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Garbage in, garbage out. What to do when there are problems in the original file to be translated?

 

  Translating in itself is a process which requires a lot of research, analysis, and which tests the linguistic skills that any professional has in both languages. But if we add to this an original with flaws or ambiguities, we are really in trouble! And then we can fall into the phrase "garbage in, garbage out." This expression is widely used in the processing of information and, in this post, we will refer to it to reference that if the quality of the original is poor, obviously the final translation could be too.

Translation Agency vs. Freelance Translator

So you have a translation project on your hands. Documents, brochures, subtitling. Now where do you go to get these translated? Should you outsource to a freelancer or go directly to a translation agency? That really depends... Here are a few things to consider when deciding who should handle your linguistic project.

Freelance Translators are generally the first professionals you would probably go to, to get a project worked on. And the benefits of working with them are:

Direct communication: When working with a freelancer, the communication is straight forward. On the downside, there is no other person that will continue with the job if something happens to the freelancer.

3 Things to inform when requesting language translation services

When requesting language translation services of course you have the source document or content that you want to take to a different target language, but what else should you consider telling the translation agency or translator concerning the job you are requesting to get the best results? Here are the 3 most important things to inform when requesting these services:

 

  1. Target Language/Localization

Of course you know what target language you need to get your content to, but is there a specific market you are aiming for? Is the translation targeted to a certain country? If you were to want your content translated to Spanish, is the Spanish Latin American Spanish? Or should it be localized for Spain? It can be the same language, but the market that you are aiming for might be turned off to certain forms of expression that might be more adequate for another region.

 

What can you expect when you use an automated or machine translation?

CAT tools

The New York Times has a very interesting article where they explain how one of the most popular machine translation works in a literary context. 

When you are using machine translation you literally put yourself in a machines hands and you will never be really sure or have any guarantee that the translation is correct. If you are not a native speaker of the target language or if you are not savvy of the context or nuances of the context of the original text you basically have to put all your trust on whatever translation is given.

So things like this can happen.

 

 

 

The above is evidently a contextual error where even if the translation of the word “crashed” for “estrelló” is correct, in the technical context we are currently in, it is inadequate. And you can now imagine if something as simple as a computer crash is difficult to translate what can we expect for things a little more complex.