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The Major Challenges to Translation Industry

Elite AsiaLinguisticsThe Major Challenges to Translation Industry
7 January 2019 Posted by eliteasia Linguistics No Comments

Translation, as an industry, is like any other industry out there. It has its own set of challenges to overcome. It isn’t just about converting words from one language into words in another. If it were that simple, businesses wouldn’t be having a hard time trying to capture markets outside of their home territory.

Language is a complex tool of communication that is influenced by various factors. So, it’s rarely a simple task of just interpreting words and sentences. There are several unique requirements that must be met.

In this blog, we are going to discuss some of the most common challenges faced by translators and find out how to overcome them.

Language Structure

There are about 7000 languages that are spoken by people today and mind you, that’s just the number of languages. We also have multiple dialects that exist for many of these languages and the scary part is they’re all unique in their own special way.

You have unique idioms, expressions, compound words, onomatopoeic expressions, etc. These are the components that make a language unique. However, they also pose some challenges in terms of translation.

This is exactly why a statement in one language may fail to have the intended effect when translated into another language. In fact, the translated version, though accurate in the literal sense, may actually cause confusion or even offence if it fails to carry the original meaning.

Needless to say, this is a huge risk for businesses.

So, how do we overcome this?

Well, translators need to acquire a deep knowledge of target languages and seek out advanced interpreting skills. The need of the hour is advanced linguistic knowledge to help interpret jargon, slang, metaphors, expressions and multiple dialects.

Also Read:

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in the Translation Industry


Apart from language structure, culture also influences communication. The way ideas are communicated in different languages tends to vary based on individual and cultural perceptions. Translating a casually used phrase in one language into another can potentially end up sounding offensive due to cultural taboos or beliefs.

To overcome this, translators must go beyond just translation and study the culture of the audience they’re targeting. They must learn the appropriate alternative terms and figure out the context in which those terms can be used. Translators must be provided with cultural sensitivity training so that they’re in tune with the audience.

The Future

The future of translation is likely to be impacted heavily by automation and machine learning. These advanced technological tools are already playing a major role in the localization and translation sectors. However, language is too complex for machines to make absolute sense of.

This means linguists will still have a major role to play in the translation business. Conveying the actual meaning of a sentence or term is something only a human linguist is capable of for the time being. In fact, it will be so for a long time to come.

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