A good translation takes a team of experts. Depending on the scope and nature of the subject matter, additional expertise may need to be brought in to analyse aspects of the source and target texts, address issues of culture, conceptual issues in the subject matter, or linguistic factors in both of the languages. Ideally, translation requires experts in both of the languages: a native speaker of the target language is needed to ensure naturalness, but there may be a word, phrase or concept in the source text he or she is not familiar with. This requires thorough knowledge of the source language and perhaps linguistic research or deeper investigation of the subject matter. You can’t translate it if you don’t understand it! Well, you can try, but the resulting text is highly likely to lead to some miscommunication.

Translation requires some degree of negotiation and dialogue between the source and receptor languages and cultures. This is because every language is embedded in a world view of values and employs different grammatical and syntactical methods to produce a series of words that communicates abstract and concrete concepts in a way that would be endorsed by the author of the original text. Communication is a sensitive issue, and much research has been done in the past 20 years to shed light on how human brains process natural language. Each of the stakeholders involved also has (or should have) a voice in the translation. A good translation consultant is able to bring all of these tools and factors to bear on a translation to ensure that a translation is clear, accurate, natural and acceptable.

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