Rules For A Good Translation

Translation is not an easy task. It is more of an art, requiring something equal to artistic expertise. A painter captures beautiful images from his mind and puts them down on his canvas. Similarly a translator uses his imagination and emotions to translate a text while staying true to the original essence conveyed by the author.Since translation is deemed an art, certainly some ground rules are attached to it. You just can’t wake up one day and start translating. For a quality translation, some precautions should be taken. The following are some suggestion that were offered by a number of Portuguese to English translators including Humphrey Davis and Jonathan Wright.

Translate what you like.  As a certified translation services worker, you should focus on translating text that interests you. If you lack interest in the material you are translating it might become obvious to readers of your translation.  When possible, choose text that interests you.  Though you might not be able to decline every assignment that you find uninteresting, being a legal translator provides freedom to occasionally decline specific jobs.

Your first draft will likely contain a mistake. Seldom are first drafts ever perfect.  Once you complete the first daft, walk away from the translation and then return later to proofread it.    By taking a short break, you will more easily identify mistakes and opportunities for improvement.

Think of translating as recreation and not work. Believe it or not, translating might eventually become a boring task especially if you do it as a profession. Overwork and boredom will lead to low quality work. Try to think of the translating as recreation instead of work.

Ask the author many questions. By asking important questions upfront, you can avoid major mistakes.

Familiarize yourself with the culture of the literature that you are translating. Cultures differ at all levels from vocabulary usage to punctuation.  Always translate with the needs and expectations of the target audience in mind.

Respect the original text and the author. Translation may be an art but it is more complex than merely writing poetry because you are actually translating someone else’s vision. You must respect the views of the author by staying true to them and minimizing alterations.

In conclusion, translation requires focus and sincerity on the part of the translator. With the right approach and right vision, translated texts have the ability to bring different cultural entities together.

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