February 2020

Subtleties of Translation

February 22, 2020

What Makes Great Translation?Why is great translation so hard?Anyone bilingual can transcribe a basic sentence in a different language: “It’s Monday,” “The sun rises in the east,” “I’m hungry,” etc. But complex sentences are different.There is a trick to language. On the one hand, language is a means of communicating information, which is why a basic list of phrases is good enough for a holiday. On the other, language also evolves alongside the people shaping it. Language is informed by culture, context, and history. Understanding a language is understanding a different way of thinking. Language is a Culture Arabic, a poetic...

5 Arabic Terms Without English Equivalents

February 22, 2020

As we touched on in a previous post, language is inextricably linked to culture, and some experiences are untranslatable. It’s a common theme in diasporic Arabic literature, actually: because Arabic and English are so different, many daily Arabic terms simply don’t have English equivalents (and vice versa). In this blog post, we’ll list five Arabic terms which crop-up frequently and explain why they’re difficult to translate. As an added bonus, we won’t include terms like yallah—terms that have multiple meanings that can be translated easily into English. 5. Arabic has different names for different family members In English, you have aunts, uncles,...

How Translation Mistakes Meant War and Berries—Part 2/2

February 22, 2020

In the first part of this post , we discussed some rather serious translation errors. In part two, the consequences become more serious. How? Let’s find out. A Nuanced Mistranslation Dropped a Nuclear Bomb on Japan Translation between diplomats is a high-level job, and never more important than during war. Japan was in a bad place in 1945; World War II had incinerated the country, and it was logistically unable to continue fighting. Allied Forces thereby put forward the Potsdam Declaration to both the government and country, which demanded Japan accept its terms of surrender or face “prompt and utter destruction.”...

Small Translation Have Big Consequences—Part 1/2

February 22, 2020

Everybody makes mistakes, including translators. But while some translation mistakes only shed linguistic subtleties, others can be much more consequential. Sometimes these consequences can be serious; at others, these translation mistakes result in something delightful. 06. Bad Translation Gave the Prophet Moses Horns This is perhaps the most famous mistranslation in history. If you’ve ever been to Rome, you may have come across Michelangelo’s statue Moses, which adorns the tomb of Pope Julius II. Though beautiful, it has a puzzling detail:Moses has devil’s horns on his head, a detail somehow neglected in most Abrahamic religious texts.This is because of St. Jerome,...

Visual Design Complements the Text

February 22, 2020

Gibran provides translation and localization services, and we create content. But what would these be without a great design and proper formatting to go with them? It’s all about eye candy—good design and good copy good content make. Our job is to redesign and reformat content—whether it’s content we’ve created or only translated—to be visually pleasing and cohesive, engaging your customers. This means designing brochures, booklets, presentations, social media content, and documents, setting everything in a format that matches the nature of the language displayed—whether that’s Arabic, English, another language, or a combination of these. Why wait? Let the...

Data Entry? Transcription? Gibran Will Type it Up

February 22, 2020

Every organization eventually hits that most dreaded of tasks: data-entry. What most find tedious and time-consuming, we find important. Hand these responsibilities to us and you no longer have to worry about delegating precious work time to transcribing content or typing up paperwork. Gibran can free you up to do the more exciting parts of work; we take your videos and audio files and give you searchable, indexable information and text. We could even translate it. Why wait? Get started on those files now.

Why You Should Never Use Google Translate

February 22, 2020

Translation is an art and takes years to perfect. It needs a keen understanding of at least two languages, cultures, and modes of thinking; to interpret a work and translate it correctly, you have to understand dynamic, flow, and nuances of language like puns, allusions, and references. Quality translation is difficult, which is why it’s a profession. It’s not something a machine can replicate. But that hasn’t stopped people from trying. Here are three key reasons why you should never use Google Translate. 1. Google Translate doesn’t know culture If you read a lot of translation, you’ll eventually come across something like this:...

What’s Scarier Than a Typo? Nothing. That’s Why Gibran Edits and Proofreads

February 22, 2020

Translation isn’t easy, and mistranslation can often lead to disaster. That’s why, at Gibran, whether we are creating content, transcribing and entering data, or translating and localizing content for accuracy, we carefully and thoroughly edit and proofread edit the text to make sure it’s error-free. This applies to financial, technical, legal, and creative text. More importantly, our proofreading and editing process checks for tone, flow, and soundness of copy. If you’re worried about work you need vetted and fixed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Gibran now.

At Gibran, We Create Content

February 22, 2020

The world is connected more than ever, and content matters. In addition to translating our clients’ works, we create content for them, too. This includes writing text, fashioning designs and visual aids , localizing the content for verisimilitude, and then editing and proofreading . To do this, Gibran employs a staff of communications professionals, writers, and subject matter-specialists to research your needs and business functions and create the kind of interesting content you want your customers to consume. Of course, we can then translate it, if needed—that means technical translation, financial translation, legal, or creative. Content matters,...

Arabization, Translation, Localization: What Can Gibran do for You?

February 22, 2020

Half the art of translation is in maintaining nuance; an illustrative idiom in one language can be completely meaningless in another. English speakers suggest you “bite the bullet” to get something over with, but that doesn’t translate into other languages. Arabic speakers sarcastically ask if someone has a “feather on their head” that makes them think they’re special. So simply translating Arabic text into English or English text into Arabic doesn’t cut it; the words need to be given the appropriate cultural framework to retain meaning. This is all about nuance, which is where Gibran comes in. We work...

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