A guide to different types of translation

July 11, 2014 by admin

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It is often the case that translating a piece of text from one language to another is never as straightforward as it seems to someone who hasn’t done it before.

As well as being skilled in understanding at least two tongues, the best translators also specialise in a professional sector.

The reason for this is that for those who don’t, understanding industry-specific jargon or the context of their assignment can be a hurdle that is difficult to jump over.

One of the main problems with translating work for an unfamiliar industry is that it can be very challenging to ensure the finished article reads as fluently to an expert as it should. As a result, when choosing the translator who will carry out your assignment, you should always enquire into their background and what expertise and special knowledge they have.

If their specifications fit the criteria required to do a good job, it is only then you should go ahead and let them get started.

So, what are the main types of translations and what do they often entail?

Legal translations

This form of translation is probably the most common form of specialist translation. Obviously, context can be key here when translating a legal document and understanding not only any terminology, but also how the structure of the translation should be laid out on a page is vital.

With this in mind, legal translators will have almost certainly worked in the law sector themselves at some point during their career, which will have allowed them to gain the experience and background knowledge required to adequately carry out such skilled translation work.

Legal assignments typically involve the drawing up of contracts, trademark and patent filings, affidavits, confidentiality agreements, licences, legal disclaimers and arbitration documents.

However, you may also need a legal translator when the document being translated crosses into the criminal or civil justice system, so last wills, immigration documents and insurance policies are just a few examples of what else can fall under this banner.

Financial translation

Just like legal translations, financial assignments require an equally detailed level of background knowledge for the job to be completed to a high-quality standard.

Rosetta Translation Ltd actually started as a financial translation company and to this day we still regularly deal with a range of work from this sector, including asset management, insurance, banking and i-banking.

This area can also be key when operating a business abroad, with annual statements, next year’s forecasts and other similar complex documents all potentially needing to be presented in another language.

As you will no doubt be required to present such details to potential investors or clients occasionally, investing in a financial translator can make a significant difference in the quality of the material you are presenting to possible future partners.

Medical translation  

If ever there was an industry that relies heavily on jargon and specialist knowledge, the pharmaceutical sector is right up there.

Assignments could involve the labelling of new drugs, products or medical devices, while technical and regulatory marketing is also likely to require someone with an in-depth level of background knowledge.

The attention to detail in this field is absolutely critical, as translations that are inaccurate could have significant consequences for the client, not least the possibility of legal action being taken against them and their reputation suffering.

An incorrect translation could quite literally mean the difference between life and death if the subject of the assignment inadvertently gets into the wrong hands, so it is essential that the translator has the medical know-how to be able to identify potential pitfalls as they carry out their work.

Of course, these three types of translations are just a few examples and there are plenty of other sectors that require just as much of an understanding into their context and background. The point is this – you should never underestimate the skill and experience that goes into translation!

Written by Helen Fream

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Andreea Mohan

Taylor Wessing LLP

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American Express

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Maximus Crushing and Screening

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For a company looking into translations, I would highly recommend Rosetta as first pick, as the support and service they provide is first class.

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