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The 4 most common myths about translation, debunked

Posted on: May 22, 2023 by admin

Translation is a vital service that helps individuals and businesses communicate effectively across linguistic and cultural barriers. However, there are many misconceptions and myths surrounding the translation industry that can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications. In this blog post, we will debunk the four most common myths about translation and provide a clear understanding of the reality behind each of them.

1. Machine translation is removing the need for interpreters


Machine translation has certainly come a long way in the past decade. It is now easier than ever for the average person to understand snippets of linguistically diverse text by using a simple application or website. However, machine translation still has some shortcomings when it comes to matching the fluency of a natural speaker. Even AI has trouble deciphering the tone and nuances of a different language when translating. Things like slang and minor errors in the source text can give you a completely different result when relying on a translation algorithm. A human interpreter will be able to recognise these nuances and work around them in the final result. Additionally, a machine does not have the same understanding of niche topics that specialised interpreters may be required to translate for. Legal, medical, or STEM documents can include industry-specific or organisation-specific information that can be more difficult to filter through a machine, often incurring an inaccurate result. Also, while machines may be somewhat adequate for translation in informal circumstances, they cannot simultaneously interpret or even provide quality consecutive interpretation. This is due to their current inability to match a human-like cadence, or effectively translate language spoken conversationally.


2. Any bilingual person can be an interpreter


Being bilingual to a native or otherwise fluency can be helpful to begin training as an interpreter, but it does not guarantee the skills necessary to interpret in every situation. There is a great cost to mistakes when interpreting. Even a minor misconstruction of a single word can completely change the meaning of a message, leading to serious consequences in some situations. Interpreters must be able to think quickly on their feet in both languages, accurately interpreting idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms in real-time. This requires a high level of linguistic fluency and the ability to quickly switch between languages while still maintaining accuracy.


Furthermore, effective interpreting involves more than just language proficiency. Interpreters must also possess strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to build rapport with both parties, manage expectations, and maintain professional boundaries. They must also be familiar with the cultural nuances and customs of both the source and target languages, as this can greatly impact the interpretation process.


3. It’s expensive to work with an interpreter


Interpretation services are often seen as an expensive investment for businesses and individuals. However, this does not always have to be the case, especially when using Speak Your Language to hire an interpreter. The variety of interpreter qualifications and experience levels that we offer means our services can be customised to fit your price range. Our website has a database of qualified interpreters with varying levels of experience and expertise. Clients can choose an interpreter that fits their specific needs and budget. For example, a client may not need a highly experienced and specialised interpreter for a simple conversation, but may require one for a legal or medical appointment. By choosing the right interpreter, clients can save money while still receiving high-quality interpretation services from SYL.


4. Interpretation and translation are the same thing


Interpretation and translation are two distinct language services that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Translation refers to the process of rendering written text from one language to another, while interpretation refers to the process of rendering spoken or signed language from one language to another in real-time. Translation can be written and revised, but interpretation involves spoken language that must be rendered immediately and cannot be revised once spoken. Interpreters therefore must be skilled at thinking quickly and have fast comprehension. Another key difference between interpretation and translation is the skill set required for each service. While both require a high level of language proficiency, interpretation requires strong interpersonal skills, the ability to think quickly and accurately in both languages, and a deep understanding of cultural nuances and customs. Translation, on the other hand, requires strong writing and editing skills, as well as an understanding of industry-specific terminology and context.


In conclusion, translation is a complex and nuanced field that requires a high level of expertise and attention to detail. By debunking these myths, we hope to provide a greater understanding of the translation industry and the important role it plays in bridging linguistic and cultural gaps. Whether you are an individual seeking translation services or a business looking to expand into new markets, choose Speak Your Language for access to skilled interpretation and translation services.