If you need to translate humor, from Spanish and even into Chinese – look no further. We are a cool translation company with Spanish and Chinese connections (among others). You have probably landed on our website after reading our article on translating for Android and iOS – And here’s some tips
1. If translating instructions or documentation, being literal is a plus. Everything needs to be organized, clearly written and expressed so readers can follow the instructions.
2. Marketing can be imaginative and licenses can be taken in translation of such material.
3. However, if you are going to translate humour or sayings, absolute freedom. Some parts in dialogues may be conveyed as a standard conversation, but we all know even the “how are you?” is expressed in radically different ways in different languages. For example, you can say “¿Qué tal?” in Spanish (literally “how such”) which is “Comment allez-vous” (how do you go) in French. In Osaka, a common greeting is “how is business?” in that case, which is similar to the Russian Как дела?, meaning “how affairs?”.
If we want to translate humor, we can focus the approach into two potential ways
- Situational (the kind of joke when someone does something stupid, falls, etc and there is a sarcastic remark). Don’t ask me why people smile of laugh when someone else falls, but this happens in all cultures. We control it as we grow but kids of any nation can’t.
This type of humor tends to be pretty universal, although there are different levels of irony in different cultures.
- The “saying”, where the translator has to recreate the original in his or her own culture. This is the typical case where machine translation goes horribly wrong as the algorithm cannot process the real meaning of what is being said.
This type of work is fully human and sometimes requires a good pair of different eyes prior to release. The translator has to be cherry-picked and must have a good knowledge and understanding of the original, and a wide vocabulary and culture to convey the meaning in a expression in his or her native tongue. Pangeanic is happy to offer such full service to you.