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Hiring Catalan Translation Services: The Top 4 Mistakes


Nowadays, it seems that machine translation can be a solution for many needs, and while the technology certainly is incredible and does have its use cases, it's just not there in terms of quality. Translating is much more than a mechanical task; on the contrary, it’s similar to an artistic skill, with a great deal of creativity and knowledge involved.


In fact, machine translation can’t correctly account for all the nuances of the target language, and sometimes it tries to translate a language word for word, resulting in barely comprehensible output. This is particularly a problem with languages that have fewer resources, like Catalan. However, professional Catalan translation services are attentive to avoid the errors we discuss here.


1. In English, one word can have several meanings and functions that correspond to different forms in Catalan.

In English, the phrase “open account” can be interpreted in several ways — it can be an order, and therefore an imperative or infinitive, or it can be an adjective followed by a noun. What helps us decide how to translate it into Catalan, where it would have different forms, is the context. However, what happens when you don’t have context? Machine translation can’t judge definitively in that situation. A professional Catalan translation, in which an expert translator can choose the appropriate words, is what you need.


2. Verb tenses are more complex in Catalan than in English.

As in many other Romance languages, Catalan has a complex verb structure compared to English. If we take the expression of the past, for instance, the sentence “The operation was interrupted at 6:00 a.m.” in English can have three different translations in Catalan because there are three different forms of the past in this language. Again, the best option will be carefully chosen by a good professional Catalan translation service.


3. English uses passive voice more often than Catalan does.

English uses passive voice much more often than Catalan, simply because in English there is no impersonal form, whereas Catalan offers two options to express this concept. It’s always a good idea to turn the passive voice into active voice in the impersonal form when translating into Catalan so the text doesn’t sound unnatural and strange.


4. Catalan has other second-person forms apart from “you.”

English use of the second person, both singular and plural, is simple: there’s only the possibility of saying “you.” Catalan, on the other hand, has the forms tu, vostè and vos, which vary in formality. The context is the only way to decide how to translate the English “you” properly.


Do you need a professional, native-speaking Catalan translator who can avoid these errors?

We have what you need: our skilled, experienced Catalan translators can offer you translations that avoid these common mistakes. We’re happy to help you with the professional Catalan translation service you need.

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