By: Dina Indelicato | October 10, 2017


A translator needs to have a deep understanding of both the grammar and the cultural aspects of more than one language. He or she needs to know all the rules of the language, as well as the cultural habits of the person that speaks said language. Even as an experienced professional in the world of translation, there are certain things that will bring frustration and frustration during your work.

Some of the most difficult challenges that you may experience as you are translating are the following:

1.Language Structure

Each language will have its own defined structure, with clear-cut rules – which will not always be the same for other languages as well. Due to the singularity and complexity of the framework, it’s not always easy to translate a text.

In English, for instance, the average sentence will have a subject, a verb, and an object – usually, in that exact order (e.g., She drinks juice). However, not every language will follow this structure. In Farsi, for example, you have subject + object + verb, while in Arabic the subject pronoun actually becomes the verb.

Consequently, a translator will often have to remove, add, and rearrange structures so that they are able to communicate the idea in the language required.

2.Expressions and Idioms

Each phrase has its unique structures that cannot be translated word-by-word. If you do, the meaning will be lost, and you’ll probably get some weird stares after that. Moreover, sometimes it’s difficult to figure out and retain the humor of an idiom while still associating it with the target language. For example, if you’re literally translating “it’s raining cats and dogs” into another language, the speaker might not get that what you mean is “it’s raining heavily.”

Most professionals in linguistics admit that most difficulties appear when they are trying to translate an idiom. Furthermore, if you try putting them in a translating machine, you are more than likely going to end up with an awkward, word-by-word structure.

3.Compound Words

Just like with idioms, compound words may also be difficult to translate. These are formed by combining two words, and sometimes, the same meaning may not be reflected if you try to transpose it into another language.

There are three types of compound words. The first has a literal meaning, for example, “seashore,” “crosswalk,” or “airport.” The second only retain half the literal meaning, and as an example, we have “bookworm.” A bookworm may enjoy diving into a good book, but they won’t become worms in the process.

Last but not least, we have compound words with no literal translation. For example, “butterfly” has nothing to do with either butter or flies, so you’ll have to know the correct terminology.

4.Multiple Meanings

Depending on the context, the same word may mean multiple things. They can be either homonyms (same words with different meaning) or heteronyms (same words with different meaning and pronunciation). The job of a translator is to figure out which is which and what word to use in order to make the structure sound appropriate.

5.Missing Names

Some words in a certain language may not have its own direct equivalent in other languages. All you can do is beat around the bush trying to explain it – or find a close synonym and hope the reader gets it.

Being a translator is definitely not easy, and these are just a few of the challenges you may go through. But with enough practice, all these challenges may become less troublesome because, hey, you’re already familiar with them. For more tips and help, you may also go to PickWriters.

Category: Translating 



Be the first to comment ...

Post a Comment