First of all, I wish to place my sincere appreciation to all those individuals, volunteers, organization, Institutions, professionals and others who take initiative & work towards creating global knowledge & content in their local working languages to enable implementation & use of such proven global knowledge in working in local language.
I feel honored & proud of being part of many such projects and feel very happy for my small contributions through volunteering my participation in creating good Global Contents in Hindi language like PMBOK® Guide (both 4th & 5th Editions), Scrum Guide, Nexus Guide, eduScrum Guide and other such contents.
Many volunteers, National Governments, Academia, Institutions, Businesses, Professionals and others are taking initiative for translating good or relevant Global Content in their local language(s). The two main aspects or objects of this noble effort of translating the Global Content into Local Language could be to use such proven Global knowledge in education & training the workforce and to enable its implementation in routine working/functioning in local language, both in government and in private sector by removing the language barrier.
I wish to share my experience of Hindi Translation that may help in such translation projects.
We all know that the Team is the most important factor in success or failure of any project but their approach in understanding, planning and executing the project also plays the key role in achieving the project objectives. And this may vary from team-to-team and language-to-language. Therefore, instead of going in for too much detail in this post, I am sharing 2 key leanings from Hindi Translation projects.
Key Conceptualization or understanding considerations: Good understanding or conceptual clarity leads to a better initiating and planning of any project. And play even a greater role in a translation project.
These three considerations are very important for approaching the translation of any Global & widely applied Content in a local language, as:
- The Global Content should be maintained without any material change caused due to their translation in a local language. This is very important for maintaining the integrity and consistency of the Global Content/Standard as you are only transferring its meaning from one language to another language.
- The Context should not be missed while translating the various sections/parts of the Global Content. This is also very important for maintaining the uniformity of the meaning and common understanding & implementation based on it.Considering points 1 & 2 together does not mean Word-to-Word translation. This is because different languages have different grammar, phrases, words. And therefore, the meaning of what is being said in a section or para should be translated in such a manner that the translated text in the local language does not miss the context or the meaning of that content.
- The Technical & Common Global Terminology, another key consideration. This should be thoughtfully considered to form a proper policy for translation project (using them as-is or translate). In the translation process you will see that in a local language:
a. A word of the principal language is used as it is.
b. A word is available but not having proper meaning.
c. A word is available but not equivalent.
d. A word is available but not commonly used in general communication or in working.
e. Multiple words available with same or near to same meaning.
f. Multiple words available but with different meanings in different contexts.
g. No word available.
h. Or any other scenario that you may face.
The first thing you should remember in a translation project is that you are not translating words only rather you are translating the meaning or the words, sentence or para. Therefore, while translating, keep focus on translating the meaning of sentences instead of individual words. And considering above scenarios (a to h) the word translation should be done & finalized on a case to case basis keeping the context, meaning and the reader in mind.
You may but generally there is no need to re-invent a word in local language. You can handle the word translation related complexities with using a descriptive glossary or with having multiple specific glossaries.
The End User or Reader considerations: The end user or the reader should always be kept in mind while translating any Global Content in to a local language.
- Precedence of Accuracy over Creativity. If you carefully see the “Conceptualization or Understanding considerations” you will realize that this is a very-very important factor in translating any Global Content in to a local language. Since the translation is for translating the meaning and not the word or sentence, the accuracy of the translation carries far greater importance than creativity as creativity may directly or indirectly hamper the accuracy and in many cases creativity may not even be required.
- Maintaining Technical & Common Global Terminology. This is a very tricky aspect of the translation. Therefore, the translation policy should carefully address this issue. Some languages may be comparatively better with having an extensive vocabulary where you will get many local language words for one English word, even different word for different context as well. I suggest that unless you have proper words that are commonly used in practice and people understand its meaning in the context & meaning of the translated Global Content, it will be better to use the English word as it is in the local language. This is very important as the reader may require to search more content / material on that word/term on Internet for enhancing their knowledge, inelegance development or understanding implementation, etc.
- Providing Ease of Reading to the reader or user. This should be one of the objectives of any translation project. This is an important factor in promoting the translated Global Content among masses or the target audience. While adhering to the points 1&2 above liberty may be taken in simplifying the translated version and specially for complex or large sentences to provide ease of reading to the reader. Word-to-Word translation and too much use of local words / terms may hamper ease of reading.
- Enabling implementation of the translated Global Content in official working in local language. This should also be one of the main objectives of the translation project as having a translation just for the sake of having it, does not serve any practical purpose in the interest of society or business. It may also lake continuity, enhanced localization and competitive adaptation of global best practices, methods & frameworks in working of small & medium organizations overcoming the language barrier. This is key for achieving overall success of the translation initiative and all the above points (1-3) should be considered from this perspective. Therefore, properly addressing the above three aspects will definitely enable the readers to help understand the Global Content and implement it in their routing working that they do in this local language.