Translation fact vs fiction

November 25, 2014 by Alison Tunley

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translation fact vs fiction

You might be surprised to learn a thing or two about the industry we work in. Welcome to Translation Fact vs Fiction!

Translation can’t be that tricky, right? It’s just a case of swapping one word for another and while that might be a bit tedious, that’s all there is to it.

If only that were the case, our jobs would certainly be a lot easier! Translation really isn’t as simple as some people might think.

With this in mind, can you tell which of the following statements are true and which are false when it comes to describing our industry?

  1. Anyone who speaks two languages can translate

As you might have guessed already, this is fiction. While being able to speak at least two tongues is a good place to start in becoming a translator, there is much more to it than just having a talent with languages.

But why is this the case? For a start, there’s the need for technical knowledge and experience that accompanies many assignments. If, for example, you are translating a legal document, you should be aware of what the legal terms mean in both languages.

Context is everything – and if you don’t understand the background of the document, then it can be easy to confuse the message you are trying to translate.

Another point here is that being able to speak the language isn’t enough – you ideally need to have ‘lived’ it. There are so many colloquialisms and nuances that are unique to different cultures that certain phrases can seem like nonsense once they’re translated unless you’ve had the opportunity to experience them first-hand. Again, context is key.

So those are two reasons why you should opt to use a professional translation agency instead of taking advantage of a bilingual member of staff to do this sort of work – check out our white paper for more information on this issue.

  1. Translators spend more time researching than translating

In the early days of their career at least, this can certainly be true!

Using the example of a legal translator again, knowing how to accurately recreate documents like wills, birth certificates, divorce settlements and insurance contracts is a crucial part of the job.

At Rosetta Translation Ltd, our freelancers need to have at least five years’ experience working on or in their specialist sector, but that still doesn’t mean they haven’t stopped learning.

For example, EU legislation is constantly changing and this can sometimes have an impact on our European assignments in particular – so keeping abreast of the latest updates is essential.

According to a recent interview with one of our translators, it’s not uncommon for professionals to spend 75 per cent of their time researching and 25 per cent translating at the start of their careers, although this eventually evens itself out.

  1. Translations services are a luxury, not a necessity

Again, this is definitely a myth!

We’ve already explained why you shouldn’t think that relying on a member of staff who is skilled in languages is a viable substitution for using a fully-accredited agency, but you might now ask why you should pay a premium when you can probably get the job done cheaper by sourcing a freelancer for yourself.

For a start, there’s no guarantee of the standard of the finished document when going down this route. Similarly, there is no way of knowing whether or not your freelancer has an adequate level of experience to be able to translate for your industry.

On the other hand, we source the freelancer and a proofreader, while our own internal quality control department ensures everything is perfect before it comes back to you. If you’re in the early stages of producing the source document, we can even help you write it so it’s easily translatable.

With big business on the line, it makes no sense to take risks in your translation by going for anything other than the best. Contact us today for a free quote and consultation. We are here to help you distinguish between translation fact vs fiction, and make sure you get the best service for your specific needs, at a reasonable rate.

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Andreea Mohan

Taylor Wessing LLP

We are very pleased with the services provided by Rosetta Translations. They always send very prompt responses, transparent prices and deliver their work product at the highest standards.

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Jackie Brook, Sr Product Manager

American Express

Thank you very much for your prompt and efficient service.

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Conor McLarnon

Maximus Crushing and Screening

I have translated multiple projects with Rosetta now and I cannot emphasise how great the service they provide is; quality, turnaround time and pricing is the best I have found yet. The qualities of translations we receive are of the highest standard and communication from the start of a project to the end is consistent.

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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