This Question Came to My Inbox: As a Speaker of Multiple Languages, Can You Share an Instance Where the Professional Translator Was Inaccurate?

The most inaccurate translations I have seen on the television are the Korean subtitles when they play an English movie. If they don’t know what the person is saying, they just make something up. Often in Korea, the subtitles are a completely different story than what the people are actually saying. Many Korean translators rewrite the stories rather than translate, but everyone thinks they are translating. There is a huge gap between Korean and English. However, many Koreans try to learn English, but not all of them can do what they want to do, and the Koreans who speak English well even see the stories they make up in the subtitles on TV and laugh.

I know Koreans who speak English extremely well, and when they see those subtitles, they laugh at them. I used to try to learn to speak Korean from watching subtitles, but they were just too different. Sometimes, I could, they were always so inaccurate! Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com
When Romanians speak English, they come across as real scholars because they know all our most complicated words because our complicated words came from Latin. Photo by Davis Sanchez on Pexels.com

When I was in Romania, the Romanians are much better with the subtitles. Reading the Romanian subtitles on English shows is one way I learned to speak Romanian. However, even though the Romanians are extremely good with language, they can’t do it all. On TV, they usually can. However, the other translators often drive me crazy because they are pushing themselves as translators, and they are, no doubt, good at English, but they don’t always know the special phrases in English or cultural things that English speakers say, and they have a tendency to make things up at that point. You see, a lot of English came from Latin, and that makes English easy for the Romanians, but all of them are not as good as they think they are even though the Romanians have a wonderful talent for language. When they speak English, they sound very intelligent because they have learned the words in English that have come from Latin because they are easier for them, but if you begin using a less elevated speech with smaller words, they get in trouble. I am talking about the general population of Romania who seem to be so good with English and want to push themselves as translators. I have a lot of respect for their professional translators.

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