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Some people think that translation is an easy job. After all, as long as you know a language other than English, all you have to do is swap out the words, right? Wrong. Translation is a time-consuming and complex job that requires more than just a knowledge of words.
With over 7,000 languages used around the world and more businesses trying to reach people in their native tongue, translators are some of the busiest people on the planet.
It’s All About the Cultural Expression
Translators must know how people in other cultures express themselves. They must understand how to take a statement and make it relatable to their audience. In addition, a word in one language can have multiple meanings in another language. The translator must choose their words carefully to keep the original intent of the message intact. This is where machine translation lacks the skills of human translators. Working with a reputable translation company ensures accuracy in your delivery every time. Especially when it comes to the most difficult languages.
When Languages Pose a Challenge
Some languages are more difficult to learn and translate than others for English and French speakers. Of the three languages that we’ve chosen to highlight, Business Insider suggests that people who have learned one of these languages have likely “invest[ed] at least 1,000 study hours and, in some cases, as many as 2,200 to become proficient.”
Mandarin – There are 909 million native speakers of this language, so it’s an important language to know for global translation. Mandarin relies on tones, “meaning the intonation you put on a word can change its meaning” (Business Insider). Since every sound can change the entire meaning of the phrase, a translator working on corporate video subtitles, for example, must fully understand the context for accurate translation.
Korean – Korea was isolated for many years. The language is very different as it shares no common root with any others. The grammar system is rather complex; the subject goes first, then the object, with the action going last. For example, “I take medicine” in English becomes “I medicine take” in Korean.
Arabic – With so many dialects to work with, Arabic can be complex to translate. Knowing the audience is essential. Not only do English and Arabic have very few words in common, but it also has a 28 letter alphabet, vowels are omitted in writing and writing goes from right to left. But with 315 million native speakers, it’s likely to come up often for translation.
Professional Translators at the Ready
The professional translators at ITC Global Translations work in a variety of language pairs. Not only do they fully understand the words and nuances of the target language, but they also have experience in the field in which they translate. With so much experience and knowledge, it’s clear why we’ve been so successful in serving clients since 1999. For more information and assistance on translating your documents into even the most complex languages, contact us today.