In the language translation business, a vast number of people claim to be “experienced” in providing Indonesian translation services based on a basic, passive understanding of a bit of English and a bit of Indonesian.
However, in reality, it takes an intensive understanding of both languages and cultures to provide an accurate and professional translation. And that's not as easy as it sounds.
You can’t just translate a text word by word. Instead, it’s vital to understand the whole context and communicate its contents without changing the meaning. Only by mastering this expertise will you achieve an excellent translation.
1. It's easy to understand a text, but difficult to convey it.
It's super easy to vaguely understand the meaning of a text. Just copy-paste the source text into Google Translate and voila! It’s done. But wait a minute. It may be readable, but is it accurate enough?
Inexperienced translators are basically similar. For example, the phrase “have a big mouth” looks easy to translate, but there are actually two meanings: "a big mouth" (literal) and "likes to gossip" (idiom). So, yes, context is essential in translation.
A professional Indonesian translation should understand both the purpose of translation and the target audience.
2. English is "richer" than Indonesian.
English has more vocabulary than Indonesian. While you can use variations of "to see" in English, such as look, stare, gaze, notice and watch, Indonesian uses lihat in most cases. Plus, it requires good understanding and translation experience to recognize the subtle differences between these variations.
That’s not to mention other aspects, such as tenses, pluralization and word order. While English has 16 tenses and plural forms (even irregular forms!), Indonesian doesn’t. Instead, it uses adverbs of time to indicate the tenses. Word order is no less tricky: Indonesian reverses some English word orders.
That's why a professional translation service must pay careful attention to these details.
3. Cross-cultural values are not that simple.
English and Indonesian represent two completely different cultures: Western and Eastern, which are reflected in the languages. The best professional Indonesian translation services should understand and show cultural values appropriately so readers can comprehend and relate to their meaning.
For example, a mother can just say “I love you” to her children in English. Translating it literally is easy, but it doesn’t reflect the Indonesian culture, in which parents refer to themselves from the children’s perspective ("Mom loves you"). The same thing applies to translating humor, idioms and other constructions that may express different cultural values.
The ability to understand these cross-cultural values also indicates a good Indonesian translation service.
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