skip to Main Content
 

A Foreign Language Service

We have your language! Since our founding in 1993, A Foreign Language Service (AFLS) has broken the communications barrier by providing professional interpreters and document translators in over 400 languages including American Sign Language (ASL) - and counting. Our contracted linguistic talent combined with dedicated customer service has made us the premier provider of interpreting, translation, and localization services to the local Metropolitan Phoenix, AZ area and statewide. As the "400 Language People",  we provide exceptional contract services in a variety of languages including those that are rare and emerging.  What sets us apart from similar type of companies is the sheer volume of languages coupled with our unique ability to always customize a communications solution unique to each client! Please use our "Language Search" tool to see if your language is listed or you can view our list of the most commonly requested languages. Whether you are an individual who needs help filling out a government form,  a large hospital requesting an interpreter for a medical exam, or a small business who needs to have marketing materials translated for a multicultural audience, AFLS is there for you.

Browse through our website or give us a call at (480) 813-4242 to let us know how we can help you with your communication needs. Or you can simply contact us via email with any questions that you may have.

 
Request a Quote

Challenges of Idioms and Literal Translation

An idiom, loosely understood as a phrase or expression that has a figurative rather than literal meaning, can pose many challenges when it comes to translation. As a saying understood within a certain demographic group, an idiom can loose vitality and nuance when it is rendered into translated form. An experienced translator understands this particular challenge and works hard to render idioms and related figures of speech in a way that captures both the original expression but also the meaning implied by the words.

Idioms in Cultural Context

Thousands of idioms exist across all languages and people groups, with more than 25,000 idioms occurring in the English language alone. Some idioms, when they were first used, actually had literal meaning. For example, the idiom “barking up the wrong tree”–which means to misunderstand a situation–originally developed in reference to hunting dogs that barked at the wrong tree when pursuing prey. Other idioms reflect a culture’s understanding–or misunderstanding–of a particular topic. The idiom “once in a blue moon,” for example, finds its origins in a misunderstanding of the occurrence and frequency of blue moons, which happen once every three years or so. When used today, the phrase indicates a rare event.

Idioms in Contemporary Translation

Idioms have a unique role in the landscape of a language. Their meaning cannot be derived by merely attempting to add together the meaning of all the words in the phrase. In fact, idioms often defy definition through traditional means. To accurately render an idiom in translation, a translator must have an understanding of the culture and communities in which it occurs, as well as an understanding of the idiom’s implied meaning.


“To accurately render an idiom in translation,

a translator must have an understanding

of the culture and communities in which it occurs,

as well as an understanding of the idiom’s implied meaning.”


This makes idioms difficult to translate, because if translated word-for word, the meaning will not match the original. Idioms have be treated by a translator as units of vocabulary. Only then, can a translator respond effectively to the challenge of rendering an idiom in translation.

If you need a qualified translator who can adeptly handle idioms and all the other words in-between, then we can help! We work with talented, professional translators who are highly experienced in navigating the nuances of languages. Connect with us today for a free quote!

ArabicChinese (Simplified)DutchEnglishFrenchGermanItalianPortugueseRussianSpanish
Back To Top