For translators that are new in this field, there are many things to learn while word on word translation can be the commonest problem that they should overcome. Below are two examples to show you what word on word translation is.

1) Thank you for your interest in this new survey. I can’t tell you much about the subject, because we don’t want to affect your judgment. You will soon see what it is about!

As always, your participation is in support of charity and you may also win a beautiful prize.

Good luck!

Original Translation: 谢谢您对此调查感兴趣。我不能告诉您更多关于主题的信息,因为我们不希望影响您的判断。内容立刻可见!



Revised Translation for Reference: 感谢您参与此新调查。为了不影响您的判断,目前我还不能向您透露太多此调查的相关信息,您将很快了解其内容!



2) What do Reminders do?

Adds reminder alerts into your device and reminds you of specific phases of your latest cycle.

Original Translation: 提示会做些什么?


Revised Translation for Reference: 提醒有什么功能?


Read Also: 10 of the 2012 translation industry predictions

These maybe extreme examples, but new translators tend to make this kinds of mistakes. They translate everything literally, stick to the every word of the source text and totally forget the fact that the translation may not be fluent in the target language.

My suggestion to solve this problem: Read the sentence you have to translate then rewrite the meaning in your own way in the target language instead of translate word on word. This way can make the translation less awkward.

And also, you can read your translation after you have translated it for a while (For example, the next day after you translated it), then you will find whether your translation is fluent or not. We know that if you studying a sentence for a long time, it is not easy to tell whether the sentence has problem or not, while sometimes you would see it is odd immediately. That is the reason why we can not tell the problems of our own translation while we can observe the problems of other people’s works easily.