Your business needs to get some corporate materials translated into French, let’s say, and you are tasked with finding out how to get this done. You could ask a French colleague/friend/acquaintance to do it for you or use an online tool. Or you could find a professional translator – but that’s going to mean stumping up the busget to do so. The thing is, you know the documents are important and need to be translated well. So which is the better option?
- Professional translation services are provided by trained linguists
This may seem like an obvious statement, but the importance of trained translators working on your project cannot be emphasized enough. The process of translation is much more technical than one tends to think – it involves not only conveying a message across languages, but choosing exactly the right words, idioms, written and technical formats and cultural references that will make the most sense, and appeal the most to your target audience.
All this must be done while also keeping in mind the proper language to use for legal and ethical purposes when necessary (very important for translations that are destined for a legal audience or that ill be used in regulated industry sectors). An untrained linguist may be able to directly translate your words across different languages; however, relying on him or her to know all the nuances of the culture you’re trying to reach, the technical language you’re trying to use, and any legal requirements concerning your documents may be risky.
Make sure you check the qualifications of the translator you opt to work with as this will serve as a gauge of quality.
- Professional translators are subject matter experts in both your industry and translation
This statement is an extension of the first point – not only are professional translators trained in the use of language, they tend to also be specialised in specific subject matters.
If your company is looking to translate a highly technical report on its research findings in the pharmaceutical sector, you want a translator who is comfortable both with your target language as well as with incorporating your industry terminology and concepts into the translation. Being a regulated industry you will also need a translaotr who is familiar with the legal and ethical codes for this industry.
Similarly if your company is looking to translate and localise its website, requiring work with UI/UX and software, you want a translator who is fluent in your target language, understands your business area, understands the culture of your target audience, and has relevant knowledge regarding design and coding – as all of these elements will factor into your translation.
An untrained linguist may only be able to do a small part of what is required for complex translation projects, and in order to avoid costly mistakes and redrafts in the future, going with professional translation services the first time around is a safer bet.
- Professional translators know how to culturally adapt your language for your target audience
Localisation services are growing in importance as more companies conduct operations overseas, and as more individuals from diverse, multilingual markets look to interact with English-speaking establishments. The cliché of “you only get one chance to make a first impression” is highly relevant to situations in which you are trying to communicate with an audience that not only speaks a different language, but has an entirely different culture.
People look to build trust with brands, companies and individuals before they engage in any interactions with them. With that in mind, it’s easier to persuade an international market to buy your product, form a partnership with businessmen overseas, or provide education on a topic in a different country, if it is presented within the linguistic and cultural context the audience is familiar with and trusts. Professional translators are well versed in the cultural context of the source and target language such that whatever is translated is done so to meet with the expectations of the particular cultures he/she is working with.
- Professional translators are skilled project managers.
It’s difficult to tell to the untrained eye how long a translation project might take. You may be under pressure from your company to get a translation done urgently, yet you mustn’t compromise on quality…
Qualified translators are experts at managing your project end to end so that you know exactly what to expect in terms of delivery deadlines, budget and overall management of the project in hand. Realistic deadlines for delivery are often a challenge for the company requesting the job to set. Professional translators know exactly how to manage their time based on a number of factors: experience (words/pages produced per hour/day, level of linguistic complexity, level of technicality and so on).
The translator will be able to set a realistic deadline for the project and therein, a definable budget, as they are the best judges of the time it will take to produce a high quality piece of work which includes all the research, proof-reading and formatting involved.
Get in touch with Karen at In A Word today.