Blog Post Translation Peculiarities

29 Aug

Blog Post Translation Peculiarities

As you may already know, you are missing out on a lot of traffic on your blog when you are not translating your content. Even if this sounds a bit odd, especially taking into consideration that most blogs nowadays have a local or national focus, you would be surprised at how many foreigners would actually enjoy reading your blog.

Naturally, this implies that you have to find the best translation website out there to translate your blog posts – or, if you think you can do a better job, translate the posts yourself.

However, if you pick the latter, you will have to be really careful with your translations – as one single word translated in a wrong way can mean the fall of your blog when it comes to its international audience.

How Does Translation Affect Perception?

For someone who’s not familiar with a certain country’s culture, trends, and so on, they may have a difficult time understanding a text that is not translated properly. This, in turn, will make them percept and/ or understand a blog post in an entirely different way.

In the following lines, we’ll give you some examples of translations that literally changed the way certain aspects were understood and viewed by people.

  • When the Old and New Testaments were translated into Latin from the Original Hebrew and Greek texts – work now known as Vulgate -, the person in charge chose to translate the Hebrew word karan with the Latine one cornuta, which means horned. The word was meant to describe Moses – and its appropriate translation would have been either radiant or shining. As a result, Renaissance and Medieval Art is full of images depicting a horned Moses, as people took the translation literally.
  • During the Cold War, Nikita Khruschev used a phrase – when addressing to the West – that an interpreter translated as We will bury you. Naturally, the West took this as a threat. However, the original phrase would have been better translated by We shall outlive you. Even though Khruschev later clarified this, the damage was already done and the tensions between the two powers increased.
  • Before the atomic bomb attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan was asked to surrender. The Japanese Premier at that time was asked to comment on this request and he replied with only one word, mokusatu. This has been translated as not worthy of comment – instead, it should have been no comment or to withhold comment, because the government didn’t have the time to consider the surrender yet. The atomic bombs went off ten days later, with the US National Security Agency later stating that whoever translated mokusatu that way did a horrible disservice to the people that read his/ her translation.

As you can see, there are translation peculiarities that have to be taken into consideration when you translate between two languages.

Even though the grim outcomes of a bad translation mentioned above could never happen when it comes to the translation of a blog post, it is still strongly recommended that you are very careful when dealing with translation.

Punctuation Peculiarities

Moreover, when translating blog posts, you would also want to properly engage with your audience. As we know by now, if a text is not properly written – in terms of both grammar and punctuation – you may come out as someone who used machine translation for their texts. Or you might be someone who doesn’t care about the outcome as long as you get traffic on your website.

  • One of the common punctuation peculiarities refers to quotation marks. For example, if you introduce your French audience to the usual English quotation marks, they may not know what they mean – as they use <<and >> to mark quoted text.
  • German language, for example, requires all nouns to be written with a capital letter. On top of that, all subordinate clauses must be preceded by a comma. If you are a German blog owner and translate your text to English, you are likely to place more commas than usual, thus probably confusing your readers.
  • When it comes to Spanish, you may already know that it uses upside-down question and exclamation marks at the beginning of a phrase. For them, it seems rather unnatural for a question to end with a question mark.
  • A quite unique language, French is known for its obligatory non-breaking spaces before and after quotes, question and exclamation marks, colons, and semi-colons. However, there are no spaces before full stops and commas.

The Bottom Line

Even though you may think that these peculiarities won’t affect your translated text, there are cases and scenarios where they may influence how a reader sees you.

For example, if you write scientific articles in English and translate them into another language, then it goes without saying why punctuation is important.

On the other hand, fiction would require you to double-check the meaning of the word or expression you’ve translated so that you make sure it fits with the original.

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