The Challenges of Technical vs. Creative Translation

Translation and Transcreation in the Context of Beauty and Faithfulness

Technical translation service Golden Gate

Yevgeny Yevtushenko is famous for the quote “translation is like a woman. If it is beautiful, it is not faithful. If it is faithful, it is most certainly not beautiful.” On a broader scale, the quote points to two questions. Should translators always try to produce text that is similar to the original version? Or should they take it upon themselves to produce something different based on their interpretation of the text?How about for creative translation?

Translation is not an easy task opens in a new window! Professional translators acknowledge that the service they give is pegged on an idea that is not new or theirs. Their task is to translate text from one language to another. This assertion seems straightforward and easy. However, this is a common misconception that most people make.

One thing that you should not overlook is that translation is only effective if the text reads as though no one has translated it. Simply put, translation should be an attempt to accurately produce a text that does not in any way seem translated. Poor translation is when the target language does not relay the same message in the context intended in the source. Also, translators should not attempt to add content or expand on it. A good example is when VARs rewrite the product’s manual, collateral or website pages. Translated content should rather just read as the original source intended– precisely, concisely and if possible, elegantly.

Challenge of Creative Translation

Many regard the above quote as sexist. However, a thorough analysis of the quote in relation to translation reveals that it presents an interesting point of view and in a sense, the reality of translation. In the translation industry we are guided by the notion that the essence of translation is to produce a text that is faithful. It should hence fully maintain the integrity of the original. However, it is challenging to apply the same concept when dealing with creative pieces. Pieces like poetry, a brand slogan, a motto, or elegant marketing copy need re-authoring. Hence the need for Transcreation!

Since translators are often native to the language they translate into, another question comes to mind.  If the original text is not in a persons’ first language, how will that person know if a pun or something similar has been missed? We can argue that in some cases, translators should narrow down the content that is deemed most appropriate to producing and eliciting the same feeling as the original, in complex cases. On the other hand, due to the nuances of translating one language to another, not everything can be captured the same way as the original language. 100% certainty opens in a new window is not always a guarantee. For example, some words in certain languages simply don’t exist in others, which means a literal translation is not possible.

As a result, the production of good multilingual content can be a challenge on both sides of the process; authoring and translating. Fortunately, worthy creative translation services can be exceptional. The best translation service providers have factored in all the challenges presented. They have adopted effective strategies aimed at making translation invisible, in the sense that the text produced will read exactly as the original in all accounts.

Technical Document Translation

The professionals, especially translators, dealing with technical document translation can bring both beauty and faithfulness to the table. Subject-matter experts have experience and adequate knowledge on the field and the varied languages. The years of experience, specialization and knowledge they possess have made them well equipped and capable of producing text that fully matches with what they are relaying in their translations. These factors make the professionals able to translate text without compromising on the message and context. Beauty in technical translations comes with precision, conciseness and simplicity.

We achieve proper localization by separating the art from the science, then fusing them together after translation or transcreation. The process requires both left-brain and right-brain tasks! Like the Golden Gate bridge in California, translations have to be both functional and beautiful. This will permit bridging ideas and thoughts between languages and cultures! Companies are always advised to take time to choose the right technical and creative translation service. They should be able to meet all their needs pertaining to translation or transcreation, while ensuring that the produced text is both a faithful and beautiful rendering of the original. And this is regardless of the source or target languages.


10 Tips On Achieving Quality in Translation and Localization

10 Tips on Achieving Quality in Translation and Localization

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