Dec 21, 2018

Have you ever plugged a word or phrase into a generic translation application or website and then consequently laughed hilariously at the result that appeared? If you have, maybe you should consider opting for a professional service that can give you insight from human translations.

Languages are so amazing. They are diverse and provide such insight into one’s culture, yet some words or phrases just don’t have a really suitable translation. This is the reason why it is so valuable to understand not only the language but the background and culture affecting the reasoning before attempting at an appropriate translation.

For example, if you tried to directly translate the phrase, “it’s raining cats and dogs!” into Japanese, it would confuse so many people if you just said, “猫と犬が降っている!(neko to inu ga fuuteru)”. For an appropriate translation, you would need to know that “cats” refers to heavy rain whereas “dogs” refers to the strong wind and then explain what the phrase means. Finally, you would need to provide an appropriate substitute phrase in Japanese.

Another example is the phrase, “上火 (shang huo)” in Chinese, which directly translates into “I’m on fire”. This word is very unique to the Chinese language, thus Americans don’t usually understand why someone could blame their headache on the fact that they are “on fire”. Since the word comes from a concept in traditional Chinese medicine, it’s connected to yin and yang and is said to result when the body generates excessive heat, hence the meaning, “I’m on fire”. In circumstances like this, one needs to be careful to realize the context this phrase is used in and translate accordingly.

Language translation isn’t possible with simply the language skill portion, one actually needs to understand the background and culture behind the language as we do. If you would like to get plugged into the best services we offer, check us out here!