Don't Let Your Message Get Lost in Translation

Lost in translation. Haven't we heard that phrase often enough? Why? Because it’s a common occurrence for most when trying to communicate in a different language.

But when your core business and reputation are at stake, the last thing you want is for your original meaning to be lost in translation and misunderstood by your audience.

September is National Translators Month, so what better time to discuss how translation services (including language translations services and online translation apps like Google Translate) fall short on delivering accurate localization especially for video.

Why do these online translation services deliver inaccurate results? (I mean Google is king of all things Internet right?) The reason is quite simple. It’s all about nuance and subtleties – various forms of verbs, proper nouns, and language that are idiomatic – that are key to successful translations, dubbing, voice-overs, subtitling and localization.

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That’s why language translation services consider and revise each word and sentence before delivering their product to the client. In any language, when a word is used and there is no exact match, expansion is necessary in order to fully interpret the intended meaning of the word.

For instance, “a cool restaurant” is not going to make sense when it’s translated and phrased as “a popular with fashionable people restaurant”. That just sounds unnatural.

When it comes to video communication, accurate and nuanced translation needs to further take into account the sound and syllabic length of the original language. When lip-synching a dubbed video, nothing is more jarring than hearing words spoken while a character on screen has stopped speaking, or if the mouth movement is at odds with the sounds of the target language. Extra attention needs to be paid to the syllabic count on the words used as well as the rhythm of the language itself. Indeed, in video, the translation is not only of words but also needs to fit a visual language of body movement, expression and character mood.

So, how do you know which localization services will offer the best services for you?

When hiring professional translation services, look for these top 10 criteria:

  • Expert writers and linguists
  • Passionate editors who care about nuances in their native language and in English
  • Detailed-oriented, eagle-eyed translators who'd find a missing comma anywhere, anytime
  • A multi-layer testing process which involves simulations of a real project, to ensure top-notch results
  • Proven error-free translations - ones without mistakes in consistency items, grammatical items, punctuation, syntax and idiomatic layers
  • Staff that understands prepositions and articles, so they can properly apply the line division in subtitles
  • Translators who have a unique touch and a colorful vocabulary which is reflected through their professional translations
  • Experience that has a proven aptitude for language translations
  • Translators who can think creatively and outside the box
  • Localization and language translation services that can multi-task between projects like captioning videos, dubbing, subtitling videos or localizing films

Professional translation services many times expect a compromise from the client. Usually that compromise is of cost or quality.

At CMI, neither is the case. We meet all 10 criteria listed above. We have only the highest quality translators, well-versed in over 150 languages, so that we can offer the best localization services (voiceover, subtitling, dubbing, captioning), digital asset management, internationalization, post production and much more.

Contact us to learn more and see samples of our work.