Five Things to Know About Translation

  1. Translators work with written documents, while interpreters work with spoken language.
  2. Most translators can translate around 200-250 words per hour, depending on the text.
  3. The original document is called the source, while the new translated document is called the target.
  4. The word “translate” comes from the past participle form of the Latin word “transferre,” which means “to bring over, to carry over.”
  5. Translating is not merely about knowing the definitions of words in a different language. Translators need to take into account the various shades of meaning of a word (for example, does the author simply mean “happy” or does he mean content, cheerful, delighted, pleased, etc.?), grammar differences, idiomatic expressions, intended audience and style of the text (is this a casual letter written to a friend or is this a formal business document?). On top of all that, they need to make sure the text reads well in the target language. Staying true to the original while making the text flow in a different language can be a challenge in the translation field, although it is a challenge most translators enjoy!