The world that we know today has become a very small place. Whereas thirty years ago people were born, lived and died in the same country, sociopolitical boundaries have fallen and news broadcasts cover stories that occur beyond the viewer's back yard. Migration has brought an enriching diversity to even the smallest communities, and this is reflected in local news. Most viewers who tune into a news broadcast want to understand what is going on in the world that surrounds them. Take the recent presidential elections in America for instance. This is where translation becomes a valuable tool for news.
In areas such as the European Community, over 20 countries with differing cultures, standards, customs and languages are working together to meet current challenges. With countries like Germany, France and England leading the economic changes that concern all members of this community, it is important for viewers to understand what leaders are trying to communicate, even if they are doing so in a different language. Issues are discussed and need to be understood by the public; consequently, accurate and transparent translation of what those leaders are saying is essential for comprehensive international news coverage.
Within the EU decisions made in one country can have a great impact on another country, even when only indirectly. A good example is decision in German politics creating changes in Greece and other countries.
Matters of state
So many of today's modern states are made up of internal cultures that differ in language. In Spain, for example, there are four main languages spoken: Spanish, Catalan, Euskera and Galician. Each of these languages is spoken locally by the citizens, their leaders, is taught in schools and printed in newspapers. When news occurs in a region where one of these languages is predominate, it is not enough to simply tell the viewer what has happened. Interviews with locals, statements made by public officials will need translation into the language of the viewing audience to add credence and transparency to reports.
This phenomena is true in most states. To give voice to the people who speak a minority language in any state, to make sure that those who speak the majority language gain understanding of their neighbours, translation of these voices is essential.
Times are long gone where everyone in the neighbourhood spoke the same language. The world-wide phenomena of migration has meant that any cluster of houses, from the small village to the city neighbourhood, will have members in the community that speak a different language from the majority. When local news breaks, these people may have something to say as well. They have the right to be understood. Effective translation of their thoughts, concerns, protests and ideas will bring about fair and comprehensive news reporting on the local level.
Dubbing vs. subtitling
The call for dubbing or subtitling can often be a matter left in the hands of a busy news editor. While dubbing over the voice of a speaker may be the most convenient for the viewer, it also deprives that viewer of hearing the intonations of the native speaker. Using subtitles to translate the words of a speaker has the advantage of allowing the viewer to hear the words “from the horse's mouth” and to understand the emotion, or lack of same, that the speaker is applying to the message.
On an educational side, viewers who are interested in improving their comprehension of a particular language that is foreign to them will receive much more value when they hear the language of the speaker with the helpful translated subtitles to aid in understanding. Subtitling also offers an economic advantage of not having to employ a speaker to record the translation, or an interpreter to help record an on-the-spot interpretation of the words being spoken.
Given the importance of the news, high quality translation by a professional language translation agency is key.