Dealing With Translation Subjectivity

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Translation aims at building bridges between languages, by making content in one language accessible in another. However, it goes much further than that. It also involves building bridges between the content, and its end reader. This is where the challenge of good translation lies, and it is no easy task.

In a previous post, we explored how India’s explosion in Indian language content is a huge opportunity for translators. More and more websites and apps will need to be localised so that Indian language internet users can take advantage of them. The demand for such content exists and is growing constantly. While translation will help satisfy this need, it cannot just be translation without any regard for external factors.

At the end of the day, translators should be able to do justice to this need, by handling this level of demand without sacrificing accuracy or tone.

Translation Is Subjective

Translation is an art. And like with any other art, it comes with a great deal of subjectivity. No two people feel the exact same way about a translation. This level of subjectivity is also highly dependent on the level and nature of awareness the translator has.

However, the fact remains that the translation must speak to the end reader, subjective or not. The final result must be what communicates to the end reader the clearest. The best way to ensure that this happens is by putting yourself in the reader’s shoes and having a vision of what the translation should be able to achieve for these readers.

Apart from context or domain specific understanding, based on what works with one domain and its content consumers, a translator must work beyond their biases and come out of their own comfort zone to reach out and form a better picture of what a content consumer needs. In addition, a high level of demographic awareness helps a great deal – who will be the end reader of this content, what sort of language connects to them better, and what sort of tone works?

For example, a formal banking document for students can use simple language to explain terms and even retain some English terms, while the same document for government officials can use more complex language and have all terms translated.

So how does a translator build this awareness and ensure that their translation can stand scrutiny – in terms of both relevance and quality?

Building Translation Awareness

Translators receive multiple projects and there can be communication gaps in the finer aspects of what is required.

Each project comes with its own requirements, and a certain style of predefined word choice can help add context, a framework around which a translator can style and phrase their own translations.

Project managers usually create lists with terms and translations that help preserve this context. For example, a project targeted towards college teens from a metro city would sound better with English terms merely transliterated, while something targeted to government officials in smaller towns would require the usage of Indian language technical terms.

Enter Prabandhak

With Prabandhak, our translation marketplace and dashboard for Indian languages, we’ve helped make things easier for translators.

Prabandhak comes with an intelligent, AI powered automatic terminology extraction system that identifies specialized terms in a document. It also features a glossary management system to help build a database of terms which can then be reused.

Instead of using physical lists and having verbal briefings to spell out and define the context of a certain project, project managers can use Prabandhak’s own features.

As a translator works on a certain project, English terms present in the glossary are highlighted and display their required translation automatically, providing a much higher degree of awareness without disrupting the translation process itself.

By allowing translators to work on projects while still having access to a greater degree of awareness, Prabandhak helps equip translators better to deal with the increasing ever demands of this growing demand in Indian language content.

All this without sacrificing accuracy, and while increasing the speed with which work is finished!

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Reverie Language Technologies Limited, a leader in Indian language localisation and user engagement technology solutions for over a decade, is working towards a vision to create Language Equality on the Internet.

Reverie’s language practice is dedicated to helping clients future-proof their rapidly expanding content by combining cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Neural Machine Translation (NMT) with best-practice approaches for optimizing content and business processes.

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