The Many Definitions of Translation






We've heard of how biblical anecdotes portray language as a great divide capable of deterring cooperation, coordination, and understanding by making communication difficult between parties. Translations can bridge continents together. In a world that houses thousands of languages, each with its own culture, structure and origin, it's no mystery how one may conceive a proverbial 'barrier' between one nationality and another.


Translations assist scholars and academics in unearthing histories between unique lands. It also helps improve communication between nations, allowing two countries to adapt to a rapidly globalizing world mutually. With that in mind, we can further understand that function greatly contributes to the generally conceived translation definition.


Translating something can be a daunting task. And quite frankly, a 'perfect translation' might never actually exist. The term 'lost in translation' is a real problem in the world of academe and linguistics, perhaps one that may be insurmountable without further progress in technology.


Through this article, we will explore the role translation plays in society and the real-world effects and discover more answers to the question: "What is translation."


Translation and the World


Believe it or not, translation plays a role in everyday life. Translation provides extensively multidimensional importance in forging foreign relationships and countries with several languages in its locale, multicultural stability.


Translations are instrumental in building global interaction and allows countries from the world to create engaging and nurtured relationships that may contribute to the rise of technology and the shifting of political landscapes.


While it is a known truth that English reaches the widest influence in the world today, we should never short-sell the importance of local culture and language and should be maintained with pride and without prejudice.


Now in the extremely digitally-centric 21st century, the internet has augmented communications technology. There is noticeable ease in reaching out to audiences that come from thousands of miles away through innovations in translation.


In the same way, this has also opened a demand for reliable translation in a diverse pool of fields such as mass communication, education, literature, science and technology, tourism, trade and business, and many more.


Translation and You


It may seem candidly unknown to you, but translation affects your daily life in many ways you may not care to notice. The books you've studied in school have probably been translated from a different language into the form you know and love.


But let's take it even closer to home. For instance, you log on to the internet and type winter hats, or if you search for houses for sale in a particular country you wish to look at, the words on your screen may have been written in a language unknown to you.


English isn't as universal as one may think. While English is definitely one of the more prominent languages in the world, not everyone can speak the language.


If you notice, other languages are steadily gaining ground on relevance when it comes to the global market. The rise of Korea and K-pop is one indicator that we now live in a world that's more welcoming and appreciative of beauty in other languages and cultures. Japanese anime we consume go through arduous processes to get the transcription we read and the dubs you listen to. Asian dramas and horror films have also taken the media by storm.


Ours is a world of rapidly-developing globalization. And with that, the rise of many cultures and languages that may at one point, have been unknown to you. It takes skill, knowledge, and years of research to translate the information, goods, and various things you consume—physically or digitally.


Taking on Translation


As mentioned before, the 'perfect translation' may not yet actually exist. This is because of the complexities and diversity between linguistic systems. Challenges translation usually stems from how people use certain words to define and expound thoughts and notions. People, when having mastered language, tend to deviate from the primary meaning of each term.


As the language service industry flourished in the 2010s, people from all over the world have come to understand that translation goes far beyond just rewriting the sources into different languages. There is a need to do more than just translating materials at a word-per-word basis as translators and language specialists have to extract other possible meanings and contexts in which something is written or said.


Professional translators and language service companies need to go beyond word-to-word translation to transfer the exact meaning from one language to the other. Translating idiomatic expressions is a tall task for any translator, professional or otherwise. Idioms are very specific to languages and culture as linguistic expressions. It's a given that idioms are essential facets to a language, but it should be duly noted that they are difficult to explain if there's insufficient knowledge about cultural differences between the target language and the source.


Idioms like "break a leg" or "don't cry over spilled milk," if you think about it, would cause worlds of confusion for readers if knowledgeable translators took the literal expression for the translation. Foreign audiences would simply fail to understand what the translation would be saying.


Other things that trouble specialists are explaining humor, phrasal verbs, affixes, and merely the lack of correspondence between two languages. This all comes from the dynamic element of languages. And while it's true that some languages have similar structures and even words, translation is no easy task and takes years of academe and scholarly effort to grasp and fully understand genuinely.


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