Why Do Native Speakers Make the Best Translators?

When it comes to translating either dialogue or the written word from one language to the next, there is often a bit of confusion and many times words, subtleties or meanings get ‘lost’ in the translation process. However, as economic globalization begins to increase and international relations start to reach an all-high level, it is more important than ever that meanings do not get lost in translation as messages are changed from one language to the next. While it can be difficult to claim that any translation will completely equal the original message whether written or spoken, with the help of professionally trained translators that speak the native language of the message, the translated document can be close.

This is precisely why the field of professional translation services has taken off in the past few years. However, when it comes to professional translations, it is extremely important that the right translator is used and when it comes to hiring a translator there is no denying that many will agree that native speakers make the best translators. At the core of this statement is simply the fact that native speakers will have a much deeper level of understanding behind a language and not only have a familiarity with things such as slang but of the cultural references that tend to pepper modern language as well.

For many of those that deal with international relations, there is absolutely no room for error and by turning to native speaker translators that chance for error gets drastically decreased. This is because these individuals are able to break barriers in terms of not only interpreting the physical text or audible message but picking up on expressions, hidden meaning, metaphors, colloquialism and important cultural references during the translation process. Their work is able to help keep the original meaning of messages in tact in a way that other translators or translating services cannot.

Between issues with grammar, perceptions and even dialect, there is plenty of room for error in the translation process. However, when you have a native speaker translator that truly understands the language and doesn’t just happen to speak that language these errors and important underlying facets of the message can clearly be presented during the translation or transcription transcription process.


Russian Translation and Cultural Approach

Why is it difficult to translate Russian language?
Many people believe that Russian translation is an easy thing and all you have to do is to change words from the Russian text into the equivalent words of the English text. However, this is not true since some phrases, if translated literally, would make no sense. Russian translation is a rather complicated process, that’s why it should be performed by experienced native speaking translators.
Russian language is spoken in Russia and in most of the other Former Soviet Union countries (Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan etc.). Total speakers of Russian are estimated to about 285 million people, the majority living in Eastern Europe and Asia. This factor makes it one of the international languages worthwhile translating products in.

Russian translators should understand the terms and phrases which are appropriate for certain translation situations and people. The other main aspect for an English Russian translator is to understand the Russian way of thinking. Russian as well as every other language reflects the world view of the people, their behavior, stereotypes. So, you can't just learn Russian language, and understand the culture. You need to live in Russia in order to "feel" the Russian language.
Every nation has a lot of concepts and key-words to express them. For example, concepts for English culture are "sense of humor," "gentleman," "freedom," "home." For the Russian culture they are "soul," "heart," etc.
So, a professional Russian Translator has to penetrate into the Russian or English language and use those key words. This way the Russian translation will be an adequate translation for Russian or English speaking people.
Let’s point out the essential translation tips:
- Translate meaning not words!
- Rely on your wits and savvy - it can prove to be helpful when translating a difficult text.
- Ask a specialist or a native Russian speaker to proofread your translation so that it sounds natural. The way documents are organized in one country may not be understood in another.
- Never accept a project which you know is not within your abilities.
- Emulate the original style of the author, be it humorous, wordy, with colloquial or scientific language, etc.
Language nuances do matter when making a professional translation. Russian language is very rich in expressions and a good translator knows to take into consideration all this.


Best Translated Book awards longlist revealed

David Grossman, Per Petterson and Amelie Nothomb are the major names leading the fiction longlist for this year’s Best Translated Book awards, run from the University of Rochester in New York.
Award co-founder Chad Post said the longlist, which takes in authors from 19 countries writing in 12 languages, is “a testament to the number of high-quality works in translation that are making their way to American readers, thanks to a number of talented translators and exciting publishing houses”.
However, with notable exceptions – including Touch by Adania Shibli, translated from Arabic, and Marlene van Niekerk’s Agaat, from Afrikaans – the list is dominated by books first written in European languages. Novelist Orhan Pamuk complained at this week’s Jaipur Literary Festival that writers in languages other than English were being marginalised, with festival director William Dalrymple observing that it was “particularly hard to get American publishing houses to take on translations”, especially those written outside the major European languages.
Almost all the books on the BTB list have come from small independent houses, such as Archipelago Books, Small Beer, New Directions, Bitter Lemon Press, and Graywolf. Read More...


Translation between the EU’s 23 official languages becomes more expensive

In the European Commission, the operating languages are English, French and German, but Commission officials will bump up against many of the other languages in the course of their daily work.
Using all those languages is a costly business. A ruling from one of the EU courts – about a machine translation service – has just made things even costlier, landing the Commission with a compensation bill of €12 million.
The Commission began in the 1970s to develop a machine translation service, known as Systran, that would help staff by translating text in a rough-and-ready fashion, for general purposes rather than for legal perfection.
Systran became a feature of office life in the Commission over the course of the next 30 years. In 1988, 4,000 pages of text were translated by the system. By 1995, the figure had risen to 160,000 pages a year. But after an adverse judgment from a European court last month, Commission officials have been ordered not to use Systran anymore.
The court said in a judgment on 16 December that the Commission had “unlawfully disclosed” the intellectual property of Systran, a French software company specialising in translation technology, when in 2003 it awarded a contract to develop the service to a different company. The court has ordered the Commission to pay €12m in compensation to Systran. The Commission is considering whether to appeal against the court’s judgment.
Analysing alternatives: A message posted on the translation department’s website says that the Commission is “analysing alternatives” to restore the service as soon as possible. Vassiliou’s spokesman said that the Commission was planning to develop a new system to replace Systran, either using in-house resources or an external supplier.
The Commission has not yet decided whether to appeal against the General Court’s decision. It has two months from the ruling to decide. The fine must be paid within three months of the verdict.
The European Commission has repeatedly stressed the important of a robust intellectual property protection regime as a way of ensuring that the EU’s innovative companies get their legitimate rewards for the products and services they develop for the global marketplace. It also wants to improve the business environment for small and medium-sized companies. One lesson of the Systran case appears to be that the Commission does not always follow the advice it gives to member states.


Stormont (Northern Ireland) spends £200K on bilingual translation

The education minister has defended her department’s expenditure on bilingual documents after it emerged that it has spent more than £100,000 since 2006. Overall Executive departments have spent almost £200,000 on translating documents into Ulster Scots and Irish. The DUP MLA Trevor Clarke, who obtained the figures, said they could not be justified.
However Catriona Ruane, whose department had the highest spend, defended the cost. “I make no apology for providing material to children and people working in our school services through the medium of Irish,” she said. “Gone are the days when the Irish medium sector are going to be treated as second class citizens.”
Mr Clarke said although the amount was small, in terms of the total budget, it could not be justified. “You’ve got schools that are still substandard and lacking in maintenance, and they can’t find the money to maintain those schools and keep them up to a reasonable standard for children,” he said. “I would think the money could be better spent.” Read More...