Translation is all About Good Communication

onApril 27, 2015

inTranslation Tips

Good Communication

There is nothing worse than poor communication, except no communication at all! Translation is, of course, all about ensuring that communication can exist between people who speak and use languages that are different and ordinarily would not be able to understand each other. In other words, translators ensure that people can understand each other across language barriers. These days, in a world that is fast becoming smaller, with ever increasing amounts of international travel, visitation, discourse, trade and the need for global cooperation, the work of the translator in improving and enabling effective communication is becoming more and more important.

Communication never has been and never will be a passive process. It is a dynamic interaction of words and ideas between the sender and the receiver of the message. The work of the translator is not just to decode one message and translate it passively into another but understand and become part of that dynamic relationship. Poor communication, whether it is in the same or different languages, can be disastrous, whether it is in ordinary life or in business. Good communication involves appreciating the role of the person or entity with which you are communicating and delivering a clear, transparent and effective message.

One of the dangers in attempting to be a good communicator is to over simplify the message. The other danger is that the original message becomes garbled or so confused that it cannot be understood by the receiver. The translator stands as a third party between the sender of a message and the eventual recipient, so the possibility of the message being distorted is more likely than if the communication is a simple two way exchange. Of course, that has to be set aside the fact that without the translator there may be no communication at all!

The fact that the translator is part of a process of communication between the sender and the receiver means that he or she has a critical part to play in the overall communication. The translator must try to decode what the sender’s intention is in their message and convey that message in a way that the receiver will best understand. The translator must therefore be aware that their relationship with both sender and receiver is a dynamic one even when the translator’s role as a mediator may appear not to be perceived.

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