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Opinion pieces: should we translate them?

Opiniestukken: Moeten die vertaald worden?
Do you need translation services?
Contact us now to get a quote

Opinion pieces are practically a genre in themselves. They fill the pages of newspapers, blogs, and many websites that use experts to give their opinion on a particular topic. That’s why, when it comes to the most brilliant, witty columnists, these kinds of texts can end up being translated into other languages. This, however, is no easy task. Even though a news item or press release doesn’t require too much consideration when it comes to being translated, opinion pieces do. And there are so many language inflections, changes in tone, and word plays that only a professional can correctly reproduce them in another language. We’ll explain it in detail below.

What characterizes an opinion piece?

This journalistic genre amasses a series of common factors that will help you distinguish these articles and, at the same time, understand why they need to be translated by an expert.

  • The subject matter is especially broad. They are not confined to a particular topic. They might discuss a personal experience, a world event, a feeling, a historical fact, or anything else. This versatility is what makes these kinds of texts so popular among readers. You will often notice, for example, that they represent the feelings of a group of people regarding something that society, in general, is going through at that time.
  • They are tremendously subjective. As their name suggests, the key element is the author’s own opinion. This means that they will not be set out like a scientific theory. Even though the use of arguments is key, often the idea behind the text can be presented with a certain irony, using sarcasm as a tool. That’s why it is all about subjectivity, as you will not find any scientific or objective explanations in them.
  • They are argument-based. In this way, the articles resemble more of a classic philosophical debate. An opinion cannot be upheld simply by adding the author’s name to it – it needs to be justified. This involves feeding an idea with arguments. This could be any kind of argument. They quote both scientific studies and situations from daily life that point to a particular moral.

In short, opinion pieces are ambiguous, volatile, and can be written in many different ways. For this reason, you will see below that a professional translator will be key to transform a text from one language to another.

The importance of a professional translator for these kinds of projects

In case you still have doubts, we reveal some specific reasons that will allow you to understand the importance of a professional translator in these kinds of projects.

Often it is not about the text, but its intention

As we mentioned above, irony or sarcasm are two of the most common resources in opinion pieces, among many. Whether it’s satire or ridicule, in this journalistic genre, the columnist can write with full freedom in whatever style they prefer. The result is that the piece they produce often reflects an idea through the tone, humor and narrative tools used. As such, a professional needs to convey that intention into another language. They can then reflect an exact representation of the ideas and context of the original text.

The tone is enormously important

Unlike other journalistic pieces, such as press releases, an opinion piece usually carries the imprint of each writer’s own style. Translating that tone is particularly difficult, which is why it is always best to leave it in the hands of an expert. It is actually not unlike translating literary texts. A novel requires the translator to understand the author’s style in depth, and also know how to transfer the pace, humor, and atmosphere that they create with words into another language. It is exactly the same in an opinion piece.

The need to correctly adapt expressions

Finally, one characteristic of an opinion piece is that the language may be much more informal and colloquial than other more serious or professional articles. This means that the translator has the difficult task of finding expressions in the target language that are as close as possible to what the author has used. As such, it needs to be someone with an understanding of the native language to take on this task.

We can now answer that, without any doubt, opinion pieces do need to be translated and the task should be handed to an expert in the field. If you want to translate a journalistic article, have no doubt about it – blarlo is the agency that you’re looking for. We offer a high-quality, professional service. Contact us so that we can get to work!

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish) Français (French) Nederlands (Dutch) Deutsch (German)