Different types of common mistakes in translation
When it comes to translating, accuracy is the key. Even the smallest mistake can lead to a misunderstanding or misinterpretation, which can have serious consequences. From typos to incorrect grammar, there are a variety of common translation errors that can be avoided with proper knowledge and attention to detail.
Common mistakes in translation can be categorized into 5 groups: literal translation, cultural misinterpretation, grammar and syntax, lack of localization, and machine translation errors.
Literal translation occurs when a translator tries to find a direct translation of a word or phrase. It can lead to a misinterpretation of the original meaning. For instance, “Una Cosa” in Spanish can indicate either “one thing” or “something,” although “one thing” in English has a far more clear meaning than “something.”
Incorrectly interpreting the culture of a language can lead to common mistakes in translation. When translating from one language to another, it is essential to consider the cultural context of the language. For instance, the term “right” may have a different meaning in the United States than it does in Australia, which may be confusing if the translator is not aware of the cultural background of the language. Cultural misunderstandings can lead to misinterpretations if the translator is not familiar with the language’s cultural context, which can dramatically alter the meaning of the translated words. Therefore, it is essential to understand the culture and nuances of the language, to successfully and accurately translate from one language to another.
Grammar and syntax
Wrong grammar and syntax can create issues in translation, as the two can differ a great deal from language to language. It is, therefore, essential for translators to be familiar with the nuances of each translated language. For instance, a sentence written in the passive voice in English may need to be translated into the active voice in French.
Note: Use translation tools carefully: While they can be helpful, they should not be relied upon exclusively as they may produce incorrect translations.
Lack of localization
Localization is an essential part of any translation project. When a translator doesn’t consider localization, the content may become hard to understand and interpret correctly. Furthermore, it can be seen as disrespectful to the target audience if the translation is not localized. Without localization, it’s hard to convey the same message or tone as the original text. Additionally, without localization, the translation may not comply with local regulations and laws, leading to potential legal repercussions.
Machine translation errors
Machine translation errors can occur when you use automated translation programs, such as Google Translate, to translate text from one language to another. These errors can range from minor typos and grammar issues to entire sentences that are completely off in their meaning.
Many factors can cause machine translation errors: the complexity of the source language, the lack of context available to the machine translation program, and incorrect syntactical analysis of the source sentence. As machine translation technology continues to improve, these errors will become less and less common. But it’s still important to keep in mind that automated translation programs may not be 100% reliable.