Dari to English Translation Challenges

Dari to English Translation Challenges
on December 1, 2016 No Comments

In this post we will address the issues of Dari to English translation. Dari is a complicated language with its own nuances and structural features. The Dari translation community has made significant strides over the past two decades in establishing the necessary resources to deliver a pretty good meaning from foreign languages, however, translating from Dari into English remains an issue that deserves more attention than it has received.

Why Dari to English Translation Is Not Easy?

There is definitely a gap in the number of resources that specialize in delivering Dari to English translation with native fluency. The Afghan diaspora in the west, like other diaspora communities, suffers from a generational problem. The first generation Afghan immigrants are predominantly native in Dari or Pashto languages with some fluency in English. On the other hand, the new generation of Afghans that are born and/or raised in the west have mastered English or their local language but Dari or Pashto languages, although spoken at home, is quite foreign to them.  Most of today’s Dari to English translators come from one of the two segments described here. It is not uncommon to see somewhat lower performance and quality when it comes to translation from Dari to English direction.

How Does This Problem Manifest Itself?

In fairness, most of the attempted translations have undergone significant amount of checking and scrutiny by the translators themselves as well as independent editors. But the end-result normally remains sub-par, compared to other language pairs. The translated document may be legible, but may not read fluently, may lack coherence or worst may not deliver the intended meaning. This results in a number of issues, from confusion and misunderstanding by the end-users to catastrophic situations.

It is not hard to spot a poorly translated Dari text into English. The English text may not reflect proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and more than often reads verbatim or word for word as the text appeared in the Dari source. Like translation of text into any other, a certain level of artistry is required on the part of the translator to make the translated piece  original and native sounding. This authenticity may not be reflected in content poorly translated from Dari to English.

How Do You Get Great Dari to English Translation?

That’s a tricky question. There are some very good linguists with native level fluency in both English and Dari languages, but they are very few and in between. Identifying them is not easy and takes some creativity. Sometimes samples make great impressions for Dari to English translation, but during the course of the project things may start going south.

The easiest way to assure that your translated text conforms to your needs, your industry’s requirements and government regulation, is to partner with a firm that specializes in translation and localization of Dari language. You may also want to make sure that such a partner has experience in the industry, can produce references and examples of their past work, provide information about their resources and their qualification process, has received seal of approval through a standard body such as ISO 17100 and has an insurance company to back them up in the event of any quality issues.

Working with a specialized firm also gives you the added benefit that every translated piece of content has been QA checked by the original translator, an independent editor or reviewer and proofread separately, meaning there was consensus between several experts in producing the final translation. Working with an individual does not provide that assurance neither does it realistically compare to a translated text delivered through multiple QA process implementation.

Where to Go From Here?

If you are in the market and looking to get your documents or content translated into English from Dari language, you have to continue doing your research and due diligence before signing up a supplier. While the market is flooded with Dari linguists, including linguists that provided verbal interpreting support to foreign forces in Afghanistan, there are few very well-trained and professional linguists. If hiring an individual linguist, at least perform a test translation, request for past translation samples and depending on their jurisdiction, have them sign an NDA to establish confidentiality.

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