Did you know that there are 22 major languages spoken and written in India, using 13 different written scripts, and over 720 dialects? India has become the second largest country in population with over 1.3 billion people. This presents a number of challenges for the translation community, even though English is also a major language in the country. The country’s major dialect, Hindi, has been one of our areas of language expertise.
The demand for website translation services has been constant, as technologically India has been keeping pace with the world in the global marketplace. Though China often comes to the front of the news, India is not to be ignored. Their expanding development and use of technology is requiring its citizens to be kept abreast of public events and information. As a country once having some 600 kingdoms ruled by 600 separate local leaders, its population has moved forward into unifying under a single government and becoming a major world power in the process.
Behind Mandarin Chinese in the ranking of the world’s most commonly spoken languages is Spanish. The number of dialects varies, from the Spanish spoken in Spain, to Mexico, to Central and South America. Lesser recognized countries such as Bolivia and Peru face their own technology challenges, but as they emerge from digital darkness we have teams prepared to work with them, as about 52 percent of our business has come from Spanish speaking dialects.
Our primary focus has been on public information websites. Many of the smaller, more remote areas of the countries in need of our services do have limited wireless access during the day, and use smartphones to connect to the Internet. This requires us to use adaptable screen technologies in the development of websites so that the text appears normal on large screen desktops and the smallest screen size smartphones. We have discovered this is a must have service for virtually every translation community customer.
An ongoing challenge in the translation community is the area of data privacy and security. While much of the information we translate is for public consumption, there are databases that require additional security as not all of the database content is intended for public consumption. Furthermore, internal politics can play a major role in keeping community projects private until ready for distribution. There often is a lot of politicking going on, and the best course of action is to keep a low profile until the project is completed. Our customers often have very positive comments regarding this aspect of our service.
We would love to get into the Chinese communities and acquire new projects, not because there is a lot of money that can be made, but the Chinese culture is several thousand years old and the process of learning its ancient history and customs will make every project unique and historically valuable. This is a theme our business carries with it to every new project – that the history and culture of a people is preserved by the available information handed down from generation after generation.
In the diverse Internet culture, you may find yourself interacting with people from a number of different languages, all who have something important to say about a topic or position of interest. Learning about other cultures from people who are immersed in both the culture and the language brings new insights into not only the reality of living in such a culture, but also the idioms and other language nuances that are difficult to pick up from a textbook or classroom instructional approach. This is one of the greatest values of language translation within community.
However, in order to achieve these apparently easy but lofty goals, the interaction between translator and original creator must be established from the very beginning. As the translation process moves along, clarifications can be made as to the true meaning of the text and content. It is a mistake to presume all cultures view graphical content the same way. What may be benign to the translator may be offensive to the target audience.
Many translation projects are beset with time problems. Failing to meet deadlines or encountering a huge problem in translation can set a project back weeks. One of the most direct ways to avoid such deadline misses is to focus on the most important content first. A mistranslation at the bottom of the page in 8 point font is less likely to cause a concern than if you het the Heading 1 title wrong. Think of it as actually speaking to someone from the culture. Will they care if you misrepresented the official title of the country’s leader or if you made a mistake in the translation of “Media Contacts”?
One of the biggest concerns for cultural communities where the population is small or there is a small number of people who speak the language is whether they will draw sufficient interest from translation communities to take on their project. The immediate perception is that there is not enough money to pay translators to do the job. A problem with this view for community translators is the customer will see you as a mercenary business rather than someone is who is genuinely trying to help keep the language and culture alive.
This issue takes on a historical perspective as well, and makes community translation a historical project as well as a linguistic project. The people whom you are translating for are likely to see it this way than a means to bring their information to a 21st century world. The content of a web page is far likely to be more valuable to future generations than the current, aging one. It should go without saying that cultural sensitivity is a prerequisite for taking on any community translation project, but should be especially noted in these smaller community projects.
There is no doubt about it, community translation serves a number of purposes and achieves a number of things for both the customer and the translator. Prioritizing quality of translation and sensitivity to culture are two of the key elements in the successful completion of a project.
As a specialist in the translation of scientific and technical documentation, I understand how important it is to get your message across clearly, accurately and concisely, using the correct terminology.
In the document translation area we specialize in:
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Manuals and handbooks
- School and College records
- Medical history records
- Mathematics, physics and chemistry
- Engineering fields: Civil, Mechanical, Industrial, Oil & Gas
- Translation of court records, transcriptions and videos
- Divorce decrees, agreements and other legal documents
- Advertising, finance and multimedia
- Web site translation and localization
In the interpretation field these services are provided:
- Consecutive interpreting (for depositions, meetings and court
- Simultaneous interpreting (for large conferences, seminars and