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Lost in Translation

The phrase “lost in translation” may remind the average folk of a famous movie title from back in 2003. In that movie two Americans, played by the voluptuous Scarlett Johansson and the comical Bill Murray, meet and share a few melodramatic romantic nights in Tokyo.

Translators know that for them “lost in translation” means much more than a movie or a saying. It is something that they must keep in mind at all times when working on a translation, especially when it comes to translating a book or an advertisement.

Keeping in mind what the original document is trying to say, the translator not only has the job of translating, but many times that person has to do the job of a creative writer.  In cases like these, there may be a lot of back and forth with the client to make sure that what the translator has written gives off a similar message as to what the original document is trying to express.

Conveying the meaning of the original document is very important when translating in different languages. Some languages and cultures are more conservative in their advertising and wording in general.  This is another reason as to why the translator must be a native speaker of the target language because they have a better understanding of the culture and how far they can push the boundaries as to what  is acceptable and what is not.

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