- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 14/07/2015
- Business translation, internal review, Professional translators
- “Preferences” versus “mistakes” – languages are not only constantly evolving, they also vary enormously between regions (the industry refers to these variations as “locales”). In fact, they even vary between speakers (native versus non-native, and even among native speakers). Paradoxically, most people (linguists and non-linguists alike) are convinced that THEIR version of the language they speak is the “right” one, which means that anything we don´t agree with is automatically categorised as a “mistake”… The lesson here is to have an open mind when it comes to language use. Other people’s translations are not always “wrong”, and other people’s suggestions on your own translation are nearly always worth taking into consideration. The key is open, positive collaboration and discussion before jumping to conclusions.
- Limited linguistic knowledge – whereas we all accept that we know nothing of most languages, a little linguistic knowledge often creates an exaggerated level of confidence. This is especially true of English, as most people in business these days have some knowledge of it. An extreme (real life) example of this is the (non-native-English) client who wouldn´t accept the phrasal verb “make up” (as in “the make-up of the committee displeased the main investor”) because he had only come across the word as a synonym of “cosmetics”. This happens most when we know one meaning of a particular word or expression but have never heard the second one. This is totally understandable and it happens all the time.
- Interpersonal skills and attitude – frustration from the translation process is often directly related to the attitudes and reactions of those involved. Language issues create surprisingly emotional reactions, so don´t assume that an irate reviewer is right just because his e-mails are “louder” than anybody else’s. Likewise, a translator/proofreader is not always right just because he “guarantees” he is.
Continue to The Role of the Internal Reviewer Part 5 for Politics, power struggles and personal enmity