Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Translating and Interpreting ~ Two different tasks that requires Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom!

Nowadays, people who are not well versed in the English or Malay language tend to send the wrong message across when posting or publishing whatever it is that they wish to convey to others?

Woe betide any businessman or woman if they were to blunder by sending the wrong message or correspondence to their clients or business associates.

In these times, people are much more easily offended and will not hesitate to cancel or break off any business deals or agreements if they receive the wrong message from anyone whom they trusted or entered into any business arrangements with.

Malaysians in general are not as aggressive in pursuing knowledge or acquire the necessary skills in order to succeed in whatever they engage in. Not many are keen to polish up on their vocabulary or speaking prowess. 

Hence we do not see that many people here in Malaysia end up as literary scholars or diamonds of the writing industry. Most people nowadays end up using social media lingo in their mannerisms of texting using their smartphone's messaging systems.

The clear difference between translating and interpreting is that translators work with translating written words into another language whilst interpreters work upon the spoken words in a particular language uttered orally which they in turn interpret orally in the preferred language that the listener or listeners want to understand with.

To put it in a nutshell ~ Translators write and Interpreters talk! That's as crystal clear as can be.

One works with the documents or writings before him or her ; whilst the other listens to intently to what is being said, processes the information they have heard and in response conveys verbally whatever that they have heard and understood its context or content into the selected or specified language that those who are listening wish to know?

So, translating and interpreting is not the same. Please share this with your family and friends. Knowledge is to be shared, that's very important. 

One other form of interpreting is the form of sign language. The person whom we see being shown in a small window at the bottom right hand side of our television screens is usually someone who has full faculties of hearing and also has learned the signing methods that those who are deaf and mute use in communicating with one another.

Personally, I quite respect and am in awe of such individuals. They have the best of all three forms of communication as part of their soft skills. It can be very handy to be able to express themselves in any of the three mediums.

Writing, speaking and signing. In the field of law enforcement and military plus espionage, all such skills become very valuable and important to possess and master.

Yet in all of the three forms of communication mediums that I am sharing about here, the fundamental aspect of all three methods of communicating must remain to be accuracy.

If you mistranslated, interpreted wrongly or signed the wrong message the whole thing can backfire upon you can cause you to be either branded as a liar or as someone who should not be trusted.

Trust and confidence once shattered are not replaceable. Just like a flat, smooth, crisp piece of paper. Once crumpled, it will never be the same again. 

Unless you take the trouble to steam it up then immediately iron it out properly, chances are that it will only look as if it is as it was before but the reality is that it is no longer as smooth as it once was.

So, always exercise caution before handing over your translations to your client. Think over once or twice before you relay what you thought was meant by the speaker. Reassess in your mind as to what was really being meant before you sign it over to your audience.

If you are to ask me as to whom do I think play a more important role and has a heavier sense of responsibility between translating and interpreting, I'd say that it is the interpreter.

He or she has no chance to check flipping the pages of a dictionary or thesaurus, do a Google check before concluding the correct and accurate meaning of what is being said?

The interpreter must be pretty quick in being able to listen carefully, process the received information correctly and possess an incredible amount of knowledge and understanding of the subject matter being shared or expressed by the speaker to simultaneously or in a minute later verbally say in the chosen language preferred by the listeners or audience what the first speaker meant to be shared with them?

Its not a walk in the park, I must say.

A wrong or inaccurate translation can be rectified by doing it all over again but if the wrong interpretation was passed on over to the listening audience, then, a gross injustice would have been perpetrated upon those who chose to trust in whatever was being shared with them by the interpreter!

Such a calamity can have very grave consequences for those who decide upon something that can be of the utmost importance and be a life-changing situation especially when it concerns decisions made based upon the context or content of whatever is shared through translating, interpreting and signing.

Conveying the right message to others will result in us and them receiving rightful blessings and guidance from the Almighty! Yet if we were to be so unfortunate as to pass on the wrong messages to others, then we will later have our moments of utter regret when the truth prevails and we are found to be the one who fibbed!

Now, that would truly be a moment to be crestfallen and despair over what we had done! 'To err is human ; to forgive is divine' goes a popular saying that we are to overlook someone's errors but even if we are to apologize and say that we are so sorry,etcetera and admit our screw ups and mistakes, chances are that our clients or audience might choose to look past such slip ups but then again they can be said to be ready to forgive our shortcomings but they will surely not forget!

Distrust will definitely creep in and kick off the trust that they had in us! So please, make sure that you really understand as to what is being shared with you before you regurgitate it out after a casual attempt to understand whatever was being said or you thought that this was what the speaker meant or inferred in their speech?

I hope you now have a fair grasp of what this article's title meant to convey to you after reading all these. There's just so much more for us to learn from the oceans of knowledge all around us.

Some of such knowledge at times might be right there in front of us but we miss out on them for being clouded in our judgments or due to the fact that we could be so engrossed in thinking about something that may in actuality not be that important to our life or chosen vocation!

Keep on learning and if possible teach others. It will be your legacy and probable source of blessings to aid you in the hereafter. Insya Allah.

Wabillahi Taufik Wal Hidayah.

Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

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