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Different Types of Translation and How to Choose the Right One

Our Senior BDM Ashley explores the different types of translation out there and how to choose the right one for you

In his bi-monthly blog, our Senior Business Development Manager Ashley Norris reflects on the different types of translation and how to go about choosing the right one for you. Drop him an email if you want to chat.

Translation is a tricky business. Working with a partner who understands all its complexities is vital to achieving your long-term goals.

Although Wolfestone Group remains a one-stop-shop for all your multilingual needs, we understand that no two projects are ever really alike.

Each project has its own needs, each client has their own style, each culture has their sensibilities as well as their sensitivities and, yes, even unique deadlines or required turnarounds.

That's to say there is no one service nor approach that works. Indeed, there are many different types of translation.

The trouble with a simple 'Yes' and 'No'

The complexity of translation truly became clear to me a few years ago, despite being bilingual my entire life (here’s to trying to become trilingual as I learn German).

A client came and asked me to provide them with translation for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ for their software. It was for a prompt. Sounds simple enough.

Then, frozen on the phone, I realised that there is no equivalent in Welsh. Like the moment where ‘reality’ melts into actual reality in something like The Matrix: I had been awoken.

In Welsh, how you say yes and no is dependent on how the question is phrased. Meaning there are several options here just for yes and no, depending entirely on your end goal.

And there are thousands of similar examples. Take a word like 'support' in English – a multifaceted word that can cover the physical, abstract, emotional and more – is not the case in other languages. In Arabic, there are eight different words for what would universally be used in English as ‘support’, demonstrating the difficulty in nailing a translation – especially without reference materials.

Don’t worry, though – although translation has its complexities, an award-winning translation company like Wolfestone Group has you covered. Read on to be guided with expert advice on which different types of translation, service level and more is suited for you.

Get an quote from Wolfestone here.

What are the different types of translation?

Here's the good news. The translation process itself is always aligned with your content and context. Wolfestone Group offers many different types of translation services, specialised for your very project. I can take you through a few.

Legal Translation

When you are translating legal documents, the objective is to keep the translation as faithful as possible. Legal translation requires specific consideration to ensure it balances the duality of its content in its original language. This can vary itself though, from just needing messages for understanding, to certified translation of documents, even further to full legal documentation of acquisitions, commercial contracts and all that falls under the legal umbrella.

The uniqueness of the industry, as well as its broad need across all businesses and individuals, means that even within this sector there is a nuanced spectrum of content and approaches to its translation.

Accuracy is the name of the game for legal.

Marketing translation

Whereas, marketing translations require much more creativity and flair. You want a more localised approach as a bare minimum to ensure the content maintains its style and impact across languages. You want to impact the audience the same way intended to impact its current demographic.

Creativity is the key to unlocking the global door.

Expert linguists make considerations and don’t just translate the content, they bring it to life in their native language, adapting it to the cultural sensitivities of their cohorts.

The point here isn’t to generalise but it’s to show that although we are all people and all the same, our environments, our languages, our cultures change and impact how we approach, react and consider everything on a daily basis. The norm of one country means that content translated without this consideration stands out like a sore thumb.

Website translation

Website translation services cover the translation and localisation of all the content on your site, making it accessible to a wider audience. Just as legal and marketing translation require specialised skill sets, so does website translation.

For example, Wolfestone Group offers professional and comprehensive website translation services across many different languages. All website copy, page elements (ie. call-to-action buttons, forms) and image text will be translated and localised into the language of your choosing – complete with multilingual SEO optimisation – as part of our professional translation services.

Get an quote for your specific translation type here.

Why do different types of translation need a different approach?

Translation needs a variety of approaches as what has been hammered home previously here is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Think about it, even when making a Netflix recommendation, you tailor it to your audience.

When my mum asks for something to watch, I’m not recommending The Wolf of Wall Street to her. Although it's great film, I have to wonder if she is even going stay awake for 30 minutes, let alone 3 hours!

Even some of our favourite films of all time won’t get recommended to a friend because we know, deep down, they are not going to enjoy it.

Content has unique needs and these all require consideration and collaboration with a provider that understands the end goal.

What do businesses get wrong about different types of translation?

You wouldn’t bake a cake in a frying pan. Unless you’re that Hessen Blumentahl and the frying pan is filled with liquid nitrogen – as you do.

The typical issues that businesses frequently run into is the oversimplification of translation, like it’s those brownies you make in a mug in 60 seconds: ‘It says this so it should say this in the other languages.’

It’s just not always that simple. There are specific ways that we adapt our workflows and expertise on the needs of the content and the client. We aim to be a collaborator to ensure that we deliver what is right for you and your content.

When KFC first opened its stores in China, its famous catchy slogan quickly morphed into an infamous, ominous horror concept. They went from the classic, pithy, idiomatic ‘Finger lickin’ good’ to the terrifying demand to ‘Eat your own fingers’.

Had they realised that – instead of a literal translation – they needed a creative transcreation project, then this slogan could easily have been turned into a brilliantly impactful slogan for the Chinese market.

With experts at your side, Wolfestone Group really can make it easy advising and tailoring approaches on a project-by-project basis to ensure a high-quality, cost-effective service.

Get an quote from Wolfestone here, or drop me an email if you want to chat.

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