April 22, 2019
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  • 7:12 pm The Smile’s Best Friend
  • 2:48 am Relocating: Three Considerations to Make When Moving to a New City
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List of languages on the computer screenIn places where English is not the first language, it takes some time to release international movies. The delay is due to the need for translation. And because direct translation would not be enough to present the movie's intended message, there is a need to localize or globalize content. 

This is not just for movies. Research papers, reports, certifications and even public documents need to be translated with care. 

Context Makes Everything Better

When the British movie "Slumdog Millionnaire" was released in 2008, it was met with varied reception. The film featured the Indian version of the game "Who Wants to Be a Millionnaire?" and each answer from the eventual contest winner, Jamal Malik, had a flashback by way of explaining how he knew the answers. The Indian setting showed Malik struggling in the "slums," barely scraping by. Here, Indian culture is widely presented, but the content is globalized to make it easy for people of different cultures to understand the events. It also helped that the movie featured a game show that is recognized in different countries. 

Cultural References Need to Make Sense 

In French films and other movies where a specific culture is heavily featured, there is a challenge for translators to look for the local equivalent, to guarantee that the local audience will understand the film. In Japan, notes may be left on the screen or on paper to explain what the direct translation is, and how it can be translated to the local Japanese culture. The same goes when translating a Japanese show into an English version. The differences in culture may require slight changes in the translated script; otherwise, jokes and plots would not make sense. Singapore translation companies like Lingua Technologies International also do the same for business proposals, certificates, and public documents needing translation. The goal is to not let cultural differences change the intended meaning of the text being translated. 

Some Terms Need to be Explained

Not all words have a direct translation to each foreign language. Some are deeply rooted in the local culture that an equivalent is simply impossible to find. For these words and phrases, the translator may need to substitute a suitable word in the local language. In Singapore, there are Singlish words that do not have to be translated fully. The translated text should mean something in the local language, instead of just being a mixture of random words because they are directly translated. 

Translation is a science, as well as an art. It is not enough to know the words of a language. To translate properly, you must know how to speak the language like a local. 

Terohan Nula