC 2019 year learning combination

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The importance of communication during your translation to ensure translation of the highest quality.Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject!

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