Technical Aspect of Translation Services: Academic Literature

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When translating literal texts, machine translating often does a phenomenal job at recognizing previously used patterns of words and phrases and replicating the semantics of one language into another. However, with academic literature, this pattern recognition method, used by Google Translate and others, falls short. This is the result of academia’s specific writing style, unique vernacular, and nuanced methods of portraying their research and ideas. This environment is ill-suited for the current capabilities of machine […]

Intricacies of Language: Can Language be Neutral

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Language is our primary method of communication and envelopes a realm far beyond the words that it comprises. Language, per Sonia Nieto, “embodies and reflects particular power relationships and sociopolitical realities.” As a result, language is riddled with linguistic bias. This linguistic bias is evidenced in the popularity of specific words, the roots and culture the words develop their semantic value from, and the context within which the words are employed.  This linguistic bias is […]

Breaking Down the Barrier: Early Interpreters

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Bilingualism prior to Rosetta Stone (the software not the actual stone) and well-written language textbooks was typically the result of acquisition through immersion. Early interpreters were typically the result of immigration, family heritage, or trade. That being said, interpreters were a commodity to say the least, especially in the Americas. The most famous of these interpreters were Pocahontas and Sacagawea, two Native Americans who developed an understanding of English through their capture by Westerners. They […]

Breaking Down the Barrier: Gutenberg

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Prior to the most famous interpreters of the Americas: Pocahontas and Sacagawea, the invention that permitted the mass translation of the most prolific books of history took Europe by storm. Johannes Gutenberg invented the moveable type printing press in the middle of the 15th century and in doing so paved the way for works to be easily distributed to a wider audience, rather than the previously limited access to books (typically only affordable to the […]

The Technical Aspects of Translation Services: Untranslatable Words

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Translation is successful because every language aims to describe the same or similar feelings, objects, relationships, etc. While the word used to describe the target description may not be the same, the commonality of the target object allows translators to easily match one for one. This is exactly how a bilingual dictionary works, matching one word to another. However, some words lack a corollary in another language, hence there are untranslatable words. When translators encounter […]