Important Translation Methods For Beginner Translators

Translation is a process that deals with languages and how meanings are formulated from one language into another. Translators who have vast experience in translation are aware that there are different methods of translation employed for different translation forms. Depending on what you want to translate, there different methods set aside for that.  

These methods are divided into two subgroups and that is practical translation methods and translation strategies that can be identified and discussed within academia.

As a client looking for translation services, having an idea about these methods will help you greatly because you will determine what method you want for your translation works and what you don’t want.

Below we will mention the different methods that you can use as a translator for different translation works.

1. Machine Translation

Machine translation is commonly referred to as MT. It is the translation that done solely by machines and there is no form of human interference. Machine translation is a translation method that is carried out by formulated translation software’s which are created solely for translation works. The best example of a machine translator is Google translate which is known worldwide and commonly used by many people in the world.

A machine translator is able to work because of the commercial engines, tailored to specific domains, languages and clients. It is usually formulated specifically to the client’s wishes.

It is important to note that machine translators will not give you 100% correct and accurate translations, this makes them unreliable for translation projects that are of great value and importance. If you have used google translate before on two languages that you fluently speak, you can tell how nonsensical some translations are. That is how unreliable machine translators are.

The best way to use machine translators, is when you are trying to get the general idea of a translator before you translate it accurately. It is also great for translations on the go.

2. Machine Translation plus Human Editing.

This translation method is commonly referred to as PEMT. This is a translation method where a machine translator is used for general translation and then passed on to a human translator for thorough editing. It can also be referred to as post-editing Machine Translation. The concept is basically where a human translator edits already machine-translated texts. It is a method that is quick and slightly cheaper.

As we have noted, machine translators are not accurate and a human translator is used in order to rectify and make the translated texts conclusive and accurate. The human translator is expected to make slight changes where the translations are understandable and make sense. Sometimes, they can do great changes that also touch on the quality of the translated texts.

It is a method that comes in handy for anyone who has a low budget but still want their texts to make sense to the target audience. They might not be the most perfectly translated texts but they should be able to make sense for anyone reading them. This means that you should never rely on this method to get rid of all mistakes made during machine translation.

3. Human Translation

Commonly referred to as HT, it is a method of translation that depends solely on professional human beings to carry out the translation works.

This is one of the most sort after form of translation by clients. This is because human translators are able to create translations that are perfect in every way or form. By this, I mean they can come up with accurate, well worded, and formulated translations.

It is important to note that as much as they are translations carried out by Native human translators, who are expected not to have any errors, they are still human and human is to error. The errors would not be of the same magnitude as the ones created by machine translators.

When you are looking to translate important and confidential files, choosing to work with human translators will work better for you.

4. Human Translation + Revision

This is the PEMT version of human translation. This is the translation method where a human translator comes up with nicely worded and formulated translations and then the text is further revised by an editor translator who can closely and keenly look into any errors that might have been left unnoticed.

In a nutshell, this means that a human translator’s work is reviewed by another human translator. The review is essentially a safety check that picks up any translation errors and refines wording if need be.

This is the only way to produce highly accurate and greatly worded translated texts. It is also important to note that this is the only translation method that is really expensive compared to the rest. You can only opt for this method if you have a high budget set aside specifically for the translation project.

5. Computer-Assisted Translation

Commonly referred to as CAT, the computer assisted translation method is one where human translator use computer tools which help in making the translation process less tedious and more efficient.

In this method which is in this day and age used by any human translator under the sun, the translation process has been made more efficient for translators. The most commonly used tool by translators is the translation memory software which usually creates a database that helps in storing previous translations that can be accessed for future work. The database is usually referred to as a glossary. This is usually used to ensure that the terminology remains consistent and accurate which will help in speeding up the process for a translator.

6. Word-for-word Translation

You will notice that this is also a translation technique that is greatly used by translators out there. Word-for-word translation, is a translation method that translates words and phrases into another language using words that mean the same thing as the ones in the source language.

So, the translator deliberately ignores context and target language grammar and syntax. The primary purpose of this method is to help the target audience understand how the words have been used in the original language and how the language structure works with the words used. Often the translation will be placed below the original text to aid comparison.

7. Literal Translation

You will notice that a lot of these translation methods are also translatable as translation techniques. Literal translation is a method where a translator tries to make sense of words used in the source language into the target language. Words are usually translated independently using their most common meanings and out of context, but word order changed to the closest acceptable target language grammatical structure to the original.

Its main purpose to help formulate meanings that make sense in the target language.

8. Faithful Translation

As the word states, it is a translation method that remains faithful to the original context of a text. The faithful translation method is one that strives to make sure that the translations done for the target language are following the original text’s concept, context and meaning.

All the texts are usually precise when compared to the original text. It is usually done by Native translators who are able to stick to the language structures of both languages.

9. Semantic Translation

This is a translation method that carries the same concept as the faithful translation method. It also strives to keep the same concept, context, and meanings as used in the source language when being translated to the target language. It is a method that seeks to convey the same meaning of original text into the target language.

The only difference between the two is the fact that the semantic method puts more emphasis on sounds, text repetition, word play and assonance. Any form of aesthetics used on a text; the semantic method will strive to put emphasis on it. Apart from context, meaning and concept the semantic translation method strives to recreation the precise flavor and tone of the original text into the target language.

10. Communicative Translation

Communication is a what you do to pass information in a way that is understandable and direct to the point. The communication translation method is one that strives to create translations that are natural and easy to understand.

It is the method that is known to be reader friendly. You will not come across hard terminologies and phrases when dealing with a translation text that has been translated using this method.

11. Free Translation

This translation method allows translators to convey the meanings and effects of a text in the target language. There are no constraints like language structures or grammatical forms that affect translations when this method is being used. There is a lot of paraphrasing and the only effect this causes is slightly longer or shorter versions of the original text.

12. Adaptation

Adaptation is a translation method that allows translators to adapt how specific words and phrases would be used in another language and make sense without losing its context and meaning and still considering the cultural aspect of the target language.

In this method, themes, story lines and characters will be retained, but cultural references, acts and situations adapted to relevant target culture ones.

13. Idiomatic Translation

As the name suggests, it is a method that deals with idioms and expressions. This is a method that helps translators come up with the meaning of different idioms and expressions in another language without using the exact idioms or expressions. Any other method used when dealing with idioms or expressions will be completely off and that is why using the idiomatic translation method is more viable.

The goal is to produce a translation with a language that is as natural as possible.

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