By Hilary Picken | May 27, 2020 | Translation Tips
Growing up with constant exposure to and education in a language gives native speakers a sound understanding of the most appropriate way to apply grammar throughout their translations. For example, in France and Belgium, French will include a space before many punctuation marks such as the question mark or the exclamation mark. In Canada and Switzerland, however, similar to English, the punctuation is added directly to the previous word.
Localisation of a document is extremely important for the overall accuracy. For example the UK and USA both speak English but the use of words can be different, a classic example being ‘mobile’ versus ‘cell’ phone. Localisation also includes checking whether the content is appropriate for the country in question and suggesting where changes may be needed.
Having an in-depth knowledge of the culture of a country provides superior understanding when it comes to accurately translating culturally specific information. This is also important for content that could be regarded as culturally sensitive in one country and not another.
It makes sense that translators would have greater natural and practical knowledge of these linguistic elements in their mother tongue. By selecting appropriate phrases and terms to best suit the theme of the material and ensuring correct spelling , they are better able to produce translations of greater accuracy.
Different languages structure their text differently. Some languages will use short, more concise sentences while others prefer longer sentences that are broken up with punctuation. For example, German tends to use linking words like “so” or “thus” to refer back to the previous sentence. In English, the links between the paragraphs are much more implicit.
When selecting a translator or translation agency, having someone who works into their mother tongue should be a key criterion. If you are working into your first language, it is more likely that you will understand what’s appropriate and that you will provide a better, more accurate and translation.
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