5 basic things a client needs to know in order to work with professional translators

It is a well-known fact that companies these days are expanding and crossing international borders more than ever. It goes without saying that translation is a key part of this process, and not one to be underestimated. Many companies may not have worked with professional translators before, and are therefore unfamiliar with the profession and the process and norms of the trade. There are definitely a lot of urban myths that could be cleared up about professional translation, and here you can read about 5 basic things a client needs to know in order to work with professional translators.

1. The first thing the client must know is that professional translators are native speakers of the language they translate into, and not the other way round. This is because, as you probably know, languages do not translate word for word, therefore a somewhat creative process is required of the translator. An innate ear for grammatical accuracy, the appropriate use of lexicon and register in different contexts, and the ability to manipulate and adapt a language in order to make it ‘sound natural’ and still successfully render the original language requires a profound dominance and knowledge of the language, one that can only be possessed by a native speaker. Remember that professional translators will also be students of literature, philology and language-based degrees, therefore they will be well read and highly linguistically competent in their own native languages as well.



2. In professional translation, all translations are proof-read. They are proof-read by a native translator, for the same reasons, and it is done for the simple purpose of quality control. Translators, at the end of the day, are humans, and they may make mistakes. Just as any book or article goes through an editing process before it is published, so does a translation. A proof-reading, however, not only revises the style and accuracy, but also checks the translation against the original, in order to ensure the content of the original text has been accurately translated.

3. Whilst translators are professionals in their area, being linguists and writers, this does not necessarily mean they are experts in the subject matter of the text the client has assigned them. Professional translators are highly skilled in researching terminology and new concepts, and will be very thorough with their research. The client should, therefore, be ready to answer any questions the translator may have – they are making sure they are providing the best possible service and product.

4. Having said that, many translators specialise in specific subject areas, perhaps after years of experience, or they may even have a second qualification in that field. Specialist translation areas may include medicine, engineering, law, economics, banking etc. If the client needs a translation for an extremely technical, specialist document, they may want to consider hiring a translator that specialises in that field. What’s more, some processes require what is known as a sworn translation. A sworn translation is carried out by a sworn translator, a translator who has passed a state exam and has subsequently been authorised to legally validate a translation. A sworn translation always has a specific format, is signed and sealed by a sworn translator and therefore handed over in hard copy. This type of translation is often required when presenting official documents to administrative bodies and for legal processes, so the client must be aware of this.

5. There is also a difference between translation and interpretation that, surprisingly, some people are not aware of. The fundamental difference is that interpretation is only oral and translation is only written. Whilst both essentially transfer information from one language to another, the process and norms are very different. There are also many different types of interpreting, and they are used for different functions, and it is important to know which is appropriate and to bear in mind that interpretation can significantly extend the length of the event!

It is also important to know that unlike translation, the interpreter works into both languages, meaning their level of fluency must be very advanced in both languages. It is not enough, though, to simply be fluent in two languages! Interpretation is an extremely complex and cognitively challenging process, and requires a lot of training and practice. If you don’t believe me, the next time you watch the news, have a go at repeating everything the presenter is saying in another language!

If you need these services, it is always good to be informed, and to always rely on professional translators. At LexGo Translations we can ensure you a top quality, professional, accurate translation. Just get in touch with us at proyectos@lexgotranslations.com and we can send you a quote!

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