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Top Tips to Break the Language Barrier
by Terralíngua      Posted in  February 5, 2013
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Breaking language barriersWebsite availability in multiple languages is a trend popular with most website owners, especially if their target audience is spread globally. However, language translation is something that is not easy and people can easily recognize shoddily translated work. This might even irk some people. To prevent this from happening and to ensure that you break the language barrier, here are a few tips that might come in handy.

Be Careful with Puns and Conversational Expressions

When you translate a line word to word, you might not be very effective in communicating what you intended to. Machine translations carry out word to word translations and are not effective in more than 60% of the sentences. This is where a professional translator will be helpful. The translator will read the whole sentence, the paragraph also, if needed, and translate it in such a way to preserve the true meaning. By doing this, the translator will ensure that the message that you wished to convey is displayed, with very little room for misinterpretation. This problem usually arises with the usage of metaphors, puns, and conversational expressions.

Contraction and Expansion Factors

You may notice that the number of words used in a particular sentence in one language do not remain the same when it is translated into another language. . Due to varying sentence structures and word usage, there will usually be an increase or decrease in the word count. For example, a typical translation from English to Russian will increase the word count by roughly 30%. When you design a web page or a theme, you would have chosen the styling to suit a fixed number of words. If there are more words, you cannot accommodate them. Less number of words implies empty spaces in the web page which doesn’t look good. So, make sure you take this factor into account while getting your site translated.

Cultural and Legal Limitations

Make sure that you take into account the cultural bounds and the legal limitations of the region you are targeting. This is important because you must not post content that will hurt the sentiment of the locals. Similarly, if you post something that is against law, and even if you do it inadvertently, you will be in trouble. Not to mention the hit that your company’s reputation takes. So, try to be as passive as possible and stick to hard facts without being judgmental.

Beware of Machine Translated Text

Machine translations work only on the most basic sentences. If you type in a long complicated sentence, the machine will translate each word as it is. It might result in a sentence that means something different altogether. So, try to avoid machine translations as much as possible. Even if you have to go ahead with machine translations, make sure that you get the output reviewed by someone who is familiar with the language that it is translated into. Also, try to keep the English sentences short and very simple if you are using a machine translator. This will ensure that the translated text is accurate.

Choosing Translator Services Carefully

To avoid all the aforementioned problems, you must be very careful while picking translator services. There might be a number of them on offer but only a handful offer very high quality services. If it comes to budget, try to be a little flexible as translation is a onetime investment and you do not want to compromise on the quality. You can actually do a bit of research before hiring a translation service. Website translation is being considered by almost all companies in a bid to target a global audience. So, chances are that you could get some really good recommendations.

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