Planet Veritas – Our guide to translation

We are the only translation company in the UK of its size managed by an award-winning linguist.

If you are not a linguist or have little understanding of how languages work, understanding the world of translation can be a bit of a minefield. We have compiled this guide to translation to give you an understanding of what translation is, how delicate a task it can be, some history and finally some useful terminology.

Privacy and Non-Disclosure

We fully understand that your documents may contain highly confidential information. This is why our linguists are obliged to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) when they join our team to ensure that the content of your documents remains private, guaranteeing your peace of mind.

What is translation and what do we offer at Planet Veritas?

Translation is not about replacing one word with another in the target language as many seem to believe, it is about conveying the spirit, sense and ideas of the text, and this is something a machine can never achieve. In order to create a professional translation, the vital ingredients are: skill; aptitude; experience and analysis are fundamental. A machine translation cannot convey the feeling, emotion cultural nuances or context as a human can. It will just give word for word translations which are completely inaccurate and embarrassingly wrong for the user and insulting for the reader. By using Planet Veritas, you can be sure that you will receive a document that has been translated to the highest standards in the industry.

Without translation, we would be living in provinces bordering on silence.`` George Steiner

Mistranslation from a historical perspective:

In July 1945, during WW2, the United States issued the Potsdam Declaration, demanding the surrender of Japan. Japanese Premier Kantaro Suzuki called a news conference and issued a statement that was supposed to be interpreted as “No comment. We’re still thinking about it.”

However, that is not what got translated.

Why? Because Suzuki used the word “mokusatsu”. The problem is, “mokusatsu” can also mean “we’re ignoring it in contempt,” and is the translation that was relayed back to the American government. Of course, this angered President Truman, and thus fell the atomic bomb on Hiroshima 10 days later.

If the translator had understood the alternate meanings of “mokusatsu” who knows if things could have been different. 

Translation is a delicate art as seen in the example above, and it can have horrific consequences if carried out incorrectly. This of course is an extreme example. However, there is no excuse for an incorrect translation, whatever the material or field. At Planet Veritas, we fully understand how complex the field of translation can be – as all members of our team are qualified and specialist linguists. Some of our clients include: British Red Cross, Buro Happold, Cyden, Montagne Jeunesse and the Energy Institute.

We will always provide you with the perfect translation for your target audience. We are passionate about languages and believe that the best translation is the translation which has the same impact on the target audience as it does on the source audience. For this reason we only employ linguists who work in their native languages. Our linguists are also specialists in other fields such as medicine, pharmaceutics, legal and business and work, have worked, or are linguistically trained to specialist standard in these fields, so have a full inside knowledge of how these areas work. NO machine translation

As part of our service you can expect:

  • A free quote and agreed deadline for your project.
  • To work with a Project Manager who will be your point of contact from the beginning to the end of your project. They will work closely with you to accommodate all of your needs and requirements during the project.
  • To have your translation completed by one of our highly vetted professional translators which our highly experienced project managers will select. All our translators are qualified to at least degree standard and have at least 5 years’ experience in their field of expertise. We are proud to have the highest vetting standards in the language industry.
  • All of our translators will ALWAYS work into their native language.
  • Where necessary a specialised and experienced team of translators formed by our knowledgeable project managers is possible if you have a large project/assignment.
  • Guaranteed delivery by an agreed deadline.

An example of machine translation:

When imputing Charles Dickens opening sentences of ‘A tale of two cities’ in French and translating it into English this is what you get:

‘It was the best times(weathers), it was the worst times(weathers), it was the era of wisdom, it was the era of silly thing, it was the time(period) of faith, it was the time(period) of the incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of the darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had any front we had nothing in front of we went all directly to the paradise, we went all directly to the other sense(direction).’

Not quite the melodious, beautiful flowing words that Charles Dickens wrote that’s for sure!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.’

For further information on our service levels go to the translation services page.

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