Writing in Multiple Languages? Don’t Get Lost in Translation.

This Week In Writing, we explore how translating language can often change the meaning and intent of our writing.

Writing in Multiple Languages? Don’t Get Lost in Translation.
Source: Focus Features

Lost in Translation is one of my favorite films. Starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray, the film explores a young woman adrift and lost while her husband is in Tokyo for business. Throughout the film, she meets a weathered actor who is also drifting through life, lost on the other side of the world. The two help each other grow and reenter the world.

During the film, Bill Murray’s character attends a photoshoot. The photographer speaks in rapid-fire Japanese while the translator conveys a few words at a time. Part of the intended dialogue is lost, and Murray’s character is left with only partial information.

Having visited multiple countries and attempted to communicate in various languages, I know the importance of clarity in communication. When we writers start sharing our work across languages, we must ensure the translation is clear. Otherwise, details, nuance, and intended meaning may get lost.

Do you share work in multiple languages? What have you learned about the translation process? Hit reply and join the conversation.