If you were to ask the average person what it takes to become a translator, their first answer would most likely be “being able to speak two or more languages.” If the only prerequisite for becoming a professional translator was knowing two or more languages, then you’d be forgiven for asking why we even need translators in the first place… After all, Google Translate alone is ‘fluent’ in over 103. The truth is that translation is a wonderfully complex and creative process that often goes unrecognised. Indeed, the first step towards working as a translator would be to have full proficiency in both the source and target languages – but being bilingual does not make a translator, as we’ve previously discussed. Translators are not simply bridges between two languages but between two cultures. They are experts in understanding and interpreting the cultural nuances of both the source and target languages; they are computer whizzes, mastering multiple CAT tools and methods of research; and they are highly-knowledgeable specialists in their chosen area of translation, whether it be medical, legal or marketing, to name but a few.
A pretty painful faux pasSo what happens when people don’t properly consult professional translators for their language needs? As we found out from singer Ariana Grande last month, it can culminate in a pretty painful and very permanent mistake. Grande recently revealed via Instagram a snap of a new Japanese hand tattoo dedicated to her latest song, ‘7 rings.’ However, her tattoo ‘七輪’ doesn’t translate as ‘7 rings’, as she had intended. In Japanese, the characters actually translate to ‘shichirin’, meaning a small barbecue grill... Not exactly what she had in mind, we imagine.
Apparently Ariana Grande’s new tattoo was meant to say ‘seven rings’ but actually translates as ‘barbecue grill’. Even celebrities aren’t safe from a tattoo mishap. DO YOUR RESEARCH, PEOPLE!Our latest episode about body modification is available now on all good podcast apps. pic.twitter.com/GAQazBBHZ9 — How Not To Be An Idiot (@noidiotspodcast) February 16, 2019