This is, quite possibly, one of the most important activity one must master. To translate is not to merely convert words or phrases from one language to the other. Translation is much broader than that; it is about perception.
The objective of translation is to attain understanding, and there is a difference between knowing and understanding. You may know what a person is doing, but you may not understand it.
“Where were you?”
“I was on the moon.”
If this reply to the question was given by an astronaut, then people would be congratulating him. If it was given by a person with any other occupation, it is likely to be consider sarcastic and annoying.
The context, the person, the tone, the expression, all these factor into the translation of a message.
We may perform certain actions with a positive intent, with the aim to be polite or helpful. Yet it is extremely necessary to remember one thing. People will not always perceive actions the way you intend them to be to be perceived.
To diminish the possibilities of misinterpretations as much as possible, one must attempt to be cautious of one’s behaviour. The key to a friendly relationship between people is translation; the people are able to understand the message conveyed.
For instance, if I were to walk up to a fat person in a supermarket and say “Hey, you should exercise a bit”, it is extremely likely that s/he would feel insulted. Even if I had intended to encourage him to exercise, the message would not have been interpreted as such.
It is surprising that even when communicating in the same language, so many messages fail to be translated.
Be mindful of what your messages may be perceived as, because even though people you talk to are speaking the same dialect, the do not have the same perception. Understand the perception of the people you communicate with, and use that to translate your messages into something they understand.