Most people who do not know two languages can translate well but, in fact, do not. Why is that? What creates this gap between knowledge and performance?
Almost all translators got into the work by chance. After working in another field, bilingual people were asked to make their work understandable to those who spoke other languages. They do it as part of one of their jobs. The only training that many translators receive is professional training.
Translation involves substituting a text message in one language (source language) instead of the same message in another language (target language). The problem begins with the mistaken notion that the correct meaning of a word is a function. Accuracy is not enough. The translator must have a “sense” of the target language. He has to be skilled at it.
Smooth requires more than knowing. One needs to be familiar with the level of language, and its unusual means of conveying meaning. It is not a natural trait. You can get it by listening and learning more. The translator should read and frequently consult popular media (newspapers, magazines, radio, and television). He should also read popular books. This gives the translator an idea of how the language conveys meaning in everyday life. Due to a lack of fluency, the translator produces an acceptable but robust version.
Another misconception is that translation involves a one-step process with the help of a dictionary. It is sadly incomplete! In 1540, the French Humanist, Etienne Dolet, proposed five principles on how to translate correctly from one language to another:
1. The translator must understand the meaning of the original word and clarify the obscure elements.
2. The translator must have complete knowledge of both the original language and the target language.
3. The translator should avoid word-for-word renderings.
4. The translator should use regular expressions.
5. The translator must select and edit the words to make the correct pronunciation. (Bassnett-McGuire, Translation Studies, 1980, p. 54)
You might think: Why do I need a human translator? I will just use the free translation machine available online. Yes, you could. But it will not work well. You will find a mongrel to translate word for word. Until the translation process is complete, arrange to use human translators. In the days of the telegram, a woman who was visiting London phoned her husband about buying expensive wool: “I found some good wool, should I buy it?” He also sent a cable: “No price too high.” But the telegraph operator forgot to add a comma like this: “ No, the value is too high. “Messages are more than words. A sentence is a unit of meaning, not a word. Cicero, Horace, and other Roman writers. not word for word.
I have updated the Dolet Principles to 5 steps. You can take certain steps mentally. You can combine some. But you can’t skip anywhere without damaging the result. These steps are:
1. Identify the purpose of the text (Descriptive, Descriptive, or Convincing).
2. Explain the text in the original language. Provide explanations, rewrite jargon, and spell acronyms.
3. Produce complex but complete translations in the target language. An explanation should all be present even if the expression is not clear.
4. Produce a translation of sentences in the target language. It should be as if it were written in the target language.
5. Evaluate the effectiveness of translation into target language speakers. Is it clear? Do they understand?
You can translate well if you follow 5 steps in a row. Keep in mind the purpose of the text. You must specify the text in the original language. Then you have to produce difficult translations in the target language. Next, you should produce an idiomatic translation in the target language. Lastly, you should check the performance of the translation on the speakers of the target language. Finally, the ability to translate well depends on your ability to write well in the target language.