Translation is the act of changing text from one form or language into another. A translator usually does it. Transcription involves changing spoken speech into a written document. Audio transcription and other forms of conversion are not easy to achieve. Even the best translators are bound to make mistakes. This post focuses on some of the most common mistakes made by translators and how to avoid them.
This is where the translator leaves out some words or phrases when translating. Many translators make this mistake when trying not to be redundant. While you may get away with omitting some words and phrases, sometimes it may affect the overall text. Omission can render a text unintelligible, especially when dealing with complex content.
How to avoid omission
Translators can avoid omission by using synonyms as an alternative for avoiding redundancy instead of omitting words. However, ensure to read the sentence properly and understand its meaning before choosing a synonym. The last thing you want is to change the content or create a sentence without meaning.
Under-translation or over-translation
Under-translation means conveying less than the original text or oversimplifying the content without compensating for the loss in meaning. On the other hand, over-translation means adding content, not in the source text. Over-translation risks making the author say things they never meant to say or tried hard, not to mention.
How to avoid under-translation and over-translation
Translators can avoid these mistakes by sticking strictly to the message in the original text. Do not try adding explanations or your opinions, even if you feel it is lacking. The point is to convey the exact message from the original content. Doing this will prevent over-translation. On the other hand, you can avoid under-translation by not omitting words and compensating for the loss in meaning that naturally occurs while translating.
This is another common mistake made by translators. It involves translating every single word, overlooking grammatical differences between different languages. For instance, adjectives go before nouns in English, while nouns go before adjectives in Spanish. Therefore, This error makes a text appear unnatural and lose its meaning.
How to avoid this mistake
Translators can avoid this mistake by rewriting phrases or sentences so they sound right in the target language. However, ensure not to rearrange them so that the meaning changes. The sentences or phrases should retain the same message with the same feeling and intensity.
Semantic and syntactical mistakes
These mistakes involve grammar, style, and punctuation. While trying to ensure the correct rendition of the source text, many translators keep the same punctuation, maintain the word order, and use the same style as the source language. This results in loss of meaning and other semantic and syntactical mistakes.
How to avoid semantic and syntactical mistakes
Translators can avoid these mistakes by proper contextual conversion of terms and definitions. Ensuring the overall consistency of the translated text can also help.
Other basic tips to help translators avoid common mistakes
Apart from the mistakes above and specific ways to avoid them, below are other general tips for avoiding mistakes when offering translation services;
Follow the instructions
Translators can avoid so many mistakes by simply following the instructions. Translators often shy away from asking questions or expressing their failure to understand something even after googling it because of fear of looking inexperienced or unprofessional. However, this is usually a recipe for common mistakes. Therefore, the key is to always ask for clarifications from the client, especially when working on a complex or large project. This eliminates the guessing from your work, eliminating poor or incorrect conversion.
Re-read your translated text
Translators can also avoid common mistakes by re-reading your text apart from the source text. If you cannot understand what you have translated without referencing the original, your job is lacking. Also, if you cannot understand the original idea, your sentences may be too complex, or the meaning may have been lost while translating. The aim should be for your translated text to convey the message in the source text independently.
Fact-checking can also help you avoid many mistakes. Keep an eye on details. For instance, if there are real-life historical events and facts in the text, look them up on the internet. Remember that translating is not a guessing game. Fact-checking is one of the elements that separates professional translators from amateur ones. Fact-checking will also help you find the correct, generally accepted conversions for historical events and the names of public figures in the target language. It will also help you find the correct historical and cultural translations for given words used in the source text.
Clients often turn to professional translation services to avoid the mistakes above. Professional conversion and transcription services guarantee freedom from the mistakes explained above. Hiring language-specific services like translation service English to Norwegian can also prevent some of the common mistakes.