Cultural Considerations Involved in Translation Services

By: Armando Riquier

Translation services link one language to another by taking careful consideration of the social groups involved, this is very difficult and can be done wrong if one is not careful. As cultures are increasingly brought into larger connection one with another, multicultural considerations are brought to tolerance to an ever-increasing degree. We are not just dealing with words written in a certain time, but with the aspect of the text as well.

Vast cultural differences play a role, because it has had an impact on nearly all the people worldwide, as well as on the international relations rising from the present new world order. Also, as technology develops and grows at a fast pace, nations and their cultures have started merging. Boundaries are becoming more unclear, when they once were sharply outlined.

Translators offering translation services today are faced with many different cultures. They are required to provide translation services that relay messages from one culture to another, and make it a smooth and solidly understood translation. The idiosyncrasies and cultural expressions must be known first hand. We are not talking about a minimum knowledge of having studied the language, but about a vast and thorough understanding of having the language as a native tongue. It's referred to as cross-cultural translation and it's relied upon heavily by organizations around the globe.

It is their task to focus primarily on the source culture and target culture, but this is not cut and dry. The answer is not clear-cut. Nevertheless, the dominant criterion is the communicative function of the target text. Attention is drawn to the fact that among the assortment of translation methodology, the use of the integrated approach seems the most widely used. This approach follows the model in which having a global vision of the text, at hand, is of primary importance. This type of methodology focuses on turning the macro into the micro, so to speak.

In addition, the trans-coding process should be focused not merely on language transfer but also - and most importantly on cultural transposition. As an inevitable consequence of the previous statement, translators must be both bilingual and bicultural if not multicultural.

When dealing with diverse cultures it can sometimes be the simple mistakes we make, like showing the soles of our shoes or giving a thumbs up, that can ruin a relationship or lose a very important client. Learning the similarities and differences in customs, mores and traditions, or seeking the professional help of a translation services agency can make all the difference. Learning the simple cultural do's and don'ts can avoid this and help generate respect and understanding. Also, due to the number of people working in offices abroad, non-US nationals coming to work in the US, and frequent business trips all around the world, the need for language skills is imperative. Thus, the proper use of translation services is vital to a successful business relationship.

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