Communication models in translation and localization

If I were looking for a translator/interpreter… who would I pick?

Definitely somebody with a love and talent for languages, but also someone with extensive knowledge and experience. That is, after all, the classical definition of excellence.

In order to be an exceptionally good translator and interpreter, to stand out from the crowd and offer customers the best possible service, solid knowledge of communication science is needed.

As I have said in a previous post, as a translator I don’t just replace words with other words from a dictionary. In fact, what I have to do is pretty complex text analysis on a daily basis. After all, how would I know how to relay the message and find the most appropriate equivalent in the target language if I didn’t understand exactly how the source message was constructed?…

Who is talking to whom, in what context; what are they talking about, what is being communicated and how; what is the purpose and goal of this communication? This is where the communication models of Bühler, Geißner and Schulz von Thun come in handy. It is only when I understand correctly if a communication is designed as personal, social or factual, if it is meant to be persuasive or simply informative, what is its intended function and what methods and techniques it uses, can I avoid the pitfalls and transfer the intended meaning in the target language effectively.

If it sounds as an appeal in the source language, it has to be perceived as such in the target language as well. If it uses a certain imagery, I have to understand what is the function of that particular figure of speech or meta-communication in order to use an appropriate target culture equivalent and avoid loss of meaning and of fluency.

Especially when translating marketing texts, it is important to keep the AIDA principle in mind and make sure it is present with all its components in the target text as well.

When interpreting in business settings, especially negotiations, I have to be aware of hidden messages, parallel or crossed transactions, word choice, structure of argumentation, communication styles, etc.

Communication competence is crucial for people involved in all kinds of written and oral exchanges, especially where cross-cultural understanding is at stake. Which is why I am continuing my education and always striving for excellence. To deliver the solution you – my customer – needs.

To make a long story short, knowledge of communication science gives me a competitive edge in the translation and localization market, because it is an asset for my customers.



3 thoughts on “Communication models in translation and localization

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