Communication is the Key

The overriding goal and aim for translators should always be communication. This may well be a topic and theme that has been repeated and been touched upon again and again throughout myriad translation courses, textbooks and essays but it cannot be repeated enough. Translation is communication. If the translator’s overriding aim is not communication then he or she is simply not translating. When a word, phrase, idiom or sentence within a text comes between the reader and the understanding of the meaning of a text then this is no longer translation. The job of the translator is to communicate the meaning of the source text to the reader or listener in the target culture. When the meaning is obscured through an incorrect choice of vocabulary, style or otherwise, we have lost.

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20 Responses to “Communication is the Key”

  1. Kasia D Says:

    Communication is really very important issue in translating. Translators have to have knowledge of both, their own culture and the culture of the other country. The translators aim is to transmit everything they want to the reader in appropriate way; reader wants to know what does the writer wanted to say in his or her text. Nevertheless the act of translating is very difficult and sometimes impossible.

  2. transubstantiation Says:

    Culture is important, appropriacy in no doubt significant, but the act of communicating an idea is perhaps THE most crucial aspect in the translation process.

  3. Major Kira Says:

    I am happy to read this. The communication is the aim of translating! Sometimes people seem to forget about it. Many times I wonder: for whom it was written? For whom it was translated? What the translator ment? The most important in the work of translator is the target audience, not the employer. While translating one should always ask the question in one’s head: who will read it and how much they will understand of what I am writing/saying? This is closely connected with reading the author’s intentions: what he or she wanted to convey? In my opinion, this is a basis of a translator’s work.

  4. transubstantiation Says:

    Communication is no doubt directly connected to the ‘understanding’ of the message and perceiving the ‘intention’ of the author.

  5. Marta Jendrzejewska Says:

    I fully agree with the statement that translation is communication. It is the main role of a translator to help people in communicating. One has to help others understand the meaning of a message that was conveyed in a language they do not know. What follows, the translator should be aware of the needs of his audience. His/her role is to make a given text available/comprehesible to people who are interested in it (but unfortunately can not read it in the original). Translator is like a mediator, who stands between the author of an original message and its receivers.

  6. transubstantiation Says:

    Most certainly. “The translator is like a mediator” is definitely true. If our work does not ‘mediate’ or allow the flow of communication we are not doing our jobs.

  7. Magda Chrzanowska Says:

    I would like to support the idea that translation is communication. Thus, I will quote words of Peter Busch, according to whom:“It is only the art of the literary translator who can release that beauty from its original linguistic confines”. In other words, he is the one who is responsible for effective interlingual communication – he duplicates the author’s process of artistic creation, copes with the differences in the structures and cultural features of the languages involved and finally conveys the idea shown in the SL to the receivers. The above mentioned steps ensure clear expression of meaning and smooth use of language in cross-cultural communication.

  8. transubstantiation Says:

    A very apt quote. The translator is #responsible# for communication. The weight of communication is on his/her shoulders and this should always be in the mind of the translator.

  9. Małgosia Krawczykowska Says:

    I agree with the statement that translation is a communication, on the grounds that the translator apart from being a writer , is primarily a message conveyor.He conveys the meaning expressed by the original writer. It is my belief that translator should help people to communicate with one another and understand each others ideas and
    emotions.Not only does he communicate ideas, but also his main task is to
    create the same picture in the reader’s minds.I think that translator is a communicator, because he does not translate words, but he translates meaning, which should be culturally appropriate to the receiver.Therefore, work of translator essentially consists of conveying the meaning expressed by the original writer.

  10. transubstantiation Says:

    Indeed. Emotional response is the basis for our work as translators.

  11. ania u. Says:

    I also agree that translation is about communication. People translate text so that others could understand them and get to know what the text is about. Without translation we wolud not be able to communicte.

  12. Kinga N. Says:

    I agree that translation has to be about communication because what is the use of translating something without seeing it in a wider perspective? It is obvious that without knowing both cultures the meaning of the original text will be lost. Nevertheless in some cases even knowing both cultures is not enough because some ideas are non translatable.

  13. Madzia B Says:

    Yes, I do agree to the point that if something is not clear in a translation of a text the reader may either disambuguate it wrong or create a wrong impression. However, I think that we need to remember that we need to take the cultural aspect into account if we/trabslators come across a cross-cultural problem. As then we create the same meaning of a phrase/idiom/etc. by using different means of a language. Therefore, let’s remember not to read everything according to its literary meaning.

  14. transubstantiation Says:

    Exactly Madzia B, if something does not disambiguate it correctly then translation simply does not take place.

  15. Magda M. Says:

    I fully agree with the statement that translation IS communication. The role of translator is to provide a good communication between two or more languages (and of course people using them). We should remember that wrongly interpreted message can even cause a war.

  16. Iza N. Says:

    I fully agree that communication is the key to good translation. It’s not enough to translate only words, there’s also some knowledge the translator needs. Many authors use metaphors, similies, etc. to make their language rich. So, to express what he really means, his ideas, the messages he send to the reader, and at the same time not forget about the beauty of his language and thoughts the translator has to know the two cultures. Otherwise, the translator won’t be able to properly express information, feelings and emotions that are a part of the process of communication.

  17. transubstantiation Says:

    Magda M.: And there ARE examples in history that show this!

  18. Agata Wroniecka Says:

    I agree that translating is about comunication and translator should have in mind that while he/she is doing this job.

  19. Maria Ulatowska Says:

    Translation is communication – I agree with that because every translation is always done for somebody. Any possible mistake can ruin the translation and therefore communication.

  20. transubstantiation Says:

    “Translation is always done for somebody” – How true!


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