Translation & revision

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”
Frank Smith
Repurposing your words to reach a different audience

Most people are only proficient in their native language and in many cases, it’s not a universal language like English. The world is filled with literary masterpieces, ground-breaking research publications, and vital information, often only accessible to a handful due to the language in which it’s written. This dilemma created the need for professional translators who can make any document available in the first language of interested readers.

Translation is the process of rendering a text from one language into another while the core message remains intact. Translation can also be localised according to the target audience’s cultural references, making a text more familiar and relatable. Besides transferring a source text’s information as accurately as possible into a different language, a translation should always read like an originally written text.

When performing a translation, certain steps should always be present. Before starting a translation, it’s crucial to skim the source text for an overall look and feel, especially regarding the subject matter, subject-specific terminology, document length, technical aspects, writing style and whether additional research will be required.

After getting an overview of the source text, the actual translation can begin by using a specific translation method and applying different translation techniques where needed.

The translation method used will depend on the client’s brief or the type of document and include a word-for-word, literal, faithful, semantic, adaptive, free, idiomatic or communicative translation.

Different elements in a text can require different translation techniques. These techniques include:

• Borrowing – taking a word or expression and display it in italics when it’s not available in the target language.
• Calque – creating a neologism when a word or phrase isn’t available in the target language.
• Literal – the target text’s meaning, syntax and style are identical to the source text.
• Transposition – using a different grammatical structure in the target text without changing the meaning.
• Modulation – changing the form of a text by introducing a change in semantics or perspective.
• Equivalence – using a completely different phrase in the target text to reformulate the same message or expression.
• Adaptation (cultural equivalence) – substituting cultural elements in the source text with more suitable cultural references in the target language.

When the translation is completed, it’s time for the translator to review the accuracy of the translation by methodically working through the translation and comparing the translated text to the original text. The primary goal of reviewing is to ensure no section is untranslated and no misinterpreted meanings crept in. This step can also identify unnatural wording and improve the quality of expression.

Should you be unsure of a translated text’s accuracy, a final step can be added to the translation process ─ revision. Revision is a form of proofreading through which an editor (not the translator of the text) compares the translated document to the original document ─ similarly to the review that’s done by the translator.

As qualified translators and experienced content writers, we’re aware of the amount of time and effort you invest in your writing, as well as the importance of having your creation translated professionally and accurately, should you wish to reach a new audience.

Our translation and revision services are available between English/Afrikaans and Afrikaans/English and include:

You’ll need translation when:

You’ll need revision when: