Monday, August 29, 2011

FAQ for translation buyers

1. What is translation? Is it the same as interpreting?
Translation is converting written texts from one language (source) to another (target). Interpreting is converting spoken language. Both translators & interpreters are language professionals, however the education, training and skills required for each are different, and only few people can offer both services.
2. What constitutes a good translator?
First of all, it’s not a hobby. Not everybody familiar with a foreign language can do it. A good and professional translator needs the following:
• Ability to read and write well in both source and target languages
• Knowledge of and/or experience in the field of the text to be translated
• Extensive knowledge of syntax/grammar/spelling rules in both source and target languages
• At least 3 years’ experience before cooperating with direct clients. Novice translators should work for translation agencies first, where a proofreader will review their work and provide feedback (however, not all translation agencies follow this process).
• References, i.e. translation agencies or direct clients who have cooperated with the translator in the past and can offer feedback as to their cooperation.
• A professional translator either has a strong technical background (e.g. a medical translator might have a medical degree) combined with linguistic experience or has a strong linguistic background (e.g. a degree in Languages or Translation) combined with technical experience (specialization in a specific field of interest).
3. What constitutes a good translation?
• A good translation is easily understood.
• A good translation is fluent and smooth.
• A good translation conveys the meaning of the source text.
• A good translation fits the purpose that it was intended to fit.
4. Is there a difference between technical translation and literary translation?
Of course there is. Most translators can either the one or the other, very few can do both. Literary translation concerns literary works (novels, short stories, plays, poems, etc.), whereas technical translation concerns texts that relate to specialized, technological, or scientific subject areas. Medical, legal, automotive, marketing etc. translators belong to the second category. Source: