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First Translation Draft: Overcoming Challenges in Translation

First Translation Draft: Overcoming Challenges in Translation
on July, 11 2014
Image credit: NuvolishTranslation taken by Honsvu under Public Domain.

Image credit: NuvolishTranslation taken by Honsvu under Public Domain.

For a newbie, the first draft of the translation of an article or a text is usually the most difficult. This is the rawest version of the translated text and mistakes are inevitable. Thus, dealing with the first translation draft the right way helps in making the next drafts easier.

Here are some tips that will help ensure a good output after the first translation draft:

1. Be Realistic

Don’t pressure yourself to translate everything and have a perfect result on your first try. If there are ambiguous sentences or phrases that you cannot understand, just put a note or a mark on them so you can get back to them on the next pass.

2. Read the entire text first before translating anything

It is important that you understand the text and know its audience. It is also important to know the tone of the material. If there are some expressions or metaphors that you are unfamiliar with, you have to do some research.

3. Be faithful to the original text

Don’t try to interpret the text based on your personal beliefs or biases. The translation must reflect the exact content of the source text and not on how you think the text should be presented or delivered. Set your biases aside and be as objective as possible.

4. Don’t just translate, but also try to correct some wrong facts

The author of the original article might have overlooked something or has failed to research on certain facts. However, it is best to clarify facts with the author.

5. Avoid word for word translation

There are some words and terms that cannot be translated literally into another language. Understand the whole context, substitute text that will make more sense to the target language. Be sure to understand the culture of the target audience because you will be translating the materials into a language spoken by another culture, which could have different meanings for some words, terms, and even colors.

Globalization has made it possible for most people to understand some technical terms that simply cannot be translated into another language and are best left alone.

6. If you are translating long texts, go for 5 pages at a time

Don’t attempt to finish the whole document at once since you might forget the first few parts of what you have translated. Don’t forget to write notes and remarks on parts that you had difficulty with earlier and go back to them later.

7. Be careful in determining the historical context of what you are translating as well as its cultural relevance

If for instance, the article is written in the past, then don’t use newly coined terms that are inappropriate.

8. Check the basic mistakes and find ways to correct them

However, don’t stay too long on a particular area that you find difficult to deal with. As you go on with the text, you might find the answers to your confusion. Besides, you can always go back to those issues afterwards.

The first translation draft of your work will definitely not look perfect. The best thing about it is that you still have the chance to rework what you have initially done until you have the final document that stays true to the source language.

Still, you have to keep in mind that translation from one language to another requires dedication, hard work, a lot of research, deeper knowledge of the language and subject matter, and endless patience.

Day Translations Team

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