At first glance this seems like an easy question to answer:
All words translated corrected.
Obviously that should be All words translated
Thanks to the readers who caught our error!
Like many other concepts, it's not that simple.
1. Translating word for word will result in a clunky sentence that may not convey the meaning properly. (See the accompanying article.)
2. Some languages are rich in synonyms and some fit the source document better than the others. Should a female be designated as a girl, damsel, young lady, broad, gal, lassie, woman, moll or matron? Each of these terms has an entire envelope of meaning and culture associated with it in English. It is the translator's job to pick the right synonym.
3. Language standards are fluid. Obscenity and slang terms fall in and out of use. What was appropriate last year may have taken on another meaning this year. Sometimes the target word equivalent to the source word is no longer proper for the context. The translator is embedded in the culture and aware of these issues.
4. Then there's the matter of style. A translation may be accurate and still not meet the style requirements of the client. Of course, we do our best to match the register-that is, the tone-of the original but there are different writing styles within the register and they may all be accurate.
Who has the final say about accuracy?
First and foremost our translations must please our clients.
Occasionally a client will give one of our translations to a friend who speaks the language but is neither a native speaker nor a trained linguist. We are happy to work through any changes requested, implementing those that are a matter of style and explaining why others may not be appropriate.
At Tembua, accuracy means:
all concepts moved from the source language to the target language in a style that sounds like the document was originally written in the target language and obeying all standards of grammar, syntax and orthography in that language.
We'd love to hear your take on this topic!