We are living in a period of great challenges. These concern different fields and are interconnected with an ever-changing way of communicating.
For centuries, man has resorted to different means and chief among these, in the ‘modern age’, is the telephone.
Although a prototype of the telephone was invented in the second half of the nineteenth century, it only experienced a boom a century later, and has since become an essential household item. It made oral conversations possible over long distances, an extraordinary achievement at the time. However, only few decades later, it was overtaken by the mobile phone, another historical invention which would carry a new type of communication with it: the SMS. The acronym, which stands for ‘Short Message Service’, became linked to a wider phenomenon that, starting from the seventies with electronic mail, developed further and in different forms. These include other tools to communicate with, namely what is now known as Instant Messaging Technology (IMT). This phenomenon has not only experienced a rapid evolution, but it’s also been characterized by massive spread, to such an extent that written communication is now far more important than any oral forms, particularly in some environments. It is nowadays more commonly used than oral communication, also due to the fact that it has spread, in particular, within the digital realm – a vast area, ranging from websites to advertisements, blogs, e-news, chats, and more.
In a globalized context, in which we are living, which carries out centripetal forces in an effort to centralize remote realities by closing the distances between them, the aim is to standardise languages, information, procedures, and even cultures into the mainstream. However, market, business and cultural exchange involves countries with different bureaucracies. Coping with all of them corresponds to a shared management of global or more local issues of any nature, which means handling players that are, in fact, diverse and unique. Bearing in mind the importance of reaching the expected goal, along with the importance of ensuring an effective and comprehensible communication for all parties, it is fundamental to approach each of them according to their linguistic and cultural values. This is important not only to reach the expected outcome, but also in the case of common solutions to achieve and manage.
Effective and correct communication is essential in order to discourage so called ‘fake news’, but also news that is manipulated. It is also compulsory when dealing with business agreements and contracts, so that contractual terms are not misinterpreted, nor unclear. Moreover, in a digital era where ‘writing’ often goes hand-in-hand with ‘sharing’ and, in spite of privacy policies, the written word is frequently in the public domain, it is important that the correct terminology is used. The public audience has become larger, even universal, and every term is valued, so it must be carefully considered. When translating to another language then, it is equally important that the translation is not improvised, but rather accurate and inclusive of what the original message is. In such cases, ‘accuracy’ also has to do with reputation, liability and reliability.
An interesting article, a little dated but undoubtedly still relevant, highlights the positive effects that good translation of a website or some brochures has on potential foreign clients. The author also shows how missing or poor translation can be damaging for businesses that want to earn a place in the international environment; it focuses on how
accurately translated messages can build trust in business relationships
and on how effective communication can make your business more competitive. Effective communication is about language that is employed in a natural way, for a specific purpose, according to the rules of the intended recipient’s culture. It means that just knowledge of the foreign language is not sufficient in this case; rather, it is fundamental to master this knowledge.
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