Even though the completion of a good translation might seem to be a relative concept, there is quite a simple way to understand what stands behind it – all it takes is asking those who order translations about their expectations. Most clients expect fast and reliable translations that will be effortlessly understood by native speakers of a selected foreign language. The issue of translation accuracy and literalness is often raised – how does it influence its quality?
„(…) If it is beautiful, it is not faithful. If it is faithful, it is most certainly not beautiful” – should we take it for granted, though?
In order to deem a translation acceptable, it has to constitute a faithful rendition of the source text. That’s precisely when a translator faces the first dilemma – is preserving the exact meaning of utmost importance, or maybe one should care more about the text’s readability in the target language? Such a decision is mainly made on the basis of the character of a given text. In case of technical documents, consistent terminology and preserving text clarity is key. Literary translations, on the other hand, demand different treatment; in this case it’s particularly important to preserve the magic of a written word and full meaning conveyed by the author. The translator should definitely have a way with words. In some cases it’s even said that they should be equally talented as the author whose works they are supposed to render.
Translation tailored to the recipient’s needs
Still, finding a solution to the “accuracy vs literalness” dilemma does not guarantee success. Taking into account your target audience is also extremely important. Should a need to do so arise, localisation of text or audiovisual material should be performed. Good translation should seamlessly blend into the foreign culture and effortlessly function in it – these issues are crucial for entrepreneurs launching their products and services to new markets.
Terminowość, estetyka, spójność terminologii – czyli kilka słów o najczęstszych oczekiwaniach
Apart from linguistic complexities, there are also fundamental conditions which should be fulfilled while preparing a decent translation. It should be prepared in a careful and aesthetic manner, and submitted to the awaiting client within the set deadline. A perfectly prepared text does not feature any spelling or punctuation mistakes, the terminology is consistent and the translation is a coherent whole. Seems obvious? Perhaps, but finding a text that meets all these criteria is not at all that easy.