If you speak two languages, you can surely translate between them … right? Well, no. Translation is an art, not a science, and it’s far more complicated than people often assume. Translation is more than just finding the equivalent word in the other language.
When was the last time you praised Google Translate’s translation skills, particularly for languages that aren’t closely related? Never? Exactly. The famous machine translation tool breaks sentences up into clusters that it translates separately, with no regard for context. It’s good in a pinch if you desperately need to understand the gist of a foreign text, but it’s certainly not a reliable translation tool.
1. Word-for-word translation doesn’t cut it.
Different languages have different grammatical structures (for example, English has far more tenses than Croatian). This means you can’t retain the grammatical structures from the source language, as word-for-word translations attempt to do. It’s even worse when you encounter idioms — rarely are these the same across languages, and a literally translated idiom will be meaningless gibberish to speakers of the target language.
What you need to do is translate the meaning of the words, not the words themselves. Any idea can be expressed in any language — it may just require different words or a different number of words. An exceptional Croatian translation service will also pay attention to the subtle nuances that certain words add to a sentence and translate the connotation accurately.
2. Croatian and English are from different language families.
Germanic–Romance hybrid English and Slavic Croatian are worlds apart, which makes translating English into Croatian pretty tricky. There are numerous specific challenges that translators must overcome when looking to turn an English text into a natural, flowing professional Croatian translation.
3. Croatian has an extensive case system and flexible word order.
You know the difference between “I,” “me” and “my.” Now imagine that there are four additional variants. Also imagine that every single noun, pronoun, adjective and number has these seven variants. Well, that’s Croatian! It’s usually a bit more regular than “I” and “me,” but Croatian’s extensive case system makes it a tricky language to translate. This case system allows for flexible word order — Iva pije vodu (Iva drinks water), Iva vodu pije (Iva water drinks), and even Vodu pije Iva (Water drinks Iva) are all perfectly acceptable and mean the same thing, but with different nuances. A good Croatian translation service understands and conveys these nuances.
4. Croatian has several dialects.
Croatian also contains three very distinct main dialects, which can complicate matters even further when you’re working with literary texts or video subtitling. Good Croatian translation services have mastered all three dialects and can translate them all, putting the appropriate nuances into the English sentences.
Looking for a professional, native-speaking Croatian translator who can avoid all the pitfalls?
Fortunately, our professional Croatian translators are extensively experienced in overcoming these very challenges. You have a Croatian text to translate, and we have vast knowledge and expertise in professional Croatian translation. We’d be delighted to help!