Kannada is one of the ancient Dravidian languages. Understanding the gist of the text in a particular language is sometimes a tough task for a native speaker, and translating it into a foreign language is only possible for experts in a professional translation service. The rise of the internet has fostered a worldwide market for translation services and facilitated language localization. Here are the four most common pitfalls of translating Kannada.
1. Word-for-word translation doesn’t cut it.
Kannada's grammatical structure is far more complex than that of English. It uses 49 phonemic letters, with 34 consonants and 13 vowels. Word-to-word or literal translation is probably full of errors since the translator or a machine has made no effort to convey correct idioms or shades of meaning.
For example, a literal (Google) translation of the Kannada compound word hem'mara (ಹೆಮ್ಮರ) is "proud," whereas the exact meaning is "big tree." Many words in Kannada can be split into two different words: hem'mara becomes hiridāda + mara (hiridāda = big + mara = tree). Translating such compound words can only be done by professional Kannada translation services and no one else!
2. Kannada and English are from different language families.
English belongs to the West Germanic family and has Latin script — the basis of the International Phonetic Alphabet, which also corresponds to most languages used across the globe. However, Kannada has a long literary tradition. Professional Kannada translators have to be very cautious when translating English text to make sure its flow and meaning aren’t lost.
3. The grammar of Kannada differs greatly from that of the Indo-European languages.
In Kannada, each sound has its own distinct letter, and therefore every word is pronounced exactly as it’s spelled and all Kannada nouns code for gender. Although Kannada is also written and read from left to right, when translating an English sentence to Kannada, the same word order isn’t maintained.
Some English words, like “you,” “he” and “his,” are the same for both a younger and older person, whereas in Kannada such words are age-specific. For example, “you” is ನೀನು for people of lesser age and ನೀವು for elders. Similarly, “he” becomes ಅವನು for a younger person and ಅವರು for an elder. A good Kannada translation service understands and conveys these nuances.
4. Kannada uses sandhis.
Sandhis appear in many Indian languages and in some North Germanic languages. When letters join together, certain changes take place and a whole different word is created. Professional Kannada translation services have mastered sandhis and their usage whenever required. This makes the translated text look more professional and manual, which a machine can never do.
Looking for a professional, native-speaking Kannada translator who can avoid all the pitfalls?
Fortunately, our professional Kannada translators are extensively experienced in overcoming these very challenges. You have a Kannada text to translate, and we have vast knowledge and expertise in professional Kannada translation. We’d be delighted to help!