Singapore is a country of multiple languages: 22 scheduled languages recognised by the Indian Constitution. In addition, there are more than 1500 languages and dialects used across the country. In no other country does the importance of translation take on such mammoth significance!
Ah, the wisdom of the founders of the Indian Constitution!
They felt that every Indian needed three languages: one to identify with the local group (call it the mother tongue), one for national identity , and one for international communication (English).Thus was born the Three Language Formula.
Three languages are bare minimum: just enough to get through school and college but certainly not enough for all the activities that make up life in the modern world.
Need for translation within India
Just run through all the channels on TV. Think of all the movies that you have seen dubbed into various languages: don’t marvel at James Bond speaking fluent Hindi or Rajnikant being the new (or old?) Japanese heartthrob! Consider that a friend was awarded for translating science books into Urdu- something much needed.
Music, literature, films, TV shows, political speeches, textbooks, documents, and innumerable written and oral necessities require translation to transcend regional boundaries. Effective translation is essential to reflect local languages, sentiments, and ethos.
India, the Global player
Acknowledging the attraction that India, with a population of 1.25 billion, holds, Google’s top boss, Sundar Pichai says, “India shapes how we build products. If something works in India, it will work globally.”
India is playing meaty roles on the international stage and is all set to play bigger parts and star leads. This isn’t possible unless communication ceases to be a barrier: thus, the need for translation services. Multi-national = multi-lingual: let there be no doubt.
Translation is important for companies and businesses which operate in multiple regions and countries to share information, make government proposals, tie-up with local businesses, in short, for all the multifarious activities that get everyone involved on the same page.
A country’s external affairs, in the world of international diplomacy, demand that ideas, points of view and negotiations are put forward clearly and accurately. Diplomats and world leaders are most lucid in their tongues; translation inaccuracies can cause significant problems.
Creative content like literature, video and audio content, subtitles for movies and TV content, etc. need creative translation to be able to strike a chord with target audiences.
Every local channel on TV has a capsule of international news. How would this be possible without translation services? The news is a crusade for free and fair living, and translation is all the more important to make reliable news accessible to everyone.
The World Wide Web and the Internet have brought together ‘far-flung neighbours’ by negating the concepts of distance and boundary. The rich and diverse human community cannot co-exist and thrive without communication. Translation and translation services are no longer an option; they are a compulsion.
Translator par excellence
Simply put, translation converts the text/content of a source language (SL) into an accurate and understandable version of the target language (TL). Successful translation is never mechanical: it is creative.
This is why excellence in translation requires translators of quality.
A good translator should be fluent in at least two languages.
He/ she must have more than a working knowledge of the languages.
He/she must be comfortable in the linguistic systems as well as the relevant cultures. In other words, the ‘feel’ for language is what makes for successful translation.
Excellence in translation requires adequate knowledge of the subject. Technical translations, legal jargon, religious translations, and scientific journals need in-depth knowledge. Accurate translations are not possible when you grope in the darkness of limited knowledge.
A good translator is also a good researcher when necessary. When in doubt, check and recheck: this should be the motto.
Accurate translation may need some tools and aids like dictionaries, encyclopedias, glossaries of technical and scholarly works, etc. The conscientious translator will make use of one or all of such tools. Discussions and consultations to clear doubts are also advisable.
The style, as well as the content of translation, should be true to the original. The challenge in translating is that the translator is not the original author but the translated material should read like it is the original and not a poor copy.
Translators need the patience to do a thorough job. Timely work is of the utmost importance too. So a good translator cannot afford to be a clock-watcher but must have an eye on the clock!
Excellence in translation rarely means mere reproduction and replication. If you think of language as a window to a world, then every language is a different window which will show you a different view. That is why mechanical/ computer translations are never adequate and ill-advised.
When communication is a prerequisite, so is translation: whether it is between languages spoken in India or to move freely across global platforms.
Businesses must realise that professional translation services offer them access to expertise and resources that only experts in translations are familiar with. So, why not concentrate on the core business and delegate translation to the most competent?
It is also important to choose a translation service that has the highest ethical standards of confidentiality and will keep all work safe and secure: someone who values intellectual property highly.