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September 20, 2017

Details Are Everything When it Comes to Translation

by Chad Richardson

When taking the important step of developing multilingual content for your customers and clients, it is best to rely on a translation company. This will allow you to navigate the sometimes tricky task of preparing an accurate and natural sounding document or recording.

It is important to keep in mind that there are often significant differences between written and spoken language. The German language provides an excellent example. To tell someone in writing that you have seen a colleague of theirs, you would use the simple past tense, considered more formal:

• Ich sah Ihre Kollegin – I saw your colleague

But you will only rarely hear this used on the streets of Berlin. Instead, it is far more common to use the less formal present perfect tense in spoken German:

• Ich habe Ihre Kollegin gesehen – I have seen your colleague

While both communicate the same idea, knowing the difference between the two and when it is appropriate to use one rather than the other will ensure that your documents and recordings have the right tone.

When producing audio or video content, it is also important to know the subtleties of the spoken language itself. For this it is best to use the services of a native speaker of the target language. That will allow you to avoid embarrassing mistakes or inadvertently offending a client.

Such mistakes are especially easy to make in tonal languages like Mandarin or Cantonese in which the tone of a speaker’s voice helps to determine the meanings of words. With just a slight change in pitch, you could find yourself saying “horse” (Mǎ) when you mean to say “mother” (Mā). Those are two words you never want to confuse!

Whether you need help with a written foreign language or a spoken foreign language, utilizing the right methods and the right experts will guarantee that your clients understand your message as you intend it.

Contact us today for more information on how these services can work for you.

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