Don’t let the title fool you. ‘Untranslatable words’ is just an easier way of saying ‘words that don’t have a direct equivalent in another language’. But that doesn’t roll of your tongue as much.
This could be translated as unwanted kindness. Specifically, it describes a situation in which someone tries to do you a favor, despite you not wanting it, and consequently causing you additional trouble or just not helping you at all, but you are expected to express gratitude nevertheless due to social conventions. A truly Japanese word in every sense.
Untranslatable Words: Sobremesa – Spanish
This word literally means ‘over the table’, but it signifies the period after a meal when the people sitting at the table continue to talk and enjoy each other’s company. Not an important word if you have no friends.
Sobremesa can also mean tablecloth.
Untranslatable Words: Zapoi – Russian
This Russian word is used to express continuous drinking for several days, so much so that the person withdraws from their normal social life. Sounds fun.
Used metaphorically to describe a person who acts like a coward by criticizing and attacking only from a safe distance. Literally, it means a person throwing snowballs while wearing their gloves. In both cases – a pansy.
Everything feels much better when you have a word for what you're doing. Since utepils means enjoying a cold beer outside on a sunny day, our non-working weekends during the bright and warm days can feel much more meaningful.
Untranslatable Words: Trepverter – Yiddish
Another one of those words we absolutely need in our language. This one, particularly, signifies a witty comeback that you think of when it’s already too late. It literally means ‘staircase words’.
Untranslatable Words: Gökotta – Swedish
One of those words we didn’t know we need in our lives. Gökotta is used in Swedish to express the action of rising at dawn to listen to the birds sing. I don’t like to wake up early for anything, but you go Swedes.
Untranslatable Words: Gattara – Italian
We would translate it as ‘(crazy) cat lady’, that is, a woman who owns many cats or devotedly feeds stray cats.
Untranslatable Words: Gigil – Filipino
You know that feeling you get when you see a puppy or a baby so cute you want to pinch it? Well, that’s gigil. Now you know. It can be anything adorable, not just those two things. You’re welcome.
Untranslatable Words: Mencolek – Indonesian
Practically everyone tried to pull this trick on their friends when they were kids, we just didn’t have a name for it. The trick when you tap someone in front of you on the opposite shoulder than the one you intend to approach them from. A simple, yet effective way to humiliate your buddy.
This one is my favorite. It means to continuously borrow stuff from a friend without returning it, until the friend is left with nothing. The fascinating thing about it is that it obviously happens so often there that they need a word for it.
You know what’s awful? Having to spend your money on things you want. Why not just find a friend and take their belongings? Profit.
There you go. A bunch of untranslatable words you will never use, apart from maybe saying ‘do you know there is a word in ___ meaning____’ in order to sound smarter. +100 Intelligence.
We all know how much technology improved during the last decade. We can see any part of the world via Internet, talk with anyone, anywhere, anyhow. But is learning a foreign language without paying expensive classes or going to language schools also that simple? Today we bring you an overview of the five best rated apps for foreign language learning. We have tried to refresh our Italian, and you can tell us which languages you tried and if you were successful in them.
Whenever we talk about learning a foreign language, Duolingo is probably the first app everyone mentions, which isn’t surprising as it is highly rated on Google Play Store. It provides the option of a Placement test and places you at a level based on your score. The number of skipped lessons depends on the level you have been placed.
Before you start, you can choose how much time you want to spend learning a language on a daily basis (5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes). The app contains ads and purchase offers (both are short enough not to interfere with your learning process, and it is also pointed out that the ads help to keep the education free).
To use this app, proficiency in English is key, because knowledge of spelling and grammar is highly important during the learning process, but also during the translation process from the language you are learning to English.
There is no daily limit of lessons you can complete. Also, all those questions you answered incorrectly will appear again at the end of the lesson. The lessons unlock gradually, in order to ensure you don’t skip too many lessons until you really learn the previous ones.
Every lesson has its levels arranged by their difficulty. Let’s take the FOOD lesson as an example. The first level contains the basics, the second is a bit harder and includes recognition, matching, identifying gender, etc., while the third level includes independent translation from Italian to English and writing of certain words, as well as use of the correct article (l/l'/le/i/gli in Italian). Also, the harder the levels, the more tasks they contain.
You can look up the meanings of underlined words in the sentence while you are in the middle of the task. Also, words appearing in Italian always contain the appropriate article, which is very important in the Italian language. You won’t see the word “la ragazza” written as only “ragazza”. The app also offers the option of pronouncing words on a microphone. The microphone can be turned off if you find yourself in an environment where you are unable to speak.
There are also some bonus levels unlocked with gems, which you get after completing lessons.
DUOLINGO PLUS is a feature that activates for a week if you invite one of your friends to Duolingo (they can choose any language, they are not obliged to learn the same language you are learning). If you invite two friends, the option will be active for two weeks. The feature works only if that person doesn’t have the app installed on their phone but installs it upon your invitation. This feature offers the option to download lessons for offline language learning, and automatic download when you are connected to Wi-Fi. While DUOLINGO PLUS is active, you get additional prizes without having to watch ads and you have the option to open two chests in order to get gems.
Another cool feature Duolingo offers is Discussion during learning, in case a certain task or answer is not clear enough. You can enter the Discussion by pressing the speech balloon icon, right next to the flag icon. The users can comment on a certain lesson in that Discussion so you can get additional explanations, which is extremely useful in less familiar languages, Japanese for example. The following screenshots show you how that looks like in the app itself.
Tinycards by Duolingo is an app with a rating of 4.1 on Google Play Store. Knowing the English language is necessary for this app as well. It is designed in the form of flashcards containing an expression (and sometimes a picture) in English on the one side, and an expression in the language you are learning on the other side. You have the option to hear the foreign language expression on the side that contains it. You can see the example below.
After a certain number of pictures appear, a picture that needs to be matched with the correct expression comes up, while by the end of the lesson you have to independently translate expressions from English to the language you are learning and vice versa. So, the app doesn’t contain only flashcards, it also tests what you have learned right away.
The lessons are, just like in Duolingo, unlocked gradually. Additionally, they can be added into collections or shared via social networks.
Mondly is an app rated 4.7 on Google Play Store. It doesn’t contain ads like the previous ones, but it encourages users to purchase it. This is the only app for which the knowledge of English is not important.
As you are learning, new words are underlined, and you can see the translation. There is also the option to assemble a certain word with offered letters, which is extremely useful because it contributes to learning new words. If the unknown word is a verb, its whole conjugation will pop out in the past, the present, and the future.
The articles before foreign words are not shown, even though the articles in Italian are almost as important as those in German.
While translating, it’s necessary to connect the offered words into a meaningful sentence. Since the first word in a sentence is always written with a capital letter, and there is always a period after the last word, it is questionable how much you can learn using this method and if that kind of translation process is even demanding enough.
Mondly is the only app we tried that requires 15 minutes to pass between lessons. If you allow app notifications, it will remind you daily. This app offers Weekly and Monthly Challenges. You cannot participate in the Weekly Challenge if you don’t finish all seven Daily Lessons, and you cannot participate in the Monthly Challenge if you don’t complete all Weekly Challenges.
Except for Hi, Daily Lesson and Chatbox bubbles, all subsequent lessons are locked behind a Premium membership. Chatbox requires the use of a microphone, which should definitively be pointed out as a good feature.
Busuu is an app rated 4.5 on Google Play Store. It also encourages users to purchase it and it is essential to know English in order to use it.
Before you start learning, you have to complete the obligatory Placement test. The results said we belong on the A2 level and all previous lessons were unlocked.
As in other apps, all the questions you answer incorrectly are repeated at the end of the lesson.
The app doesn’t offer the option of speaking into a microphone, only the option of listening.
It is organized with flashcards, meaning that the first thing that appears are two or three pictures with audio recording and written text in Italian and English. After that, two out of those three expressions in Italian appear, and you need to decide whether the offered translation is correct or not. That cycle is repeated four times. Everything is followed by a short revision where you should choose the correct phrase, complete the sentence with a word that is missing or the one you hear on audio recording.
In the very next lesson, there is dialogue that requires listening and contains a lot of unknown words for which the translation is not offered. After that, the same dialogue appears, this time with empty lines for the expressions that are offered. You are learning the phrases, while the rest of the text is a bit too difficult for beginners.
In the entire fourth lesson of the A2 level, only five exercises were unlocked, while the other six remained locked because we don’t have Premium membership. So, we have managed to complete only 45% of that lesson.
Also, the lesson that is completely locked is the one concerning grammar, which deals with irregular nouns. Not even the lessons that were automatically completed because the A1 level was skipped are available. A Quiz after the lesson is not available without Premium membership.
Memrise is an app with a 4.7 rating on Google Play Store. It also contains ads and purchase offers. This app also requires the knowledge of the English language.
Firstly, the app doesn’t provide a Placement test at the beginning of the course. Just like Duolingo, it repeats the questions you answer incorrectly at the end of the lesson. The introduction of grammar rules after the vocabulary practice is a nice novelty. Also, after you complete a grammar lesson, you are shown its summary.
As you solve your tasks, a small lamp in the bottom left corner shows the rule required to solve the current task.
Just like the previous ones, this app was listed in the top 10 best free apps. It is not clear why, since you cannot continue your learning process after lesson number two. The price of a membership is HRK 385 a year.
Have you tried some of these apps or any other apps for learning foreign languages? Were they useful and interesting? What features did they have? Is there an app that has everything you need to learn a foreign language?
You've probably found yourself in a situation when you are not sure which word to use in a certain context. Some of those words differ in only one letter, some in two, and some are exactly the same, with just a space somewhere in between. Learn which to choose in different contexts in today’s post about commonly misused words in the English language!
Effect is usually a noun, and the result or a consequence of an action. Affect is usually a verb, and it means to have an effect on. Go figure. So, this must be the reason why they are mixed up so often. Let’s clear up the mix-up and look at them in a sentence:
To say something explicitly is to spell it out clearly so that it isn’t ambiguous, but to say something implicitly means that the meaning is implied or not said clearly and directly.
Even when you write the word “complement” in your Google search, you will get pictures that mean “compliment”. Let’s clarify the difference between these two meanings.
Compliment, with an “i”, is “an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration”. You give a compliment to your friend because she has impeccable eyeliner skills and her eyeliner is on point every single time or when her highlighter is on fleek. You can also give a compliment to someone due to their achievements. Complement, with an “e”, is something completely different. Okay, it’s not THAT different, but it’s different. Complement is “something that fills up, completes, or makes better or perfect” or “a thing that contributes extra features to something else in such a way as to improve or emphasize its quality”. In real life situation that means that her heels and purse match together perfectly or that those earrings complete her outfit and bring it to another level of dashing.
Let’s look at both words in one sentence:
Onto is a preposition that means “on top of, to a position on.” On to, however, is used when on is a part of a verb phrase. For example:
A good trick is to mentally say “up” before “on” in a sentence. If the sentence still makes sense, then onto is the correct choice. (See the picture above.)
Emigrate means to exit a certain place, while immigrate means to enter or move to another country.
a) In common usage both assume and presume can mean ‘suppose’ and are often interchangeable. However, there is a subtle difference between the two where presume means ‘suppose to be the case based on probability’:
Assume on the other hand means ‘suppose to be the case without proof’:
b) Both words also share other meanings that can be summarized as ‘to take on oneself’. In this sense assume is generally used to describe taking on a role:
Whereas presume is generally used when taking on an attitude:
To sum this up, we could say that the English language has a lot of rules and subtle differences between certain words that are quite similar. If you’re not sure which word to use, look it up on the Internet (but be careful, not all information is correct!) or simply contact us, and we’ll help you with all your language dilemmas.
There are many CAT tools available today and it’s always worthwhile to write about a promising one. Smartcat is a browser-based, computer-assisted translation tool worth showcasing. We’ll give you a quick rundown of its main features which will undoubtedly intrigue you enough to give it a go.
Smartcat is a great platform for finding, hiring and paying freelancers, but we’ll focus more on the features Smartcat offers to project managers and translators.
Smartcat supports pretty much any file format you can come up with. It can be used to translate anything from Microsoft Office file formats to technical writing and localization file formats such as DITA XML or CSV, but also import packages such as SDLPPX / SDLRPX and create return packages. Also, it can be used to translate images in formats such as JPG, however this requires prior file conversion with Smartcat’s OCR software. This is not a free feature, but it is always possible to convert the file beforehand using online conversion tools or an OCR application such as ABBYY FineReader.
If you need quick statistics on your translation project, Smartcat’s got your back. When creating a project, it will calculate all the statistics you may need. This means word count, character count (both with and without spaces), number of segments, pages, repetitions, etc. Everything you need in one place.
It’s possible to create and upload translation memories as well as glossaries and use them for projects. This is an extremely useful feature when it comes to using proper terminology in a certain project and keeping your translations consistent.
Smartcat allows project managers to allocate certain parts of a project to specific translators. This is great when working on a big project with a short deadline. That allows several people to work on their own part of the project at the same time and complete the project faster. However, since all translators have a translation style of their own, it is of vital importance to have a single editor for the whole text. Smartcat offers three workflow stages: translation, editing and proofreading. This allows employment of several translators, and then of one editor to go over the whole text once the translation stage ends.
Smartcat has a user-friendly interface that is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. All quick icons are displayed in the toolbar above the text, the source and target texts are displayed one next to another, all translation memory and glossary info is displayed on the right, and segment filtering is just one click away.
Have you ever worked on a large translation project and just knew there was an unconfirmed segment somewhere, but you couldn’t seem to find it? Just press F9 and Smartcat will find it for you. Also, if you’ve made notes on several segments you want to get back to later on, you can jump to the segment you need by entering the segment number.
This feature is particularly useful when translating from a language with several cases, such as Croatian. Translation memories are sensitive to cases, so this can be an issue when searching for a term you need. That’s why you can enter a part of a word or phrase in the source text box, and all the segments containing it will be filtered.
When you realize you’ve been using a wrong key term throughout the text after getting more than half of the translation done, don’t despair. Smartcat allows you to find all key terms in the target text and replace them with the terms you initially overlooked with a single click.
If there’s something you want to leave a note on regarding a certain segment or document, you can use the comment feature. This is a great way for you to explain to the person editing or proofreading your translation why you’ve preferred one term over the other, leave links to relevant sources, etc. It’s also a great way for the editor or proofreader to explain why something in your translation was altered and what to look out for in the future.
There are many other useful features as well, such as changing case, limiting segment length, undoing/redoing last actions, inserting special characters, and concordance searching. There’s also the progress bar that will always be there to show you how many words you’ve got left.
There you have it. This browser-based, computer-assisted translation tool has a bunch of useful features that will meet all your needs. The best thing; it won't cost you a dime. So, if you ever wanted to get yourself a translation tool, but did not want the additional expense, this is your chance to try out a great translation tool for free.
Since the English language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, you would think that it’s extremely easy to learn. But no! There are countless things which can be so confusing if you are not a native speaker. Or even if you are. We have compiled a list of the most annoying things about the English language which just make our blood boil!
From time to time, an English word will pop up which will have a silent letter, like comb, knife or receipt. You might think that the only reason for it is so that English teachers can make our lives difficult. But there’s actually a better explanation for that. Way back when scholars were trying to standardize the English language, some people who were putting together dictionaries decided it would be best to remind people that some words evolved from the sophisticated Latin (because that’s a language that will never die, right?). Therefore, they thought that it would be an excellent idea that the word is spelled “receipt” instead of “receit”, so that people know it comes from Latin “recepta”. The same thing happened with debt or doubt. And then they probably laughed for decades at all the people having trouble with it.
Well-deserved place on our list of the most annoying things about the English language.
Some English words are spelled the way they are for no good reason. A particularly interesting problem arises when we encounter a word ending in -ugh. There are actually at least six ways of pronouncing that sound. An extremely short and simplified explanation is that words (spelling or pronunciation, or both) change. This is often the case with -ugh words; they originated from different languages and evolved over time. And today we have sentences like this: “Though the tough cough and hiccough plough him through…” where not one word rhymes, making our lives so easy. Not!
Who would have thought that such small words can be so mischievous? And it’s funny how sometimes they make absolutely no sense. For example, we get on a bus, but get in a car. Why?
We also say:
- He went home.
- He went to his home.
Simply saying “he went to home” is wrong. Go figure.
There is an actual explanation for this. In the first sentence, “home” is used as a direction (adverb), while the second “home” is a thing, a location (noun). The incorrect way of saying it uses “home” as a noun as well, which must have an article (a/the) or another determiner (my/hers/this). But where’s the fun in explaining everything? It’s much easier to complain.
Nevertheless, prepositions really are one of the most annoying things about the English language.
The person who invented the word “rural” is a horrible human being.
And the more you say it out loud, the more you sound like an idiot. Thanks, English!
Do we even have to say it? What’s the deal with the spelling of “Wednesday”? We just can’t wrap our minds around it!
There you have it. Those are some of the most annoying things about the English language, but there are many other out there. Feel free to share with us the things that irritate you the most about this language, we are more than happy to hear it.
As we have previously briefly touched on in one of our blog posts, there are differences between working as a freelancer and working at a translation agency. Before getting yourself into any type of work, the most important thing to do is: research, research and research! Learn everything there is to know about your every option and see what works best for you.
So, how about getting the inside scoop on what it’s like working at a translation agency?
If you are a young and inexperienced translator, it might be a good idea to try and find a job at a translation agency. You might think you know it all, but you are (probably) not right. In fact, even the most experienced translators learn something new every time they take on a new project. One of the best things about this job is that it’s never boring. You are constantly improving! Finding a proficient mentor at the beginning of your career is crucial since it will build a foundation for your further development in the business. Working at a translation agency is invaluable when it comes to learning the ropes of the industry.
In addition, having someone to talk to and discuss your translating problems can be amazing! It’s true what they say about two heads being better than one. It’s always easier to bounce ideas off someone, so having colleagues who are ready to tackle some serious translating problems with you can mean the world. And finding a solution with the help of a colleague and a friend feels great.
If you have problems with self-motivation and organization, working at a translation agency should be your choice. No matter what, you have your working hours and something to do at all times. If you usually have problems with procrastination, you will easily overcome that issue. Also, there is no need for you to play the role of a project manager, marketer, client manager etc. You don’t have to worry about payments, taxation and pension plans. You are a part of the team as a translator and your co-workers take care of other business segments. Freelancing, on the other hand, means that all aspects of business fall on your shoulders. This does have its own advantages/benefits, but if you do not feel comfortable taking on that amount of responsibility, a translation agency could be a way to go.
This also implies that, at a translation agency, you have steady income. Why would you worry whether you will have enough work throughout the month or, on the other end of the spectrum, whether you will have too many translation projects to do, which comes with working long hours, lack of sleep, concentration and a non-existent social life. Steady income means you’ll be getting an amount of money you can count on every month, under any circumstances.
Camaraderie! By far the best thing about working at a translation agency are your colleagues. If you are lucky enough to work with a group of amazing people, going to work will be a piece of cake. I am fortunate enough to work at Sinonim, which, apart from being an incredible business opportunity, consists of people who make work a breeze, regardless of the amount of work that needs to be done.
Also, you can check our Instagram account for more tips and tricks about working at a translation agency.
There you have it. Hopefully, this will help you decide on the direction you want to take your career in. Good luck!
The unique terminology of legal texts, along with cultural differences and linguistic specificities, can pose a real challenge to translators. Legal translation is not only a translation between two languages and two cultures, but also between two legal systems. Whether you're entrusting your legal translation to an agency or a freelancer, make sure they are reliable and professional.
In today's blog post, we bring you five reasons why it's important to hire a professional translator for legal translations.
A legal translation affects the client's life directly, business and/or private. A translator's lack of experience and preparation can have serious consequences for the client. The person translating should, at the very least, have basic knowledge of the legal systems of both the source language and the target language, the types of legal acts and their functions. Besides, the translator should understand the legal concepts and terminology of the area being translated. Unlike some other types of translations, legal translations do not allow for "text interpretation". Adding or omitting words and phrases or replacing them with words of similar meaning won't contribute to the translation quality. Quite the opposite. A legal translation carries much weight. This is why it is important to keep precision in mind and translate what is said, not what the translator thinks is being said.
Words with multiple meanings are everyday phenomena in all types of translations. However, due to its effects, legal translation is a whole different story. The job of a translator is to understand the context and reach a decision on the meaning that should be used. If the context does not make clear what the matter is about and what the correct meaning is, consultation with the client is needed, and more information should be requested so as to make sure the translation is correct. In legal translation, you can never make enough checks.
When translating the word agreement from English to Croatian, one might use Croatian words conveying the meanings of contract, treaty, arrangement, consent, acceptance, deal, concordance or harmony (ugovor, sporazum, dogovor, suglasnost, pristanak, slaganje; nagodba, pogodba; podudarnost, skladnost). Although it may seem that these meanings are not that different at first, they have a significant distinctive role in the legal world.
Just how clear legal translations should be can be seen from the fact that the use of pronouns is avoided in legal regulations, hence the subject noun is repeated more often than it usually is in general language. Furthermore, nouns that are singular in Croatian and which don't refer to a specific person or thing are often translated into English as plural.
The legal language and legislations of a country reflect its culture. For example, someone not familiar with the legal system of Scotland and England may see the word marriage and not be aware of the fact that legal provisions for this term are not the same in those two countries. In Scotland, the legal minimum age for entering into marriage without parental consent is 16, and this minimum age is set at 18 in the legal system of England, that is, 16 with parental consent.
We can see how challenging a legal translation may be in systems where the same term could have an entirely different meaning due to the legal tradition of a certain country. Hence, in the American legal jargon, enjoin means to (legally) prohibit someone from doing something, while in the British version this means to (legally) force. The phrase on the table in the British legal system means that something has been put up for discussion or made available for consideration. In the American legal system, the same phrase could mean that something has been postponed, withdrawn.
Still think anyone can translate legal texts?
Naturally, the translator will never have the knowledge an attorney has. This is why it's important to know where to look for reliable and relevant information on a certain area. The emphasis is placed on the reliability of information. It's important to keep up with news from the industry, official websites of competent authorities, ministries and other institutions to be aware of all the changes and guidelines that may be different depending on the area of law and/or institution for which the translation is done.
This is particularly important for EU institutions that are very specific in their guidelines for translators. Our experience tells us that using manuals when doing translation for EU institutions is a must. Furthermore, there are certain rules when it comes to translation of legal regulations of the Republic of Croatia and a reliable resource for all translation dilemmas is the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
Legal translations are usually big in size and have (very) short deadlines. That's why it's essential, when splitting the project among several translators, for the terminology to be consistent. In translation agencies, due to organization of work and experience, this should function without any major problems. At Sinonim, our work is based on the principle that the same translators work for the same clients, since they are familiar with the material and are consistently using terminology throughout the translation. Consistent use of glossaries is also obligatory and, additionally, each project has a project manager who, besides taking care of terminology and division of work, also takes care of deadlines, communication with the client and makes sure the translation is of high quality.
Regardless of whether you ultimately decide to entrust your translation to an agency or a freelancer, check their qualifications, experience and ask for references. Good legal translators are hard to find, but once you find them and agree on mutual expectations, they can become your main support and a reliable partner when it comes to preparing any case.
There is a frequent statement directed towards translators by people who don’t understand how translating works and it goes something like this: “What’s the big deal, you just transfer every word into another language. Just use Google Translate and there you go!” Well, we could do that, if a client wants a poor-quality translation which does not sound natural or even make sense.
Speaking two languages is not the same as knowing how to translate. The process of translating is a lengthy one, with the translator really having to use their noggin. Join us through the journey of translating in order to reach the art of invisibility.
The thing is, regardless of the improvement of technology, high-quality translations are done by a person going through a text word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, trying to find the perfect equivalent. More often than not, there are phrases that simply do not have a counterpart in the target language. This mostly happens with idioms, which can be quite bizarre:
British English: Bob’s your uncle!
Meaning: and there it is/there you have it, typically used to say “everything is alright” or when a result is reached.
Croatian: Vidjet ćemo čija majka crnu vunu plete.
Translation: We will see whose mother is spinning black wool.
Meaning: We will see who will end up badly.
Spanish: Tirar la case por la ventana.
Translation: To throw the house out the window.
Meaning: To spare no expenses.
For each of these, the translator needs to spend a certain amount of time to find the expression suitable to replace it in the target language. They try to understand the meaning as a whole and create a sentence which will sound natural. Even some simple expressions, such as “je m’appelle Josh” in French, cannot be literally translated as “I call myself Josh”, but as “my name is Josh”. And it makes a big difference. At least if you want a coherent translation.
It’s impossible to translate the text correctly if you don’t understand the author’s perspective. Who are they addressing, in what way and what is the point of the text are only some of the questions in need of answering before starting the translation process. It’s the translator’s job to adjust and create a translation which captures the spirit of the original text.
There are, however, situations when the client has specific demands and requires a different approach to the translation. This may vary, from using specific tools to using certain words and phrases. It’s a translator’s job to respect their client’s wishes.
This entire process leads to the creation of a superior translation. After stopping at all the aforesaid stations throughout this journey, it would be a shame if the translator broke the illusion of it actually being a translation. Since it’s a known thing that the best translation is the one which is read as if it were an original, being the invisible translator is what one should aspire to be. The irony of it all is that nobody notices the invisible translator. If a translation is read like an original, nobody will acknowledge the person creating it in such a way. In other words, the better the translation, the less likely the translator is to be remembered. People tend to recollect the poor translations and huge (sometimes funny) errors, and with it the person who made it such.
And that is the reality of translators. Crazy deadlines with no appreciation.
It’s a good thing we love what we do.
Translating is hard as it is, but how do translators cope with non-existent terms like wizarding, an essential part of Harry Potter? Check out in our blog post.
For those of you who don't know, Harry Potter is the main protagonist in a series of fantasy novels written by J.K. Rowling. In a nutshell, he and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and every now and then they confront Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter's archenemy.
The increasing popularity of the book, increased the need for its translation all over the world. As you may know, the books are packed with invented names for spells, potions, alleys and basically everything connected to the wizarding world. But what you may not know, or even think about, is the difficulties most translators have with such non-existent terms, especially since there were no instructions given to the translators regarding Rowling's motives for each invented word. This lead to different takes and interpretations for each language, even in different editions of the same target-language.
The most obvious example for that is the fact that the original name Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the UK turned into Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US. The reasoning for it might have more to do with the publishers and their opinion on what would be a more attractive title in the US, but it proves the point in the most obvious way.
We can see different takes in other languages as well, such as Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers (Harry Potter at the School of Wizards) in French, or Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen in German and Harry Potter i kamen mudraca in Croatian (both translated into Harry Potter and the Stone of the Wise Men). But that's just the title.
Harry Potter fans know that many characters from the series have names that reveal a lot about that character. For instance, Severus Snape. Severus has apparent connotations with strictness and severity, and Snape sounds like snake, and, of course, the alliteration is obvious. Therefore, you can see how it might represent a problem in translation. For that reason, the Italians opted for Severus Piton (Python), and the French for Severus Rogue (arrogant), both sacrificing alliteration for meaning. Most, however, stuck to the original, losing the meaning in the process.
The same happened with translating Moaning Myrtle, who, for example, became Plačljiva Myrtla (crying Myrtle) in Croatian, but some languages cleverly managed to maintain the alliteration, such as Mirtilla Malcontenta (unhappy Myrtle) in Italian or Hisztis Myrtle (hysterical Myrtle) in Hungarian.
The translators surely had an interesting time translating the real name of Lord Voldemort, Tom Marvolo Riddle, which eventually must create an anagram for "I am Lord Voldemort". So let's see several examples of the result:
- Tom Elvis Jedusor --> Je suis Voldemort (I am Voldemort), French
- Tom Rowle Denem --> Nevem Voldemort (My name is Voldemort), Hungarian
- Tom Rojvol Raddle --> Já, lord Voldemort (I, Lord Voldemort), Czech
Some versions, however, opted for the original name with a footnote explaining the anagram.
This is, naturally, only a brief analysis focused on names of characters, but the examples are endless for every edition. It's the translator's job to transfer the story into a target-language to the best of his/her abilities. But what can one do when there is no exact translation equivalent? Something must be sacrificed. Which means that every translated book is written at least twice; by the author and by the translator who must adapt it. It can make you wonder just how much of the source text remains lost in translation.
Since this type of translation mostly regards legislation, and the fact remains that most translators are not legal experts, it’s important to familiarise oneself with the legal systems the translation project is concerned with. Acquiring knowledge on the way the European Union works, as well as on the Croatian legal system is highly recommended.
The translator should keep in mind that the source language texts are legally binding. That's why the translation should be of a very high standard, both from the linguistic and the legal perspective. It should be faithful to the source language, but not literal; the translator has a certain amount of freedom to create a translation in the spirit of the target language. Nevertheless, the format of the source language text must be respected and transferred to the target language. Standard linguistic formulations and terms set out in translation manuals must be used. Terminological consistency is obligatory. Naturally, it takes practice for the translator to be able to evaluate to what degree the translation can be free, i.e. to know what can be modified and what cannot.
Among the things to look out for when translating legislation in the Croatian-English combination is the use of shall and the use of negations. In English, shall is used to express a legal imperative and not the future. In Croatian, legal imperative is expressed in the present tense. Using the future tense to express legal imperatives in the Croatian language and omitting shall when translating the legal imperative from Croatian to English are common mistakes. Here are two examples:
Source text: Annuity payments shall be made monthly in advance.
Incorrect translation: Novčana renta plaćat će se mjesečno unaprijed.
Correct translation: Novčana renta plaća se mjesečno unaprijed.
Source text: Tko drugoga usmrti, kaznit će se kaznom zatvora najmanje pet godina.
Incorrect translation: A person who kills another will be sentenced to prison for at least five years.
Correct translation: A person who kills another shall be sentenced to prison for at least five years
Also, regarding negations, English language does not allow for more than one negation in a sentence. This results in an ambiguous sentence or alters its meaning; this is highly undesirable when dealing with legal texts. However, if the source text itself is ambiguous, an official interpretation should be requested from an institution that issued the source text. If that does not resolve the ambiguity, it should be transferred to the target language.
Source text: Osim ako se ne odbijaju od regulatornog kapitala, sljedeće stavke iskazuju se nadležnim tijelima zasebno kako bi se omogućila procjena potreba za stabilnim izvorima financiranja.
Incorrect translation: Unless not deducted from own funds, the following items shall be reported to competent authorities separately in order to allow an assessment of the needs for stable funding.
Correct translation: Unless deducted from own funds, the following items shall be reported to competent authorities separately in order to allow an assessment of the needs for stable funding.
Another thing to be noted are quotations. Where there is a quotation referring to another document within the legal text that is being translated, and the official translation of such document already exists or the legal text actually originates from the target language, the translator should find the respective document and use the official translation or source text, as opposed to doing it on their own. Many of these official translations or source documents can be found online. Using them in the translation makes the translators job much easier and ensures consistency in the translation of the respective text.
Finally, here are several resources that might come in handy when translating EU legislation:
Translation manuals (in Croatian) and glossaries
InterActive Terminology for Europe
Eur-Lex: Access to European Union Law
EUdict (European dictionary)
And of course, when everything else fails:
Keep in mind that terminology in these types of texts is extremely important. If uncertain, a term should be checked in several resources before use. Above all, the translation needs to make sense, i.e. the meaning needs to be translated from the source language to the target language and the translation needs to be clear and unambiguous.
Although it might seem like one and the same thing, localization and translation are two rather different processes. Translation is a process of translating a certain text into a target language, in order to make the information written in one language understandable to the speakers of some other language. Localization is the process of completely customizing the product or service to the target market while taking into account the culture of the target market and the functionality of a product or service in that particular market.
Video games are an interactive medium that is constantly growing. The skyrocketing popularity of video games has made localization an inevitable step in the process of video game production and placement on the global market.
Video games are usually sold all over the world, which means they need to be adapted to a great number of languages and need to take into account cultural differences, ways of speaking and thinking. Even in the countries in which the same language is spoken (for example, Spanish), it is not recommended to use the same localized version of a video game because there are some linguistic and cultural differences between those countries as well.
Video game localization also presupposes adjustment to the legal and regional requirements of a target language and country, as well as to various cultural nuances that are specific to each language, country, and even its regions. It implies translation of video game texts, transcripts of audio materials and other video game components, as well as adjustment of settings, such as design, advertisements, colors, dates, currencies, keyboard features, and the like. Localization also has to take into consideration all cultural, historical, religious, ethnic and geopolitical characteristics.
Transcript – Video game transcript implies a text in a video game visible to the player (dialogs, descriptions, controls, menus, options, and more), but also a computer code that "remains invisible" but often has to be taken into account in order for translated text to perfectly fit into the context of a game.
Translation – All materials are then translated into the target language. According to our experience, if a project is large, with a tight deadline, the source material needs to be distributed to multiple translators. It is necessary to then assign a project manager who will coordinate the translators, but who will also make sure that the terminology used by the translators is consistent.
Adjustment – It is not enough for the translator only to review the text, correct possible mistakes, and customize the used terms. The translated material should be revised by someone who is deeply immersed in the world of video games, familiar with the common terms used in gaming, and who will, in the end, make sure that all of pieces of the translated material blend together flawlessly.
Once a translation is imported into a game, an additional and very useful service can be provided, namely quality assurance, which means testing of the video game in the target language. It that way, any possible remaining mistakes or inconsistencies can be found and that is when new ideas on how to improve localization and further adapt the game to the targeted market culture often emerge.
Developers often use translation and localization services provided by people or agencies that are not experts in video game localization. Some of them localize their video games on their own, hiring freelancers or even using the Google translate tool.
It is understandable that they try to save money on localization, since it may appear non-essential, but the results show that a well-localized game sells better. Today's gamers are very demanding, as far as the gaming experience is concerned, and they want it to be as natural, as realistic and as accessible as possible. Since nowadays there are so many video games, people like to try out a lot of different ones and often do not spend too much time playing one game. The first impression and the very beginning of a game are crucial in deciding whether the gamer will continue to play and eventually buy the game.
Some of the games we've localized are SpeedRunners, Shopping Tycoon, Pipe Push Paradise i Starpoint Gemini Warlords. So far we have localized video games from English into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Russian.
We want to help you understand the advantages of business website translation. Of course, we refer to business websites that offer specific services or products.
The Internet has become a global market that brings together nearly four billion active users, more accurately 3,885,567,619*.
The vast majority of Internet users speak the following languages: English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, French, Japanese, Russian and German. English is used by only 25% of total Internet users. So, the first step is certainly translation into English (for non-English speakers), but we suggest taking it a step further and translating your website into more languages.
Why not offer your services or products to so many of these users?
We can tell you from experience that it's actually very easy to do business with people and companies outside your own country. Why not give it a try?
After asking two questions, we offer these five answers ?:
This is the first and most obvious reason for translating your website. If you have the opportunity to offer your services internationally, you should do it without hesitation. However, in order for your new customers to familiarize themselves with your offer in the best possible way, they should be able to read it in their native language. That brings us to the second reason.
Some of the research also shows that people would rather pay for a service or product if they understood everything about it.
If they understand you, they will trust you. And if you establish trust, your sales will grow.
Most of your competitors probably have the option of changing the language on their website and therefore offer their services to speakers of other languages. That means they have a greater number of potential customers. It's wise to keep track of your competition, but it is even wiser being better than them. In order to outshine them, you can translate your online business into a lot more languages!
If your website is only in one language, it will only appear in your local Google domain, while other internet users will be denied the information about your services. Business website translation will bring you a much wider choice of keywords in search engine optimization (SEO). We guarantee that you will be very pleased with the results!
If you are translating your page into other languages, you can use a wider range of websites for advertising. Even the very fact that you've translated your website into, for example Chinese, can lead to news articles on certain websites. That will bring you more publicity and people will respect your brand.
Please note that it is not enough to merely translate – your website needs to be localized. What does that mean?
Localization is a complete adaptation of products or services for foreign language speakers and other cultures. When it comes to translating, cultural differences are often neglected. This results in your products or services appearing unnatural and unconvincing. The main task of localization is to adapt products or services so that they look like they originated in the country where they are sold and advertised.
Successfully communicating a complete message means that the translation conveys the "feel" as well as the meaning of your brand.
For example, we would like to point out a big mistake made by Pepsi. They wanted to translate their original slogan “Pepsi brings you back to life” into Mandarin. Unfortunately, the translation ended up meaning “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”. The lesson we can learn from their mistake is to avoid literal translation!
We can conclude that business website translation and localization is perhaps the fastest, most efficient and most convenient way of introducing your brand to the global market.
Now we must point out that we're the experts you're looking for!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org