“Professional” Service in Translation
For a professional translator, “Client” is always your superior and commander. Most of our translation works are finally used being based on a kind of business activity, such as, advertisement, product manual, catalogs, specifications, instructions, letters, readings, etc. In order to meet this business needs, you need to do more “professional service translation”. Usually, we follow some translation principals, namely “Fidelity in meaning, Authenticity in expression, Affinity in style, Identity in form”, “adherence, ability and elegance”, “being faithful to the original sources”. However, the real “faithfulness” is not only paraphrasing one language into another language, but also having more additional meanings. What is this additional meaning? It’s the background information, the “fixed” expressions, using custom of target languages, ideas and assumptions of your “Client”, even some official and unofficial regulations and rules, and so on. By saying so, let’s take a look at some examples: In a translation, there is a title “MSDS”. Those who working in or related to chemical areas are very familiar with this one, it is the abbreviation of “Material Safety Data Sheet”. But, how do we translate it into Chinese? Someone, maybe not familiar with chemical products, translates this into “材料安全数据表”—it is the original acceptation. You can also search out other results, such as “物质安全数据表”,“材料安全说明书”,“化学安全数据表”,from tools like internet, dictionary, etc. However, it is usually called “化学品安全技术说明书” in China, besides, there are a lot of official regulations in correspondence, which are issued by the Chinese government. Though, “material” does not mean “化学品”and “data sheet” has nothing to do with “技术说明书”originally. Example two: “Solubility in Water: Insoluble” The word “insoluble” here can be translated into “不能溶解的”or “不溶解于水”for an original acceptance. However, there is a special “filling instructions” for “MSDS”, which is issued by the Chinese authority. It points out that using “混溶”,“易溶”,“微溶”,“不溶”to express the “ solubility in water” in MSDS. So, we can only choose “不溶”here, though other expressions are not wrong, they are not professional! Example three: for a Chinese phrase "安居工程", someone has translated it into “housing project for low-income urban residents”. However, “the affordable housing program” is much more meeting with the common expressions of social and economical phrases. Example four: and also the Chinese traffic warning sign - "请勿疲劳驾驶" should not be translated into “don’t drive tiredly”, because there has been regulated terms corresponding with it, “Drowsy driving is dangerous” or “Drive alert, arrive alive”. From above, when we are carrying out some translating services, it must be not only to clarify the sentence structures and the meaning of the words, but as well to understand some background information, knowledge, rules, etc. In this way, giving out the real appropriate translation and it will serve your client right at the point. And, if you can, do more communications with your client. If you want to meet his/her needs, you have to first know about it. Different people often have different tastes. For example, for a Chinese sentence “姑娘…你…你？”, maybe you translate it into “Miss…Miss…Miss?” in accordance with English speakers’ custom. But, attention, your client may think you are not “faithful” to the original. Here are some tips for professional translators to take:
- Always remember to try to know your client’ ideas as much as you can before you get to start.
- Learn professional knowledge as much as you can. Especially, pay more attention to some “fixed” translation expressions.
- Be very careful to choose your translation style. Is it a common and easy-understanding one or a profound and more-polished one? Is it an official document or just an advertisement?
- Every time you finished your translations, do check it carefully. Read it and do not jump those sections that you feel a little unsmooth.
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