Translation Tips: Knowing Your Audience

Translation is far more complicated than simply replacing source language text with the equivalent text in the target language. The text cannot only be a word-for-word translation but must also pass along the meaning of the original text. Part of this process is establishing the target audience of your translation. The group for whom the text is aimed will dictate the style of the translation. Here are some DLS translation tips to keep in mind:


The tone of your translation should not be difficult to determine. It is paramount that it matches that of the original source document. If the original is a business-related document, you avoid using any sort of colloquial language that would not reflect a professional tone. If the document is a letter between two friends, do not use a professional tone.


A person’s level of language can fall through the cracks from time to time. This can cause major issues in delivering the right message to your audience. To properly translate a document, you utilize language that is neither too difficult nor too simple for the target audience. Suppose you have been tasked with creating a safety tips pamphlet, aimed at lower-income residents of a third world nation. Providing a pamphlet with verbose language will not serve any purpose, likely confusing readers. The pamphlet should instead use simple text and phrases.


Text should conform to the cultural norms of the target audience, especially in services like website localization. Be certain to utilize proper date and time formats. Avoid terms and phrases that could be offensive unless vital to retaining the meaning from the original.

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