Translation is an extremely challenging task as it requires a deep and rich understanding of not just the grammar of both the source and target languages but the culture of those who use the language as well.

Strategies in Translation

Some of the commonest challenges for problem-solving translation include dealing with the language’s structure. Every language has its own specific structure and its own set of rules. If a language has a more difficult structure it’s correspondingly harder to authentically translate the language.

For example, a straightforward sentence in English possesses a subject, a verb, and an object. For example, “she eats pizza.” But not all languages share this structure. Typically, Farsi follows the sequence the subject, the object and then the verb. This means translators need to be constantly alert when following a language’s structure.

Expressions and Idioms

Many linguistic experts consider that idioms are just about the most difficult language to translate and machine translation tools don’t seem to have a translatable solution for idioms at all. One of the translation strategies is to ask the client to keep the text as simple as possible and not complicate it by adding too many idioms.

Compound Words

The 1st group of compound words is quite simple as what they say match up exactly such as seashore, airport, crosswalk.

The 2nd group of compound words typically only mean half of what they say. For example, a bookworm may like to burrow into a good story.

The 3rd group of compound words possesses meanings that don’t relate at all to each individual world. For example, the English word “deadline” means the last date for receiving or delivering an item. It doesn’t have much to do with death or a line! Also, a “butterfly” is neither a fly nor butter!

The sort of translation strategies for these compound words involves complete mastery of both the source and targeted languages. The translator will need to know what the best equivalency there is for the compound words in the targeted language otherwise the desired effects won’t be realized and the client won’t be satisfied.

Phrasal Verbs

Often a verb with a preposition will carry a specific, separate meaning when used together. Phrasal words are 2-word verbs and are particularly common in informal English such as fill out, look up, shut up, close up, break down and break in. In many examples, though, it is difficult to translate a preposition separately so the translator has to use a translation strategy that will allow for the meaning of the phrasal verb to be carried over into the targeted language.

Overall translation strategies are part of the way a translator overcomes problem-solving translation.