Understanding Culture Is What We Do

In order to create effective translations for your business or brand, ITC Global Translations provides translators who have made it their business to know the ins and outs of a culture and all of its linguistic facets. Of course, language is a complex thing and regional differences and dialect specifics may range, but our translators have a solid-bricked understanding of the differences.

Here are just a few examples of why having a culture-conscious translator on your side is incredibly important.

In English, there is, essentially, one term used to generalize everyone—”You.” For most, this is perfectly acceptable. However, when you consider that the French and German equivalent takes into account that a child may need to address someone formally (considering respect plays a big role in the linguistics of the French and German), then the terms “Vous” and “Sie” become the appropriate versions of what English-speakers give little thought to.

Is this problematic?

A translator must be able to understand what context the word is functioning in and then make the leap from source to target language seamlessly.

On some level, yes. On others, no. What this means is that it’s not problematic for those English-speakers. However, it is problematic when English is your source language and French or German are your target languages. A translator must be able to understand what context the word is functioning in and then make the leap from source to target language seamlessly.

Japanese is a language that many translators will refer to as “one strange animal,” meaning culture is highly regarded in Japan, and their language reflects that. This is why you’ll need a high quality translator if Japanese is your source or target language. Japanese has so many levels of “politeness” taken into consideration that many English-speakers of today wouldn’t know where to begin.

For example, the word “I” in Japanese has many variations:

  • “Watashi” for general neutrality.
  • “Boku” for humble informality.
  • “Watakushi” for high formality.
  • “Ore” is the masculine, somewhat “macho” variation.
  • “Atashi” is the feminine or effeminate version of the term.

Many words in the Japanese language, no matter the dialect or region, have particles that don’t so much serve the sentence, but the speaker, working to gender him, her or they.

Does your translation require a humble tone? A formal tone? Or perhaps a combination of the two? If so, you’ll want to look into recruiting an LSP, like ITC Global Translations, that can provide you with all the tools necessary for a successful and skilled translation of your project, without those doubts about accuracy, style, tone and formality.

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