Translating Humour

Is it possible to translate humour?

 

Translating humour is often difficult, as humour consists of cultural references in the source language, often full of stereotypes, inside jokes and references to characters from a certain context. Creativity is essential in order to maintain the humour component, even if it inevitably means sometimes moving away from the original text.

Tradition and the low level of foreign language skills have fostered a strong culture of dubbing in audiovisual media in countries such as Spain and Italy. The presence of new platforms such as HBO or Netflix has opened up a new range of possibilities when it comes to choosing the language in which content is consumed.

Humour has a strong cultural component, and the translation of humour, like poetry, is an art and sometimes a nightmare that professionals deal with in different ways. The original message may be adapted and modified in order to resonate with the audience in the target language: a “cultural equivalence” is sought. In other cases, the translation is omitted (maintaining the source language) or a literal translation is chosen, adding an explanation (which is very difficult in audiovisual media).

 

The translation of humour is not a simple translation, but a true localisation: understanding the humorous concept, but adapting it to a different culture in order to achieve the same or a similar effect on the audience. This, as we know, is not always possible or successful.

 

However, thanks to the current globalisation and the internationalisation of some cultural topics (films, series, internet…) a shared culture has been created. Millennials all over the world know what “WTF”, “LOL”, “Ok boomer” mean.

 

If translation is necessary, translating humorous content involves creativity, as the aim is to naturalise humour.

It is a task that only professionals with a great knowledge of the source and target languages can achieve, as the effectiveness of humour is based on the fact that the sender and receiver share the same cultural and linguistic references.

 

At Converta Translations we understand the subtleties of humour, and we ensure a translation that is appropriate for each context and audience.

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Technical translation

Technical translation is a type of specialized translation with content and terminology that belongs to a specific sector, such as engineering, energy, electronics, automotive, chemistry, electronics, mining, telecommunications, metallurgy or construction.
We find terms, vocabulary and linguistic structures of a certain sector which are not used in common language.
The texts and content are aimed at professionals of that field, meaning that they are a highly specialized audience. Examples include manuals, instructions, user guides, technical data sheets, specifications, patents, etc.

Technical translations cannot contain inaccuracies or terminological errors: the possibility of error is not contemplated, it must be an exact translation of the original text, since a mistake in the translation can have important consequences, such as a part not fitting, a poorly explained procedure making a task impossible, or a product not working at all.
For this reason, the technical translator, in addition to mastering both languages, must have a perfect command and in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and terminology in both languages. It is not enough to be a native speaker, as being a translator is not the same as being able to understand a text on renewable energies or industrial engineering. The source text must be fully understood so that there is no doubt of interpretation, and so that the translator can translate reliably, ensuring that the content is expressed according to the specific technical parameters of the target language.

The standardized and repetitive nature of technical texts makes it useful to count on CAT tools when quality translation memories and terminology bases have been developed, but this is only possible when there is human talent behind it to ensure the consistency and accuracy of the equivalences. In assignments where the object is a text with such a relevant purpose, it is necessary to have professionals who, relying on the advantages of new technologies, ensure quality and accuracy.

At Converta Translations we have a team of specialized translators thanks to whom we can guarantee excellent technical translations.

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