Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling: Nuisance or Necessity?

The mechanical issues of grammar, punctuation, and spelling are more important in a global economy than they have ever before been, perhaps with the exception of the work of an early Christian epistle writer or medieval scribe who believed he was committing the Word of God to velum, papyrus, paper or other medium.  Today, however, because our world is so inter-dependent, some people trust an electronic application for their professional translation services needs and for quick communication.

These applications require standard spelling, grammar, and punctuation to translate meaning and structure from one language to another.  Text with illogical sentence structure, incorrect grammar and /or spelling, and absent, misplaced, or incorrect punctuation cannot convey sense, accuracy, or logic to the reader of the electronic translation.

Thus, for all practical purposes, the electronic translation is useless at best and dangerous at worst.  If useless, the skills of a competent human certified translator are required.  If time is critical and a competent human translator is not available, a sale may be lost, a diplomatic mission stymied, or a strategic meeting missed.

As is the case in all writing, good writing depends on the writer’s knowledge and skill–including expertise in grammar, punctuation, and spelling–not on the reader’s imagination or genius to unravel the meaning of a translation from a flawed source.

Good Translations: Do They Exist Today?

459881979What is a good translation in today’s global business world?  How much do grammar, punctuation, and spelling affect it?  And do sentence structure and vocabulary matter?  Does quality depend on context and purpose?  Does a generally accepted concept of a “good translation” even exist?  And who cares anyway in a culture of tweets, texting and Internet messaging?

166842196Critical in a Global Economy

These are important issues in today’s world when international business transactions, government decisions, medical procedures, legal judgments–to name a few areas–rely on words, their meanings, interpretations, sequence, and presentation. So, of course, a good translation is critical in a global economy.  As an experienced Houston Spanish translation services worker expresses, “It is the medium and the means for many personal and public interactions and transactions, from crafting a trade contract and conducting diplomacy with friendly and unfriendly governments and factions to keeping a boss apprised of the progress of a project or ordering materials from a foreign supplier.”

482218975

Essential and Inescapable

It is inescapable and essential in today’s global business world.  James Taylor, a provider of Dallas Translation Services believes that translation work establishes history in an organization because it validates and records decisions and actions, records progress in research towards a discovery or invention, provides evidence of innocence or guilt in legal cases, and conveys an organization’s goals, vision, and mission.  It is an organization’s–or an individual’s–identity?  It demonstrates competence, knowledge, effectiveness, and self-awareness.  It is more powerful, more far-reaching, longer lasting, and more real than the spoken word.  For these reasons, translators in today’s global economy must practice and produce “good translations.”  They must address the questions posed at the beginning of this piece.