Professional translation from one language and to another is more than just a word-for-word substitution in hopes of getting an intelligent product. The key to effective translation is interpreting the actual meaning so that it can be understood by the person who does not understand the original language.
Take Spanish verbs, for instance. Verbs are, by definition, action words, but between English and Spanish those same verbs do not always express the action implied by their literal translation.
Spanish subjunctive verbs are tricky
Subjunctive mood verbs are a prime example. In English we have the subjunctive mood, and like Spanish we use it to express the hypothetical, something desired or that is a simple wish. For example, when we say, "I wish he were here," the verb "were" is used in the subjunctive mood. The same applies in Spanish, but Spanish uses more subjunctive connotations than English. Below are some typical examples:
Expressing a wish that is not reality. In the Spanish sentence "Quiero que no tengas frío," (literally, "I want you not to be cold.), Spanish use the subjunctive form of the verb tener following the "wish statement" quiero que. In English we just use the indicative "want."
Expressing feelings or emotions. In English when we say we're sorry about something, we use the appropriate form of the indicative mood. In Spanish they always choose the subjunctive mood. The typical expression would start with "Siento que..." followed by an appropriate subjunctive form of the verb.
Expressing intent that is not current reality. The Spanish sentence "Te doy mi chaqueta para que no tengas frío" is literally translated "I give you my coat in order that you are not cold." In English we would most likely use the future tense verb and to say, "I'm giving you my coat so that you won't be cold."
An expression of possibility edged with doubt. Translating the sentence "Perhaps he is cold" into Spanish requires the use of the present subjunctive of the verb tener: "Tal vez tenga frío."
It becomes more complicated, especially when both the indicative and the subjunctive could be used depending on your meaning. It requires an expert translator to sort out the intent of the speaker. The resulting translation can often be very different words nevertheless conveying the precise intended meaning.
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