Don’t write with a broken pencil, it is pointless
I’m glad I know sign language; it’s pretty handy.
Whiteboards are remarkable.
I am so poor I can’t even pay attention.
I used to be a banker, but I lost interest.
Claustrophobic people are more productive thinking out of the box.
Could you explain the meaning of the above sayings to someone who does not speak English? You would realize rather quickly that translating the phrases, word for word, would do little to convey the humorous intention.
Everyone enjoys a good laugh, but how does humor translate from language to language? Though humor is universal, what makes something funny is most often culture-specific. So, how does a translator convey humor when translating puns or jokes into a different language, without the punchline being lost in translation? One way of achieving this is through a technique called localization.
Translators of humor are tasked with using language creatively, of thinking outside the box to successfully bridge the cultural and linguistic gaps so that a joke does not lose its humor during the translation process. Localization is less about word for word translation, and more about having a socio-cultural understanding of the local audience. It adapts the message in a way that makes sense to the target demographic by taking local dialects and cultural practices into consideration. Localization is a step in the translation process that acknowledges cultural barriers and seeks to overcome them in a respectful, sensible manner.