What Are the Problems of Translation?

What Are the Problems of Translation?\

Just like in every field, there are several obstacles in the translation process. Some are faced by the translators, and some by the clients. Even for the most experienced translators or clients that have use translation services many times, confusion and frustration while processing translation are familiar feelings. So, what are the problems of translation? In this article, let’s go over some of the most typical issues from both translators’ and clients’ viewpoints! 

Translation language structure  

English or every other language has its specific structure that complied with agreed rules and might have vast differences from each other. For example, in English, the adjective sits before the noun, but in French, an adjective is placed after a noun. As a result, linguists frequently have to add, remove, or rearrange source words to make the communication more natural.   

Compound words  

A compound word is a combination of two or three nouns and adjectives such as notebook; hyphenated like long-term. Some of them are straightforward and mean exactly what each word means like mailbox; some mean only half of the term, like say bellboy, and some imply nothing of their original word – for example, butterfly, hotdog. In such a situation, translators might struggle with how to choose equivalent words in the source language.  

Missing term

Not every word in source languages have an exact match in the target languages since the objects may not be used by the target audience, or those action or activities are not frequently performed in the country of the target language. 

Specialized knowledge  

Even though specialized translators have experience in technical or medical knowledge, sometimes it’s not enough for some kinds of documents that full of technical jargon, or describe specific procedures or activities in detail. For example, translators might be surrounded by complex and specialized terms while translating the manual books of an X-ray scanner. With this kind of content, time extension is essential to conduct accurate and reliable translations.  

Limited time  

This is one of the most common problems that both translator and clients encounter because most clients need the translated content as soon as possible but to conduct a high-quality output, translators have to spend more time to come up with the most accurate words. It could be not a significant issue if the document is straightforward and translators can easily finish it within the deadline. However, in terms of complicated content such as technical, legal documents which are full of specialized terms, having a tight deadline is not a proper choice to have high-quality translations.   

Quality and Expense  

Finding a balance between cost and quality is the most common problem faced by clients who are looking for translation services. A practical case would be the translation of medical, technical, legal content when you can rarely afford to have any mistakes or near mistakes. If they are not error-free, misinterpretation by the readers and wrong usage could lead to serious damage such as health and reputation damage. Hence, it requires translators to highly focus on every detail to come up with the most precise translation.  Certainly, with more efforts to facilitate the outputs, it’s understandable that the rate is also at the upper level. This is a classic dilemma encountered by the clients, so ensure that you know how to evaluate the quality of translation output.  

Translation problems of language have been around for several centuries and both translators and clients should know about the most popular obstacles to prepare for it. If you have struggled with many other problems in translation, don’t hesitate to share in the comment below!  


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