English is known to be a difficult language. To American native speakers, English seems relatively easy; however, to non-English speakers, English is notoriously tricky. There are unusual aspects of the language, which cause significant difficulties for translators and non-native English speakers. English translation is known to be one of the most difficult translations when needing consistency.
Why does English Cause Translation Difficulties?
Many characteristics of the English language make translation difficult – both American and British English. One of these aspects includes the verb-adverb combination (unique to English). This is shown by combinations such as “turn on,” “turn off,” “mark up,” or “mark down.” Other languages use single specific verbs instead of the English verb-adverb combinations.
Another reason English translation is so difficult is because of the use of articles. Although almost all Western European languages use articles, many other languages do not. The Slavic languages do not use articles at all, which causes great difficulties when translating English to a Slavic language. All of these issues create challenges for translators.
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Real World Example
Farzaneh Khodabadeh taught English for 10 years at intermediate schools and 4 years at the college level before deciding to do a study involving English translation. She has a Master’s in Teaching English from Isfahan University in Iran and her areas of research include Discourse Analysis. Khodabadeh wanted to conduct this study to reveal the problems students (and people in general) face when translating documents.
To make this research possible, 58 male and female graduate students of English were asked to take part in the study. The students were given a test, which included thirty Persian and thirty English headlines. They were then asked to translate them. The English translations the students produced were then analyzed so as to explore possible cross-linguistic problems.
Data Findings of the Translation Study
The first analysis revealed that the students had grammatical and lexical (the words or vocabulary of a language) errors in the translations they produced. From the second analysis, it was concluded that the participants had insufficient knowledge of English rules. When the findings were released, the study came to be extremely significant and helpful to teachers, syllabus designers, and those producing English translation.
The conclusions were incredibly similar to Newmark’s (1988) study in that learners have trouble using words or word associations. This is either because they do not understand them or because they are unable to find word equivalents. This shows that translation into English is truly a difficult task.
American Translation Solutions
A professional translation company is well versed in solving the difficulties that come with English translation. At TDSP Translators, we are accustomed to the different verb and article problems that arise within English translation. The production of any translation is a difficult task in itself, especially if one is attempting to produce a translation with pinpoint accuracy. There are times when a word-for-word match literal version of the original is virtually impossible. Professional translators know how to render culturally relevant meaning when there is no exact match for a word.
All varieties provided:
- American English into Other Languages
- Other Languages into American English
- British English into Other Languages
- Other Languages into British English