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The best way to get accurate translations


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Definitely get a human native speaker of the target language. Nothing else, not even a fluent foreigner, will work. It's going to cost you!

There are so many examples of almost right translations out there to warn you.

I had a female friend with reasonable English say to me "My husband won't sleep with me any more." She meant that he was sleeping on the couch while she was sick.

Tony Blair was speaking to the French media in French, and trying to say that he found many of their prime minister's policies attractive. What he actually said was more like "I desire your prime minister in many positions." Close, but not quite right.

If it needs to be right it needs to be a native speaker.

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I had a translator teacher that insisted that the translated text should be better than the original, in such a way that if you then translated the text back to its original language, it would be more understandable and of better quality.

Unless the client is explicitly asking you for a very, very accurate translation including all the possible mistakes, then you can stick to the original as much as possible. But in my experience, most clients value translations as being more "accurate" when the translation is very easy to follow, when it flows well.

Something that works for me when I have the time is to leave the translated document aside once it's finished, go to sleep, and to read it out loud the next morning. In this way I usually spot little things I can do to improve the translation that I would have otherwise missed.

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  • 1 month later...

In my view, you have to be able to think in the language you are translating to, or at least have some idea of how are sentences are made up in the target language at hand.

For me, it works this way: when I am writing English, I think in English, when I am writing French, I think in French, when writing Dutch, I think in Dutch.

That way, you are able to avoid weird sounding syntax.

I remember my Psychology of Language professor saying this same thing. To get the natural feel of a certain language, one must think in the target language.

In any case, my mind is a bit confused as to how to answer the question on getting the best way to accurate translations. This question is applicable only to someone who is fluent in the language pair, right? (Sorry, not really trying to be sarcastic or what - just a bit confused :confused:). In my mind, the only way one can best gauge if something is translated accurately is if one is truly  knowledgeable in both languages. Otherwise, one will just have to trust in the translator that you are being given an accurate translation. For a beginner learner, you'll just have to accept the translation given is correct.

Sorry, now getting it (I hope).. It's where second opinion through fora or translator tools come in, right? Because without them, you are really at the mercy of the translator. [here's hoping I'm making sense, if not - just consider something's lost in translation, :grin:

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Internet translators are not the most accurate way to use a different language.

I find that the best way to translate is to get someone that speaks the language to help you.  There are dictionaries but unless you know the tenses in a foreign language, it might come out incorrect.

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Both paid and free services will help and also may have flaws. One has to choose wisely when trying to find the right person to assist with their translation needs. A teacher of the language would be the ideal person, however you don't necessarily have to pay them. Social networks have briged the gap and there are several persons who enjoy communicating with others from different nations and regions. We can make friends who speak both languages, professional or otherwise.

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I agree with what you said. But unfortunately, family and friends are not always available or capable. If I can't go that route and don't want to log on to a language forum, I simplify the sentence I'm having problems with and write it in a search engine. If I see the same grammar / phrasing in the results, I know I'm on the right path.

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Any person can do the translation but you need really a person who knows both languages perfectly because the in each languages the words do have multiple meanings. One has to choose the one that goes correctly in the text.

I agree. The best option is still to look for someone who knows the language. There might be some same words but different usage or meaning that only a person can translate it properly.

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After some more thinking on this question, I want to take back what I wrote earlier. I now think the best translation you can get is one you paid for from a legit, veteran, well-trained/educated translator. The reason why? This is what they have been trained, for years, to do -- to know both languages inside and out - vocabulary, grammar, idioms, variations...

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  • 1 year later...

I think a native speaker of your target language who can speak your native language as well is the best way to go.  I would prefer it was a friend because they know my penchant for asking a lot of questions and probably have more patience with that.  I'm sure there are many other great methods, but for me, I would rather try to translate things on my own and then have a native speaker check my work for nuances that may have escaped me. 

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While I must agree with most of you in regards choosing a native speaker of a given target language, there is something to keep in mind when it comes to getting accurate translations, and this is your former knowledge on such language.

When at a language school, training center or course, your teachers are going to teach you the basics of formal writing and speaking the language. Depending on the type of learning program you are in, your teacher may later give you the basics of colloquial language, jargon, slang, and even how to curse and blame.

This makes a whole for you to understanding the language regardless how the native speaker handles it.

So that, if you want an accurate translation, you do not only need to ask a native speaker, but making sure he or she is going to use formal language to help you out.

"U cant get a accurate translation from some1 U know that being an natibe speeker writeZ like thiz cuz Ure gonna B wrong" ;)

 

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Ideally you pay a professional translator.
Native speakers being your friends is nice, but they may not always know how to translate things correctly, especially if your translation project is meant for business.

When I need a translation for something in a language I already know or am currently learning, I try to translate the text myself, eventually with some help of an online dictionary and an online translator for verification.
When I'm done, I let my online teacher check it and he or she will fix the mistakes for me and explain all the necessary whys and hows.
So that way I get the correct translations AND I improve myself in that language at the same time, which is really ace.

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  • 4 weeks later...

   For best and most accurate translation you need to pay a professional translator. I hear a lot of people translating for friends  because they know English. I am talking about English because this is what I study and what I do. Actually, the thing is they just know English to the point of conversing, writing posts, understanding well, etc. However, when it comes to an accurate translation they do it in a mediocre way because they really do not know what they do. We can see this in internet based movie subtitles. Some of those subtitles are just amateur work where 'river bed ' becomes literally a bed. Or if there is an unknown idiom involved it becomes something insanely stupid and out of context. This is even okay when it comes to these types of translation. Once you take an official piece of paper to translate everything should be right and most of them do not apply simple sequence of tenses so it really looks wrong. For example in Serbian language 'Da li si joj rekao da je VOLIM? means Did you tell her that I loved here? However, VOLIM is a verb in present tense in Serbian language and VOLEO is in past. We use present for this in Serbian language but because of the sequence of tenses in English we have to write LOVED HER. You will never find that in amateur translations. Did you tell her that I love her is what you will find. So, for sake of this details it is the best to find somebody who is a professional in this and pay the man :). 

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Well paying for translations is the best way to get accurate results, people most be aware that not all "professional" translation services  really are.

Some of them use automated translations mixed with human translation performed by people knowledgeable in the target language, but not necessarily a native speaker of a qualified translator.

Before paying for human translations, make sure to review what the credentials and qualifications of a site and its translators are to avoid waste your money in a human but poorly translation service.

 

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