Key Advantages of Professional Translation

This is the summary of an excellent article by English to Swedish translator Tess
Whitty she had written on the key
advantages professional translators offer their clients. Tess is a
member of the Swedish Association for Professional Translators and the American Translators Association,
where she serves on the committee in charge of setting up the ATA
certification program for English into Swedish translators. She also has
a well-respected blog about the language industry. The original post can be found here.
A professional translator has thorough knowledge of both the source
and target languages and the cultures involved. Professional translators
are also business people who are well-versed in communication, service
and business practices.
1. It’s not just words
Translators must bridge linguistic and cultural gaps between two groups
who do not speak the same language. This means translating concepts,
instead of providing a literal word-for-word rendition. Incorrect
translations (by accident or due to lack of knowledge) can threaten
costly international business ventures.
2. Computers can read, but they just don’t get it
Regardless of advances in technology, computers cannot replace
translators. Computers are indeed capable of compiling extremely large
databases and providing a translation for a given word or expression
within a split second. However, computers cannot read between the lines
and interpret shades of meaning. They are also not very well versed in
cultural nuances, grammar and idioms.
3. Research is key
A single word can mean many different things, depending on context.
Knowledge comes with experience and being familiar with a given field is
of utmost importance. Using the services of a translator with a strong
background in a specific area leads to successful communication in that
particular field on an international level.
4. Who’s your audience?
Professional translators are focused on a specific target audience and
know to whom the translation is intended, and how to best reach those
particular readers. This is key for businesses that use translations to
reach end users of their products.
5. Low-quality translation has hidden costs
Translation errors compromise safety, intellectual property, and a
company’s image, in addition to the bottom line. Hiring a professional
translator helps companies keep their reputation in tact with global
customers by avoiding cultural and linguist blunders. A professionally
prepared translation means quality and accountability.
6. Professional translators provide subject matter expertise
Professional translators specialize in given subject areas and can
provide in-depth expertise even outside the actual task of translation.
For example, a translator who specializes in software translation often
also knows a lot about software development, character limitations,
internationalization issues, and the types of conventions, content or
terminology that work best in the target language, even if this differs
from the original source text.

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