Culture gives birth to language. Language arises from culture and takes into it the cultural elements.
For example, highly individualistic culture of the Western world usually has fewer words to address people of different classes. On the other hand, in cultures that place importance on social hierarchy, the addressors are a lot more complex. In businesses, we will need to identify if the cultural elements are involved in the documents, and translate them properly. Mistranslation of these cultural subtleties can bring unintended meaning. This is highly unacceptable in the professional world.
Culture in different industries
Different industries have different ways to communicate and exchange information. In translation, we need to be careful of this, especially in national affairs. There have been major mistranslation that bring embarrassment and sometimes even humiliation to the nation of the translator.
Mistranslation can totally happen to translators unfamiliar with the languages being translated. This is because there are some terms and slangs that are widely known in the industry, but not to outsiders. If we interpret the terms literally, we will have a totally meaningless phrase.
Culture in different communities
Similarly, culture can also vary between communities in the same country, or region. These communities have a unique way to convey information, and sometimes use a different set of vocabulary only known in their communities. These translation project requires the translators to know the taboos and cultural significance to translate properly.
For example, pictures, symbols, icons that are normal in some cultures can have negative connotations in different communities. Some can even have political implications, which can cause big problems.
Context is highly important in translation. Knowing the context of the documents being translated is the first and foremost step of the process. Words can radically change meaning in the hands of the wrong translators, and the intensity can vary greatly. We need to get ready for this risk before getting down to the translation process.
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