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Translation is a Bitch!

Translation seems an easy topic to the outsider, but there are so many things to consider that require training, experience and further questions if the translator wishes to deliver an accurate translation. This is especially so as the language morphs over time.

Today’s example will be the word ‘Bitch’. Traditionally this meant the female gender of a dog, wolf, fox or otter. However, without listing them, this word can now mean many more things and so the context is extremely important. (Note: We do not approve of all of the uses of this term, but accurate translation requires maintaining the context of the source text).

To prove the point, let’s see how Google treats this word for an Italian translation. In this case it offers only ‘cagna’ and that is strictly a female dog.

Italian Translation Test No.2: Translating the title of the Motorhead song (to prove it’s not just rappers) ‘bye bye bitch bye bye’ Google translates this as ‘ciao ciao ciao ciao’, which loses the term ‘bitch’ and the context altogether.

Italian Translation Test No.3: Let’s take a Rod Stewart song for this test. The song is called ‘aint love a bitch’ and the Italian translation provided is ‘non amo una cagna’ or in English ‘I don’t love a female dog’!!!

So….if the word ‘bitch’ can create such confusion, then you have to imagine the vast array of terminology and context that a translator will face on a daily basis. They will not translate like a machine, but investigate and question until they have truly understood the context and intent of the text received. For that level of service you should really contact the team at Axis Translations. www.axistranslations.com email: info@axistranslations.com

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2018 at 3:33 pm and is filed under Business Translation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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