Important things about a good translator

Published: 07th June 2011
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WHAT CAN A PROFESSIONAL TRANSLATOR DO FOR YOU?

- Give you access to documents written in a language you don't understand

- Enable you to communicate your views in another language

- Enhance the image of your company or organization by producing a professional document that is accurate and uses a style and terminology that are consistent and appropriate for your target audience

- Save you money by reducing the number of errors in your documents and eliminating delays and the need for expensive patch-up jobs later

- Save you the worry and problems that arise from working with amateurs

- Save you from possible embarrassment by pointing out any problems in cross-cultural communication.

If you care about the quality of the end product, it is essential to use a professional translator rather than somebody who simply has a knowledge of two languages.

WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF A GOOD TRANSLATOR?

- A sophisticated understanding of the foreign language

- An understanding of the topic being translated

- An ability to transfer ideas expressed in one language into an equally meaningful form in the other language

- Broad general knowledge

- A sound knowledge of the two cultures involved

- Mental agility

- Sensitivity and attention to detail

- An understanding of specialized terminology in the field of the translation and a willingness to do further research if necessary

- An above-average capacity to write well in the target language (the language in which the translation is written), using language appropriate for the topic and readership

- Training or experience.

Translation is more than just a mechanical exercise in looking up words in a dictionary and substituting the grammatical constructions of one language for those of another. Often there is no one-to-one equivalence between words in different languages - for instance, a particular word might have different emotional connotations in the other language. A professional translator will be aware of these potential difficulties and know how to cope with them.

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD TRANSLATION?

Accuracy, logic and clarity in expression are key characteristics of a good translation , along with an appropriate tone and level of language (e.g., level of formality or technicality). On-time delivery is also essential. Above all, a translation must fulfill the function you require of it. With a translation for use in court, accuracy will be of paramount importance, even if the translation reads somewhat awkwardly, whereas with texts for publication it is vital that the translation reads smoothly. Tell the translator about your needs, what and who the translation is for, and what you expect the final product to look like. This won't take a minute, but could save you a great deal of money and frustration and will help ensure a good translation.


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