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.
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.
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.