There are different types of translation we should be aware of when approaching languages and content. We’ll take a look at each of them in this article, and try to analyze the different challenges and difficulties that each may pose.
Simple Types of Translation: Translating Texts
Perhaps the most obvious type of translation is text translating. This is a fairly simple procedure, where a translator takes a text from its original language and into a target language.
Types of Content
A translator may therefore take a book from English into Spanish, making it available for an audience in Spanish. Books, evidently, are only one of many materials that can undergo this process. When we talk about the translation of text we may encounter the translation of content such as comics, documents, contracts, scripts, scholarly works, prescriptions, medical literature, menus, etc.
There are, of course, a large number of languages in which this process may take place. Such language pairs may run a large gamut: from English into Spanish, from English into French, from English into Japanese. Likewise, such conversion may go back and forth: from Spanish into English, from French into English, from Japanese into English etc.
Localizing and Types of Translation
Now then, translation of texts may take place in a wide range of content and languages. So far, so good. Such a process seems, by its simple nature, to offer no great difficulty for a seasoned and experienced translator. This, however, is not always the case. Localization is one of the issues that translators (and the clients of translators) encounter the most.
From Japan to Latin America
How best to explain what localizing is? Suppose you buy a film in Japan, to transmit across Spanish-speaking TV in countries in Latin America. Since it’s a children’s film, dubbing is perhaps the best way to make the content accessible to the target audience.
As we know, dubbing is the replacement of voices to suit a particular audience. In this case, the original voices in Japanese would be substituted for voices in Spanish. This way, we’d be able to end up with a Japanese film that is entirely in Spanish and thus quite suitable for Spanish-speaking audiences and children.
This process, however, offers some difficulties. The typical procedure to create dubbing would be to take the script in Japanese, translate it into Spanish, and bring in voice actors to recreate the individual voices and parts. This seems fairly simple, but we need to ask ourselves which type of Spanish we would be using. Indeed, when we talk about types of translation, we need to ask also about types of localization or if localization is needed at all. In this example, we’d have to figure out if we need to localize the content and, if we do, we’d need to understand to what degree we must localize.
Since the content is going to be transmitted throughout all of Latin America, perhaps we’d want to localize it to each individual audience. This way, we’d translate the script to ‘Peruvian Spanish’ and bring in Peruvian voice talent to create a Peruvian version. We’d also translate the script into ‘Uruguayan Spanish’ and bring in Uruguayan voice talent to create the Uruguayan version. As you can probably see already, this process would be extremely time-consuming and costly.
Neutral Types of Translation?
An alternative, and one regularly employed by content creators, is to translate and localize into one standard form of Spanish. Content creators regularly refer to neutral Spanish as ‘Mexican Neutral’ or variations thereof. This type of Spanish is essentially a very neutral, even formal version of Spanish from Mexico City. The script would be translated and then dubbed in this form of Spanish which would be able to travel across Latin America quite confidently. Such style of Spanish is widely understood across Latin America and audiences are familiar with content created in such a version of the language.
If, however, the film was to be shown in Spain, it would probably be wise to translate and dub in ‘Spanish from Spain’. Audiences in Spain are not used to ‘Mexican Neutral’ and prefer to listen to content in their own Spanish style. This difference is quite apparent in a show like ‘The Simpsons’: there is a Spanish version for Latin America, created in ‘Mexican Neutral’ and one version for Spain, created in Spanish from Spain.
More Complex Types of Translation: Translating Voices
Very well, we’ve talked about the translation of text. We noted that it may run across a wide range of content and language pairs. We’ve also approached the issue of localization. This is a good opportunity to talk a bit more about another type of translation, namely translating voices and speech.
As we were able to see earlier, the process of dubbing requires several steps. First of all, we’d need to translate the script and then assemble a cast of voice talent to create the voices that we’d be replacing. We’d need to decide if we want to use a local version of the language or a more neutral form of the language understood across several countries.
Let’s take a look at language interpreting now. This is another very important type of translation. Simply put, interpretation or interpreting is the process of converting speech from one source language into a target language. Here, we’re not concerned with translating text, but rather, with converting speech. The process can be challenging as well.
Suppose you’re organizing a conference. The event will have a panel of experts talking about health issues to an audience. Such an audience may be inside the auditorium itself and online too. Suppose that the conference is taking place in Bogota, Colombia for a predominantly Spanish-speaking audience. Imagine now that the panel of experts will be speaking in English, though some of them will speak in Spanish.
How would we proceed here? Well, we’d need to use simultaneous interpreters. These interpreters, as the name indicates, transform speech simultaneously, from the source language to the target language. In the case of the conference in question, we’d probably need several interpreters:
- English-to-Spanish Simultaneous Interpretation: The first and most obvious requirement is an interpreter who will be able to interpret from English into Spanish. Such a professional would handle the speech that the experts are saying and make it accessible to the Spanish-speaking audience.
- Spanish-to-English Simultaneous Interpretation: Since some of the experts will still be talking in Spanish, there’d be a need for another interpreter. This professional would be tasked with converting speech from Spanish into English. This is an essential step if we want the experts to understand each other. Since there’s an audience, there could be questions at one point, and it’s important to have this interpreter to make such comments accessible to the experts.
There are times when an elaborate setup like that of simultaneous translation is not possible or even necessary. In this case, consecutive interpretation is one of the types of translation employed.
Suppose that there’s a corporate workshop for two branches of a company. One branch is based in New York and the other will be visiting from Paris. The workshop will be quite informal and fun but there might be a need for some language assistance for the Paris employees, since the people conducting the event will be speaking in English.
In this case, a consecutive interpreter would be most ideal. In this scenario, the person conducting the workshop would give the instructions and the interpreter would translate immediately afterwards.
A lesser though no less important type of translation is ‘chuchotage’, which means quite literally ‘whispering’.
This type of translation is ideal to translate speech for one or two people. The method is simple. Imagine a business meeting, between government officials in French Polynesia and foreign businesspeople. Since the meeting would most likely take place in French, some of the foreign investors could need language assistance.
In this case, an interpreter would sit next to their client, translating what is being said in the meeting.
Where to Use These Types of Translation
As we’ve been able to gather, the different types of translation described have a specific set of characteristics.
- Simultaneous Interpreting: Ideal for events that require translation in ‘real-time’. These sorts of events demand immediate translation because there simply is no stopping for a translation.
- Consecutive Interpretation: Consecutive interpretation is often a great alternative when technology is not available and interpretation will be sparse and informal.
- Chuchotage: Chuchotage is usually an ideal type of translation for more specific events. Such events may include things like business meetings, guided tours and similar scenarios.
Tips and Tricks
Interpretation is usually rife with challenges. It’s essential that an experienced interpreter be hired for the job. Some of the usual challenges and tips to overcome them include the following:
- Salami Technique: Also called segmentation. This involves taking fast, convoluted, complex phrases and transforming them into shorter, ordered, and clearer ones. The idea of this technique is to be able to keep up with fast speakers and complex topics.
- Anticipation: A seasoned interpreter will sometimes be able to anticipate what a speaker will say next. The interpreter must have familiarity with the topic, experience, practice, and tremendous attention to detail to achieve this. The interpreter may thus start anticipating connecting phrases and auxiliary words which will make the interpretation flow faster.
- Decalage: ‘Decalage’ is the time between the beginning of the speech that is being interpreted, and the beginning of the interpretation itself. A longer decalage allows the interpreter to gather more context before interpreting for the audience, thus permitting the practice of segmentation.
The Bunny Studio Way
When looking for types of translation, think of Bunny Studio. When it comes to types of translation it’s safe to say that technology is transforming the game. Remote interpreting is now a real possibility and text translation as usual can be created and delivered online. Go to the Bunny Studio website, simply click on ‘Chat With Us’ and write us. The Bunny Studio staff will immediately assist you and the process can begin!