Context is key – but the richness of language leads to other problems

Adding to the post about context resolving ambiguities: the other side of the coin is that a single meaning can of course be correctly translated in several-to-many different ways. Any translator knows that, it is also used by the Society of Authors to explain why translators are admitted as members: translation is a creative process, a book can be translated in many different valid ways, depending on the translator’s creative choices.

However, so can purely descriptive, factual texts. And the opportunity to become familiar with a client’s existing body of communication is particularly important here. Simply put, if your “Anlage” (see blog post on context) has been clearly identified as a large piece of technical kit, it can be a “plant” or a “system” or a “machine” or a “unit” or probably many more options in English. Failing to align with the existing material will confuse readers and make the client indignant – so clients, do allow time and money for us to engage with your content!

PS: this doesn’t apply to everyone – good clients have been doing it for years!

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