"Lo bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno"
Which is the most suitable translation of this Spanish literary quote?:
"What is good, if brief, is two times as good"
"Brevity is the soul of wit"
The second one sounds better, doesn't it, even though the first is literally more "accurate" (click for more examples of quotes and sayings). That's what editorial translation is all about. It is not a question of replacing words in one language with words in another, but of translating ideas and adapting them to the cultural background of the reader.
To translate it is not enough to know a language. It requires a professional with a thorough knowledge about how language works, a writer with creative flair and a readable style.
True, not everybody requires this level of translation. For simple translations there are even computer programs which will automatically render text in the language of your choice, and they're getting better all the time. Some are even available for free. But use these programs carefully. They cannot be fully trusted, any more than you would blindly rely on a computer's spell checker. Revise the resulting text meticulously. If you don't think that's necessary, just try running our selected Spanish proverbs through a translating program.
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