Being able to speak two different languages isn’t the sole prerequisite for being able to provide good translations. Local slang, regional dialects and idiomatic expressions are some of the reasons replacing each individual word rarely makes for a good translation.
Machine translations, such as those provided by Google Translate, can offer some help if your goal is to translate into a broken version of the language, but they can’t be relied on as a professional translation tool. They often fail to account for the following differences:
1. Word-for-word meanings vary.
English and Danish have different grammatical structures (for example, when it comes to interposed sentences), so word-for-word translations will be difficult to understand and may even change the meaning of the original sentence. Even more problematic are word-for-word translations of idiomatic expressions — which several Danish politicians and athletes have famously struggled with over the years. Entertaining as the outcome can be, speaking both English and Danish is not all you need for a professional Danish translation.
What needs translating is 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. Danish translation services also need to pay attention to the subtle nuances that certain words add to a sentence and translate them on an essential level.
2. English has a lot more words than Danish.
Although it’s nearly impossible to determine how many words any language (which is constantly developing) has, English is widely thought to have a lot more words than Danish. This can sometimes cause challenges for translators who need to turn a varied English text into an equally interesting professional Danish translation.
3. Danish borrows more and more words from English.
It’s extremely important to understand the tone and target audience for any translation. More and more modern Danish expressions are taken directly from English — often without even translating the individual words. However, only some are officially part of the Danish language, and others have equally meaningful “forgotten” matching Danish words. A good Danish translation service understands which translation option best serves the desired tone.
4. Punctuation isn’t the same.
The punctuation rules in English and Danish differ in many ways. Use of English punctuation in Danish text will at best be confusing and affect readability, and at worst change the actual meaning of the sentence. A good Danish translation service adheres to Danish punctuation rules for Danish, and to English punctuation rules when translating into English sentences.
Looking for a professional, native-speaking Danish translator who can avoid all the pitfalls?
Fortunately, our professional Danish translators are extensively experienced in overcoming these very challenges. You have a Danish text to translate, and we have vast knowledge and expertise in professional Danish translation. We’d be delighted to help!