Language focus | 03.08.2012

Emotional issues can play a part in document translation

You could be forgiven for expecting that document translation is a fairly emotionless process – but despite the need to adhere to the right tone of voice, grammar and spelling of the target language, emotions can still play a role.

New research from the University of California at Berkeley and Bard College, New York, highlights how bilingual people might switch to a preferred language for expressing certain emotions.

For instance, they point out that a Finnish-English speaker will often say “I love you” in English, as such outward expressions of emotion are rarer in the Finnish language.

The study was focused on interactions with children, but could have implications for document translation, and even for specific professional disciplines like medical translation.

“We’re especially excited to see how the implications of emotion-related language switching can be explored beyond the parent-child dyad, for example in marital interactions, or in the context of therapy and other interventions,” says psychological science and report co-author Stephen Chen of UC Berkeley.

As such studies progress, they provide further insight into how less obvious concerns like the expression of emotion can play an important role in medical translation and other professional translation disciplines, in creating a target-language document that is suitable both in its grammar and tone of voice, and in its general reading style to a native speaker.

Source: EurekAlert!


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