Sinhala is one ancient language also known as Sinhalese, it comes from the Indo-Aryan family. This is primarily spoken by the people of Sri Lanka. They make up the largest group of the island, as much as 16 million. This also happens to be the first language of many other groups in Sri Lanka. Sinhala is accredited to be an important language which played a vital part in the development of Theravada Buddhist literature. It is relatively a complex language. Understanding it and its cultural nuances is quite a task. The cultural nuances are important to consider while translating the content to or from Sinhala and other languages.
Sinhala translation can be convenient if the translators are native speakers of the language. Every language has its certain cultural nuances and Sinhala is no different. To achieve accurate, authentic, and impactful translation it is significant to consider the important factors. Moreover, as the experts advise, it is also recommended to consider only local translators so that they can integrate the cultural nuances in translation in the most appropriate manner. Sinhala is an important language with a rich historical background. It has a lot to offer as a language. There are proverbs., idioms and phrases as well as genders and honorifics.
Here are a few factors that can help with a better understanding of the Sinhala language and its nuances further bringing improvement in the Sinhala translation.
Formal vs. informal use
Like other languages, Sinhala also has distinct formal and informal registers. This may depend on the context and audiences as well. You should identify the appropriate register for your project and the nature of the translation. Businesses could require translation for business documents, casual social media content, or legal translation. Therefore, a proper contextual understanding can help with better comprehension and translation accordingly.
Religious and historical sensitivity
Every language represents its traditions, culture, and religion as well. There are sensitivities associated with religious and political affiliations. Therefore, while translating, make sure that you are mindful of the religious terms and their significance in the Sinhala language. Also, the references and figures should be put accordingly. Make sure that you have experts on board if you need to translate religious or historical text and documents.
Proverbs and idioms
Sinhala is also a rich language when it comes to proverbs, idioms, and wordplay. These have a distinct significance and don’t have the literal translation. The Sinhalese and colloquial expressions have an open and wide use. They do that to communicate figuratively with any developed language. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the problems and cultural nuances and look for alternatives that can convey the intended message. Many times even experienced translators fail to deal with the alternative translation properly.
Humor and sarcasm
Humor and sarcasm are an integral part of every language and its cultural nuances. Be it Sinhala or Hindi or other Indo-Aryan languages of different families. Humor and sarcasm require proper translation in a way that is equally funny to read in the intended language too. A literal translation of jokes is an insult of humor. The fun part goes missing in the literal translation. It is also imperative to seek the translation services of the local company. If a Hindi translation company is the foremost choice of the businesses that need to translate in Hindi, a Sinhalese translation vendor should be hired for the translation of Sinhala.
Gender and honorifics
It has three genders including masculine, feminine, and neuter. The Sinhalese language is quite rich in honorifics. It has a huge collection of honorifics. These are vital to reflect the speaker’s relationship with the subject and object of the sentence. They mostly use it in the literary language. The use of honorifics is limited now for the use of formal occasions. There is the use of different pronouns and honorifics based on gender, social status, and age. It is imperative to use the appropriate terms to avoid the element of disrespect.
Research and context
Other than the language-based cultural nuances, it is also important that translators have a cultural understanding of the Sinhala language and its link to other languages if needed. Sinhala and Hindi, for instance, share a long history. A Hindi translation company can also help with the Sinhala translation. However, certain factors may vary. The translators should conduct thorough research on the subject matter and intended audiences. This is extremely crucial to grasp the cultural nuances that are relevant to the project.
Glossary and style guide
Working on a glossary and style guide in advance can also help translators navigate the challenges of translating the Sinhalese cultural nuances. This can help the translators to use and quote where necessary. Make sure that you develop the key terms and phrases that you use more frequently. These should have a standard simplified deification with cultural connotations. This can save you as a business from many hassles also establishing a style guide helps immensely with the consistency and accuracy of the translation process.
Sinhala and Hindi are two important Indo-Aryan languages. The translation process must be carried out in a way that takes care of the cultural nuances of each language. For Sinhalese, for instance, it is important to consider its formal and informal use, religious and political factors, proverbs and idioms, humor and sarcasm as well as gender and honorifics.