Elmina Premtić

IMG_0077Pozdrav svima. Which is better strategy, literal or non-literal translation? Do all words or phrases that may exist in one language have an exact equivalent in another? What meanings and messages words or phrases may carry in a cultural context? Are there any difficulties in translating proverbs, jokes, ironic statements, idiomatic expressions? These questions show that translation per se is a complex process. No matter how well we know the language, there are certain aspects that we do not really know about and we often have to ’’scratch beneath the surface’’ and take into account various aspects.

My name is Elmina Premtić. I graduated as an English teacher and afterwards as a translator (Montenegrin into English and vice versa) and I have been working for a law firm in Montenegro since 2010. While translating legal terminology and texts, I have been facing different challenges and obstacles which became easier to handle when I got more familiar with characteristics of Montenegrin legislation, Constitution, different laws, legal system, compared to other legal systems and particularities, as well as its specific terminology. For instance, the source text is structured to follow the legal system that conforms to its own legal language and culture; the target text on the other hand will be read by another person that is familiar with another language and legal system. Therefore, it is essential that a legal translator has a basic understanding of the nature of law and legal language and the impact it has on legal translation. Translating legal documents is more exacting, as the ramifications of even the slightest of mistakes will involve a complex legal process.

Generally speaking, translating represents a very complex task, in which not only language but often a ’’culture’’ has to be translated. It represents transcribing from a source language(s) into a target language(s), but more importantly, it represents interpretation of cultural meaning, cultural or national concepts a specific language carries. Sometimes words or phrases do not have an exact equivalent in another language. Their translation is sometimes difficult and highly problematic. Some words, such as geographical names, are politically loaded and can express perspective and power relations. Not only language competence, but also historical, cultural and societal knowledge about the context in focus can prevent communication problems or loss of information. it’s a life-long process of learning.