Certified Academic Document Translations
Academic document translation services. Well, that should be pretty straightforward, should it not?
Certified translations of academic transcripts, report cards, diplomas, degree certificates, theses and dissertations, and course descriptions must be accurate. That’s the rule, right?
You’d be surprised!
First, there’s the story of St. Jerome of Dalmatia, often known as the patron saint of translators.
Born in the 4th Century AD, St. Jerome grew up to famously study Hebrew for the purpose of translating the Old Testament into Latin from the original, an academic exercise if there ever was one.
It’s important to understand that the conventional translations of the time were performed from third-century Greek instead. This is important because it illustrates how easy it was for other scholars from St. Jerome’s time and afterward.
This enabled numerous scholars to catch a rather glaring mistake that St. Jerome very famously made.
When Moses descended from Mount Sinai, the original text describes how his head was surrounded by a “radiance”. In Hebrew, the word is “karan”. Sadly for St. Jerome, Hebrew is written without vowels, and he mistook the word “keren” for “karan”. “Keren” means “horned”. So in St. Jerome’s translation, he believed that the original Hebrew word indicated that Moses was a “horned” when he descended from Mt. Sinai.
It’s a gruesome tale, but once again it illustrates just how important it is to have a professional, certified translator on your side.
You would be amazed how often amateur translators embellish on what they find in the original text in order to explain it in another language. It happens a lot because of the differences in the way that languages are organized. Even the Romance languages, which are very similar to one another, can have major differences in the way that common thoughts get expressed. The problem becomes exacerbated the further apart that the cultures behind the languages are.
The correct approach is to translate only what’s in front of you, while paying extra careful attention to how the translation could be misinterpreted. The ideal solution in such cases of potential mistranslation is work hard to find an equivalent word in the other language that reflects all of the meaning of the original.
For this reason, academic translation services are more of an art than a science. A good translator knows how to think from the point of view of both the speaker of the first language and of the reader of the second language.
Keep that in mind the next time you need to obtain certified academic translation services.