As certified translators as well as USCIS-approved translators from Turkey, we are all too familiar with the specific set of problems that come with our job as we navigate the fragile pathways of language and meaning. Our role is not merely about converting words from one language to another; it is about conveying concepts, culture, and context with precision and authenticity. We grapple with tight deadlines, complex terminologies, and the high stakes of maintaining accuracy in every document.

This article aims to explore these shared experiences, inviting you to reflect on the common tribulations we face and to contribute your insights to this discussion. Together, let’s shed light on the complexities of our craft and the relentless pursuit of excellence that defines us as certified translators.

7 Basic Challenges for Certified Translators
Common Tribulations of Certified Translators

Untranslatable Words

Language is a fascinating tool that allows us to communicate and express ourselves. However, it can also be quite baffling when you come across words or phrases that just don’t seem to have a direct translation, especially in certified Turkish translation. Translating untranslatable words can be quite a challenge for certified translators. Certified translators need to get creative and find alternative ways to convey the meaning.

Certified translators take legal responsibility for their translations. Therefore, they not only need to possess a deep understanding of the language they are translating from, but they also need to grasp the cultural nuances embedded within these words. Without this understanding, the essence of these words can be lost in translation.

Challenges of Translating Untranslatable Words

The challenges of translating untranslatable words lie in capturing the precise meaning, cultural connotations, and emotional depth of the word in another language. These words often carry cultural nuances and references that are difficult to express in one word or phrase.

Examples of Untranslatable Words

The Danish word “hygge” is often translated as “cozy” in English, but it encompasses much more than just coziness. It represents a feeling of warmth, comfort, and contentment that is unique to Danish culture. Certified translators need to find a way to convey this cultural context in the target language, which can be quite a challenge.

The Japanese word “tsundoku” refers to the act of buying books and leaving them unread, piling them up. While there is no exact equivalent in English, a certified translator might use a phrase like “book hoarding” to convey a similar idea.

Untranslatable Words in Certified English Translation from Turkish

In a certified English translation from Turkish, hundreds of specific words cannot be translated into English through literal translations. Here are some examples.

Turkish WordLiteral TranslationCommon Translation
GurbetLiving far from one’s home or homeland or a place far from one’s home or homelandAbroad
İşteAt workThere we are; see; here you are; Viola!
FalanEtcetera, so onOr whatever, so and so
AmcaPaternal uncleUncle
HalaPaternal auntAunt
DayıMaternal uncleUncle
TeyzeMaternal auntAunt
BacanakThe kinship status of men married to sisters in relation to each other.Brother-in-law
GörümceAccording to the woman, her husband’s sisterSister-in-law
BaldızAccording to the man, his wife’s sisterSister-in-law
EltiA woman’s husband’s brother’s wifeSister-in-law
Table 1: 12 Untranslatable Words in Certified English Translation from Turkish

Technical Jargon Challenge for Certified Translators

It is difficult to explain the challenges of the jargon employed in technical texts. A certified translator may be asked to translate from practically any industry, and we sworn translators do not have the luxury of replying, “I’m not familiar with this subject.” Furthermore, certified translators are legally obligated to sign the translations they make. Because these papers will be submitted to official institutions, accuracy and completeness are critical.

Consider the following scenario: you’re at a tech conference, and the speaker starts throwing around terms like “coils” and “atomizers.” You may nod along, pretending to understand, but you’re completely lost. To avoid such situations, a certified translator must conduct preliminary research on the technical text they are translating. These difficult terms can be broken down into clear and understandable explanations by certified translators.

We will soon publish a post titled “Technical Translation Tips for Translators.” However, to overcome these challenges, certified translators can:

  • Utilize online resources,
  • Participate in workshops and seminars, and
  • Seek guidance from industry experts.
Pros of Understanding Technical JargonChallenges Posed by Legal and Technical Jargon
Fosters professional growth and developmentDifficulty in conveying the intended meaning without understanding the terminology
Enhances communication within the industryMinor mistranslation can have severe consequences
It increases credibility and respect among peersLack of expertise can lead to errors in translation
Table 2: Pros and Challenges of Technical Jargon in Certified Translation

    Meeting Tight Deadlines

    Do you find yourself constantly running out of time to meet deadlines? As certified translators, it’s crucial to maximize our productivity and make the most of our time. In the fast-paced world of translation, tight deadlines are a common tribulation that many certified translators face. Furthermore, time management is not just about getting more things done but also about using your time efficiently and effectively. Suggestions for overcoming the difficulty of tight deadlines are:

    • Prioritize your tasks. Always make a daily to-do list.
    • Communicate openly with your client or project manager about any potential challenges or roadblocks.
    • Use a time-tracking system. Calculate the time you spent on legal, technical, conversational, etc. translations; learn your daily limits; and always give your client realistic deadlines. Never lie to the client or give excuses.
    • Minimize distractions: Consider turning off notifications or setting specific times to check your messages and emails to minimize interruptions.
    • Take breaks and recharge.

    Client Expectations from Certified Translators

    Translation clients rely on certified translators to accurately convey their messages in a different language, and meeting their expectations requires more than just linguistic skills. It involves a deep understanding of the client’s needs, clear communication, and delivering high-quality work within the agreed-upon timeframe.

    Understanding Client Needs and Requirements

    Each client has unique needs and preferences, which is why it is crucial to have good communication and a thorough understanding of their requirements before starting a translation project. By taking the time to fully comprehend the project’s scope, certified translators can deliver accurate and effective translations that align with the client’s goals. Understanding client needs and requirements includes:

    • Clear communication
    • Seeking clarification on ambiguous aspects of the translation project
    • Setting realistic expectations by both sides
    • Thorough research: who will read the translation?
    • Providing accurate and culturally sensitive translations
    • Ensuring timely delivery of translation projects
    • Offering competitive pricing and transparent fees
    • Maintaining confidentiality and data security

    Meeting Client’s Quality Standards

    Translation is not just about finding equivalent words in different languages; it’s about capturing the essence and meaning behind those words. So, grab your detective hat and immerse yourself in the culture of the language you’re working with.

    Certified translators should meticulously proofread and edit their translations to ensure accuracy and eliminate any grammatical or typographical errors. By doing so, we can provide a polished and error-free translation that meets the client’s high-quality criteria.

    Understanding the client’s industry or field is also crucial to meeting the client’s quality standards. Certified translators should familiarize themselves with the specific terminology and conventions related to the client’s industry. This allows for a more accurate and contextually appropriate translation, which ultimately meets the client’s expectations.

    Client’s Quality Standards Checklist

    1. Understand client’s specific requirements and expectations
    2. Maintain clear communication
    3. Pay attention to details and proofread meticulously
    4. Familiarize with industry-specific terminology
    5. Adhere to deadlines

    Endless Revisions

    Nobody is perfect, not even the most talented certified translators or experienced writers. Mistakes are bound to happen, and revisions allow us to catch those errors.

    Revisions serve as a safeguard against embarrassing typos, awkward phrasing, and factual inaccuracies. However, some clients exploit this revision opportunity. The most common one is when the client changes the original text. Especially in academic translations, the authors generally add or subtract sentences from the original text. This is not a revision, actually, but they freely send the changed texts as if it were a simple revision. Furthermore, some of them don’t color the changed texts and want us to work like detectives to find the revised sentences. Most of them don’t ask if they need to make extra payments.

    Revisions, if unfair, are a total waste of time for the certified translations. Frankly speaking, it is not within the purview of a professional translator to patiently wait and make countless additions to the translated text. However, as certified translators, we can never compromise and just try to finish the text on time.

    Regardless of the additional workload imposed by a customer, all clients expect the translation to be completed within a stated time frame. I recall a customer who appended over two pages to the initial content and subsequently contacted me the next morning to inquire about the completion status. I had already labored until dawn; however, the translation document was not prepared by then. Regrettably, occurrences of this nature are quite frequent.

    Handling Ambiguous Source Texts

    Ah, language. It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? The way words can dance on the tip of our tongues, conveying meaning and emotions and sometimes causing a fair bit of confusion—yes, language can be a tricky business, especially when it comes to translation. You see, my certified translator friends, there’s a whole world of ambiguity out there, lurking in the shadows of words and phrases.

    For example, the phrase “I saw a man on a hill with a telescope.” It seems simple enough, right? But wait, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Is the man on the hill using the telescope, or is he perhaps being observed through it? Certified translators employ a variety of techniques to overcome ambiguous source texts. By understanding the broader picture, certified translators can often decipher the intended meaning of a particular phrase.

    Some strategies for interpreting ambiguous messages include seeking clarification from the sender, considering the context of the message, analyzing non-verbal cues, asking probing questions, and using active listening techniques.

    Idioms and Cultural Nuances in Certified Translations

    When it comes to legal matters, precision and accuracy are of the utmost importance. Certified translations are crucial in legal systems around the world, as they help break language barriers and facilitate seamless communication in courts, business transactions, and immigration proceedings. Imagine a scenario where a defendant or a witness does not understand the language used during a legal proceeding. Certified translators come to the rescue, ensuring that every word spoken or written is accurately translated, enabling fair judgment and smooth proceedings.

    Translating Idioms in Certified Translations
    Certified Translators Handling Idioms

    Cultural Nuances

    Cultural nuances play a significant role in translation accuracy. For example, a word or phrase that is considered perfectly acceptable in one culture may be offensive or misunderstood in another. Translators must navigate these challenges delicately to ensure accuracy and effectiveness.

    Some common cultural nuances that can impact the accuracy of certified translations include idiomatic expressions, cultural references, and differences in social etiquette or customs.

    Some Turkish Idioms and Their English Translations

    Below, you may find some examples of Turkish idioms. Please check out how different these idioms mean and how we translate them. Just like in the famous example, it is raining cats and dogs.

    • Eline sağlık
      • Literal translation: “Health to your hands.”
      • Common translation: “Thank you for your hard work” or “Well done.”
    • Geçmiş olsun
      • Literal translation: “May it be past.”
      • Common translation: “Get well soon” or “Hope you feel better.”
    • Vıdı vıdı etmek
      • Literal translation: “To grumble.”
      • Common translation: “Stop whining” / “Quit your complaining.”
    • Güle güle giy
      • Literal translation: “Wear it with a smile.”
      • Common translation: “Enjoy your new purchase” or “Wear it in good health.”
    • Hoş bulduk
      • Literal translation: “We find it pleasant.”
      • Common translation: “Thank you, I’m glad to be here” or “We’re happy to be here.”
    • Hayırlı olsun
      • Literal translation: “May it be with goodness.”
      • Common translation: “Congratulations on the new start.”
    • Ölümü gör / Ölümü öp
      • Literal: “To see death or to kiss death.”
      • Common translation: “That was a close call” or “You had a narrow escape.”
    • Literal translation: “May it come easy.”
    • Common translation: “Good luck with your work.”

    Other Tribulations

    Undoubtedly, certified translators face additional challenges. Consistency should be maintained throughout the text, for example. It is crucial for translators to maintain consistent use of terminology and style, particularly in technical or specialized texts. Translations that are not consistent can lead to confusion or misinterpretation of the content. Another instance to consider is the absence of sector-specific expertise. and the list continues. Success in any job requires effort and dedication.

    Please also read “Downsides of Document Translation,” since it also covers similar problems relating to document translation.

    FAQ on Common Tribulations of Certified Translators

    While it is impossible to capture the exact essence of an untranslatable word, certified translators can employ techniques like providing explanations, using footnotes, or offering approximate equivalents to convey the closest possible meaning to readers of another language.

    Excessive revisions, inadequate planning, multitasking, and procrastination are all common time wasters in translation work. To avoid them, certified translators should maintain clear communication with clients, gather all essential materials prior to beginning the job, minimize multitasking by focusing on one task at a time, and use good time-management tactics.

    Effective time management in certified translation can be achieved by creating a schedule, setting priorities, breaking down tasks, and utilizing time-saving tools such as translation memory software. It is also important to minimize distractions and allocate sufficient time for rest and breaks to maintain creativity.

    Creativity plays a crucial role in producing high-quality translations in the field of certified translation. As certified translators, it is important for us to not allow tight deadlines or last-minute tasks to impede our creativity.

    If the client’s quality standards are unrealistic, it is important to have open and honest communication with them. Discussing the feasibility and potential challenges of meeting their standards can help manage their expectations. Offering alternative solutions or compromise can also be explored to find a middle ground that satisfies both parties.

    Some common ambiguities in communication include unclear language, vague pronouns, ambiguous sentence structure, and multiple meanings of words.

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