Last updated on April 22nd, 2020 at 11:51 am
What is life as a translator? What’s it like to do the work that they do, and what are some of the things they come across on a daily basis? What is critical in producing translation services? We interviewed a number of our translators, and this is what they told us.
As is true for many professions, someone from the outside looking in may have a hard time understanding the profession or forming an accurate mental picture of it. There is much we do not see, and translation and interpretation services are great examples of this. So much effort, research, and work are done that does not show in the finished product, and even before a professional translator can translate their first piece comes education and preparation. Translation is an art, the translated content as the original piece must be conveyed flawlessly. This can be for something as simple as marketing brochure to translating a complex website or Harry Potter novels.
A professional translator must be well versed in their specialty or area of expertise. Most language services professionals work with a variety of subjects and industries, which is generally suitable. However, for industries such as medicine or law, you need an industry expert and we do have translators on our team that are doctors and lawyers and can provide expert translations. We also have translators who are experts in other fields such as engineering and marketing having had professional experience in the fields. For our clients, JR Language will only use industry professionals, and our network extends all over the world so we can access the best any time they are needed.
Professional translators must be able to deal with important information and sensitive material. Medical and legal terminology have no margin for error, government work is often classified, and they may have to translate sensitive or unpleasant topics. Translators must do so with no bias, no changes to the meaning, and no dilution of the content. Confidentiality is key, that is why every member of our team, project manager, translators, linguists has signed a confidentiality agreement.
A pro translator must be culturally competent. While translators do not change the message or meaning, translated material must be understood by the reader. A pun that one culture appreciates might be nonsensical to another, or the color of a logo may be a hit in one nation and bad taste in another. Professional translators spend a lot of time studying the culture around a language, grammar, and vocabulary.
Translators don’t just open a Word doc and start translating. For their work, translators spend a lot of time:
After setting up the process, a language professional can now begin translating the material. While creating the translation, the translator must be aware of:
Like any highly skilled professional, translators encounter unique challenges along the way, like:
There are no languages that match each other perfectly. Translating is not a word-to-word conversion. Language is as complex as the ideas it represents, and languages grow and morph over time and some terms become obsolete and new terms are added to the language. Languages are alive and translators need to stay current.
There are many benefits of being a translator that make a rewarding career:
Professional Translators are not just people who speak more than one language. Here are some misconceptions about what translators do:
Everyday translators and interpreters change history in large and small ways and have been a powerful but unseen and often unnoticed force in history. Without professional translation services:
Translators can produce a greater volume of translated material per day than ever before. Machine translation AI will continue getting “smarter” as translators continue to work with the software and build translation memory, but computers still cannot account for culture, advanced nuance, or places where there is no equivalent word or phrase. The pace at which content is uploaded to the Internet and the fact that the majority of the Internet’s users speak a language other than English and prefer to use websites in that language make translators a great necessity in global communication. As the world becomes smaller and we talk to each other more, our translation company anticipates that language services and multilingual content will only become more important in the years ahead.