Dispelling the Myths: Translation and History

As previously mentioned in our blogs, we at BigTranslation know the realities of business and commerce inside out, so we are more than aware of the important role that translation plays in international cooperation between people from all sorts of backgrounds. With this in mind, we’d like to take this opportunity to correct one of the biggest misconceptions in the history of language.

As previously mentioned in our blogs, we at BigTranslation know the realities of business and commerce inside out, so we are more than aware of the important role that translation plays in international cooperation between people from all sorts of backgrounds. With this in mind, we’d like to take this opportunity to correct one of the biggest misconceptions in the history of language.

“Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”) is a quotation from a June 26, 1963, speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in West Berlin. Speaking in German, John F. Kennedy said “I am a citizen of Berlin.”
Pronounced at the height of the Cold War, with the intention of underlining the support of the United States for West Germany following the erection of the Berlin Wall, the speech is remembered as being one of Kennedy’s best. However, it is also the source of one of the most widely believed myths in the history of popular culture.

There is a common misconception that Kennedy made a rather comical error in pronouncing the words Ich bin ein Berliner. As the myth goes, his use of the definite article would change “I am a citizen of Berlin” to “I am a Berliner” (a Berliner being a type of German pastry, similar to a jelly doughnut). However, scholars of German will know that the indefinite article is omitted in German when speaking of an individual’s profession or residence, but still used when speaking in a figurative sense. Since the President was not literally from Berlin but declaring his solidarity with its citizens, “Ich bin ein Berliner” was the only way to express what he wanted to say.

Unfortunately, this still hasn’t deterred everyone from Len Deighton to Eddie Izzard using the misconception surrounding the phrase for comic effect, nor did it prevent JFK’s political opponents from repeating it to have a cheap laugh at the Bostonian President’s supposed linguistic ineptitude. On one hand, the extent to which this misconception has managed to manifest itself in popular culture is quite remarkable. However, the idea that translation may be used as a political football is less uncommon than one might think.

Translation History | BigTranslation

In Catalonia last year, the Institute Nova Història made the rather surprising claim that, for centuries, Spanish leaders have used translation to downplay the role of Catalonia in the country’s history. They even went so far as to claim that Miguel de Cervantes’ famous Don Quixote – widely considered to be the first modern novel – was in fact written in Catalan by Cervantes and subsequently translated into Spanish. It is argued that several linguistic errors in the text point to the possibility that Don Quixote was translated into Castilian from Catalan.

For a translator to provide an accurate, unprejudiced view of the characters and events which shape history, he or she must have an in depth knowledge of the social and political issues surrounding the source language and the people who speak it. If the whole story of Ich bin ein Berliner tells us anything, it’s that translators of the past haven’t always lead by example in this sense. And if the initial translations of Saddam Hussein’s last book (ranging from ‘Devil’s Dance’, ‘Begone Devils’ to ‘Get Out, You Damned One’) are anything to go by, it’s clear that the translators of today have got still got their work cut out for them.

Polish Translation: Style and Formatting Guidelines

BigTranslation prides itself on the quality of its Polish translation. When carrying out Polish translation on the platform, please follow these guidelines.

BigTranslation prides itself on the quality of its Polish translation. When carrying out Polish translation on the platform, please follow these guidelines. They will explain exactly how to format product descriptions correctly, and they also contain valuable general information on our style preferences for any Polish translation undertaken for us.

Style and Formatting Guidelines-PL

Why BigTranslation Loves Style and Formatting Guidelines:

We are big fans of style and formatting guidelines and we make them available for all of our team working in each of our target languages. This document is a useful tool, not only our translators, but also for our validators, editors, project managers, the whole team. We know that you, like us, take content seriously and we believe that this is the optimal way to provide a structure and framework that is easily accessible to everybody and avoid any uncertainties or ambiguities. We find that it is an especially useful tool when working in such a large team, via our platform.

In addition, style and formatting guides are very important for BigTranslation as a professional translation agency. They help us to maintain our credibility and to ensure that we stand out from our competitors. This is because they ensure consistency between translators and between individual texts in terms of both style and quality.

Furthermore, having a style and formatting guide to consult helps to unify all of the content and create a strong and reliable brand for each of our clients. This, in turn helps them to gain their target market’s trust.

As translators and proofreaders, we need to have a keen eye for detail, and a style guide helps to take care of the nitty-gritty grammatical points. It also helps us to have confidence in our choices, aiding us when selecting between more than one correct option and clearing up any uncertainties about the best way to format our work!

Portuguese Translation: Style and Formatting Guidelines

We pride ourselves on the quality of our Portuguese translations. When carrying out Portuguese translation on the BigTranslation platform, please follow these guidelines.

Portuguese Translation

portuguese translations

Portuguese Translation: Style and Formatting Guidelines

We pride ourselves on the quality of our Portuguese translations. When carrying out Portuguese translation on the BigTranslation platform, please follow these guidelines. They will explain exactly how to format product descriptions correctly, and they also contain valuable general information on our style preferences for any Portuguese translation undertaken for us.

Style and Formatting Guidelines-PT

Why BigTranslation Loves Style and Formatting Guidelines:

Here at BigTranslation, we are big fans of style and formatting guidelines. As such, we make them available for all our team working in each of our target languages. This document is a useful tool, not only our translators, but also for validators, editors, project managers, the entire team. We know that you, like us, take content very seriously and we believe that this is the best way to provide a structure and framework that is easily accessible to everybody and avoid uncertainties or ambiguities. We find that it is an especially useful tool when working in such a vast team, via our platform.

Additionally, style and formatting guidelines are very important for BigTranslation as a translation agency. They help us to maintain our credibility and ensure that we stand out from our competitors. This is because they ensure consistency between translators and between individual texts in terms of both style and quality.

What’s more, having a style and formatting guide to consult helps us to unify content and create a strong and reliable brand for each of our clients. This, in turn helps them to gain their target market’s trust.

As translators and editors, we need to have a keen eye for detail, and a style and formatting guide helps us to take care of the nitty-gritty grammatical points. It also helps us to have confidence in our choices, aiding us when selecting between more than one correct option and clearing up any uncertainties about the best way to format our work!

Swedish Translation: Style and Formatting Guidelines

We pride ourselves on the quality of our Swedish translations. When carrying out Swedish translation on the BigTranslation platform, please follow these guidelines.

Swedish Translation

swedish translationsSwedish Translation: Style and Formatting Guidelines

We pride ourselves on the quality of our Swedish translations. When carrying out Swedish translation on the BigTranslation platform, please follow these guidelines.

They will explain exactly how to format product descriptions correctly, and they also contain valuable general information on our style preferences for any Swedish translation undertaken for us.

Style and Formatting Guidelines-SV

Why BigTranslation loves style and formatting guidelines:

We are huge fans of style and formatting guidelines, so we make them available for all of our team working in each of our target languages. This document is a useful tool for, not only our translators, but also our validators, editors, project managers, etc. Essentially the whole team benefits! We know that our translators, like us, take content very seriously and we believe that this is the very best way to provide a structure and framework that is easily accessible to all and avoid any uncertainties or ambiguities. We find that it is an especially useful tool when working in such a large team on the translation platform.

Additionally, style and formatting guidelines are very important for BigTranslation as a professional translation agency. They help us maintain our credibility and ensure that we stand out from the rest. This is because they help ensure consistency between translators and between individual texts in terms of both style and quality.

Furthermore, having style and formatting guidelines to hand helps to unify all content and create a strong and reliable brand for each of our clients. This, then helps them to gain their target market’s trust and create a reliable and strong image.

As translators and proofreaders, we need a keen eye for detail, and a style guide helps to take care of the finer grammatical points. It also helps us to be confident in our choices, aiding us when selecting between more than one option and clearing up any uncertainties about the best way to format work!

Musings of a Translation Trainee: The Responsibility of a Translator

The responsibility that is taken on by a translator is huge! This is the overwhelming impression that I am left with whenever I stop to think about what it actually means to be a translator, the profession which I have chosen and the role which I am working towards!

The translator’s responsibility

The responsibility that is taken on by a translator is huge! This is the overwhelming impression that I am left with whenever I stop to think about what it actually means to be a translator, the profession which I have chosen and the role which I am working towards! This is both terrifying and incredibly exciting at the same time! We all know that those jobs which hold the most responsibility are also, very often, the most rewarding!

A translator needs knowledge and creativity

The job of translator requires not only skill but also great cultural knowledge, good judgement, and also a generous helping of creative problem solving. Let’s have a little think about just one of the anecdotes which have been recounted to me during my studies, which I have retained and springs to mind when I think of the importance of contextual adaption and a target orientated approach. I was told of the situation where a Jamaican politician said to his French counterpart that an event he had seen in France was as exciting as the best cricket game. Nevertheless, the interpreter facilitating the communication between the two of them decided to translate it as “what I saw here was as exciting as a cycling race”, which undoubtedly speaks more to a French speaker.

Consideration and courage

Whilst, obviously, not all situations call for this kind of alteration to the content, (and caution should always be exercised) I do think that bearing in mind the effect of the text on the target audience is something which cannot be overestimated. I know that we have all witnessed examples of literal translations which have lost the message among the jumble of verbatim words…

Be brave my fellow translators, translate the message of the text and not just the words on the page!

 

native language translations

Lithuanian Translation: Style and Formatting Guidelines

BigTranslation is very proud of the high quality of our Lithuanian translations. When carrying out Lithuanian translation on the platform, please follow these guidelines.

Lithuanian Translation

translation lithuanian

Lithuanian Translation: Style and Formatting Guidelines.

BigTranslation is very proud of the high quality of our Lithuanian translations. When carrying out Lithuanian translation on the platform, please follow these guidelines. They will explain exactly how to format product descriptions correctly, and they also contain valuable general information on our style preferences for any Lithuanian translation undertaken for us.

Style and Formatting Guidelines-LT

Why BigTranslation Adores Style and Formatting Guidelines

We are big fans of style and formatting guidelines and we make them available for all of our team working in every target language. This document is a useful tool, not only our translators, but also for our validators, editors, project managers, etc. We know that you, like us, take content seriously and we believe that this is the optimal way to provide a structure and framework that is easily accessible to everybody and avoid any uncertainties or ambiguities. We find that it is an especially useful tool when working with such a large team, via our platform.

In addition, style and formatting guides are very important for BigTranslation as a professional translation agency. They help us to maintain our credibility and to ensure that we stand out from our competitors, ensuring consistency between translators and individual texts in terms of style and quality.

What’s more, having a style and formatting guide to consult helps to unify all of the content and create a strong and reliable brand for each of our clients. This, in turn helps them to gain the turst of their target market.

As translators, we need to have a keen eye for detail, and a style guide helps to take care of the nitty-gritty grammatical points. It also helps us to have confidence in our choices, aiding us when selecting between more than one correct option and clearing up any uncertainties about the best way to format our work!