Never Lost in Burmese translation
Translation into Burmese or from Burmese and other languages such as English and the surrounding Southern Asian languages can be a tough service to locate.
Any language translation service can be found in most large cities, however clear accurate and professional translation can be difficult to source. The term lost in translation is an accurate description of what can happen when the translation is not professionally done. Understanding language does not come down to mere identification of words and preparing them in a foreign language.
Dialects and Nuance
There is so much more to consider. Inflection, cultural nuance and even local dialects and local use of phrase. Something as simple as a local use of phrase can mean two completely different things in different parts of a country. To ensure that you are communicating the correct meaning and intention, you will need to be sure that your translator is competent.
Proper translation can make or break a situation, whether it’s a legal process, medical intervention, documentation or even a tour guide. It is especially important that the correct meaning and not only the exact direct translation is used in situations that include courtrooms and Police Stations. The hilarious translations that come out of automated translation software is an indication of what can be misconstrued and why a translator that has a grasp of both languages at or close to mother tongue level is essential.
The vast cultural differences between European expression and body language that accompanies communication compared to that of Southern Asia is an excellent example of why selecting a translator should be a carefully considered decision.
Burmese and regional language relationships
Burmese, officially known in English as Myanmar language comes from a family of languages called the Sino-Tibetan family and is specifically from the Lolo-Burmese group. While Thai, Lao and Khmer hold a clear close relationship and share a greater vocabulary, Burmese is from a separate family and thus seeking an effective translation will mean more than seeking out a local that has both language groups under the belt. The regions do share a religious heritage in terms of language, so there is indeed an overlap in some vocabulary and of course mannerisms and inflections in communication, but it is important to establish the true skill of your translator before instructing them.
Translation is far more than the ability to exchange vocabulary at a police station either for a victim or someone who has been accused of a crime. Legal translation extends across business contracts too and situations that may involve providing the correct information for immigration officials and documentation.
Some contractors look for regional translators and make the mistake of not identifying correctly the individual translator’s grasp of local dialects. Burmese has several. This can further be impacted by the need to translate not only from common business languages such as English and German, bit also between South East Asian languages such as one of several Khmer dialects to any of the Burmese dialects. This is where there is substantial risk of loss in translation.
Whether translation is required for medical, legal, technical, educational or any other reason both the language to and from the originals and the dialect should be clearly identified to ascertain that a reliable translation will be obtained.
Burmese translation requires multiple skills
Of course, translation also requires the ability to read the relative alphabet correctly and this may require the translator to manage several different alphabets. This is particularly important where a Commercial enterprise may seek translation to and from several local languages all with their own dialects and language rules to a language from an unrelated language group.
Providing translation for video will also mean communicating the cultural nuance, as will transcribing both documents and audio files. When you are looking for a Burmese translator whether it is to or from Burmese, investigate to see if they offer additional services such as website translation, transcription, subtitling and captioning and documentation. A history of this kind of work will indicate whether you have the right translators for the job.
The variety of services available will indicate experience and capacity to deal with the project that you have. When the translator also has the capacity to deal with translating to and from Burmese into multiple other languages, you will know that you have the right person.
Apart from being able to translate from and to Burmese and English, your translator should also be able to provide a service that includes other regional languages such as Khmer, Thai, lao and even Malay and other relate language too.
Services and Client base
When looking for a good translator it is best to have a look at both the services they offer and their client base. A client base can include diplomatic missions, medical evacuation companies, legal practices, contracting specialists, media companies and software developers. The wider the range of the client base, the more likely they are to have the capacity to translate Burmese into other languages accurately, this will also mean the ability to translate to Burmese will be satisfactory. NGOs and other humanitarian related organisations also need the services of reliable and accurate translators and so their appearance on a client list would usually be a good reflection of diverse skill.
Myanmar is a country where translation needs can become complex especially for western clients that do not have a grasp of the political and social relationship structures within the country. A local or regional translator that knows what they are doing is essential. When doing business with someone in Myanmar, have the right documents in all situations will be needed.
Cross translation from and into Burmese
Both oral translation as well as written translation services may be needed across more than one language at a time. In some cases, it may necessary to translate from Burmese into Thai or Khmer and then into English or conversely from English into Khmer or Thai and then into Burmese. This kind of situation occurs with video and audio transcription.
Diplomacy and legal settings
Multiple language skills are also required in diplomatic situations where several representatives from the region and an English translation may be required. When a translation situation like this becomes more complex the professional and competent translator will need to be able to cope. There can also be situations where a translator is required for several languages when a person that speaks Burmese requires translation into Thai, lao or Khmer as well as English. This may happen when an external organisation is involved in a regional agreement or with a regional contract.
A medivac situation may occur where a visitor from the US or Europe needs to be transferred from Myanmar to Cambodia or Thailand for medical reasons. They then require transfer to Europe. Oral translation as well as documentation including all immigration and medical paperwork will need to be carefully managed. Unfortunately, these situations can be an afterthought.
Travel insurance companies often need an honest and accurate translation of documents too and many of these services may overlap. It may be necessary for a medical company to requires the services of a Burmese translator that can also cope with immigration and legal documentation.
This can happen when technical documentation and video requires translation for legal purposes and education translation covers all areas including, business, technical, medical and legal.
Always ask for a breakdown of services, an understanding of dialect and how far the capacity to translate extends. This will determine how your translator will cope with the specific needs you may have.