Imagine a scenario where your company management decides to do a marketing campaign for your most important product in the neighbouring country – next week. You realise that your current sales brochure is available only in your language, so someone must translate it, right now.
How do you solve this task: do you let your colleague, who speaks the language and volunteers to do the translation beside her job (despite being fully occupied), or do you contact a professional translator to do the job?
There are many obvious reasons to choose a professional translator in a case like this but let me pick six reasons why you should do so.
1. Meeting deadlines
You have a set deadline for your sales brochure. By then, it must be ready, not two days later. When a professional translator evaluates the text, he or she can immediately and reliably estimate how long it will take to translate the text, based on content and length. And when you order the translation, you can rest assured that the translator commits to keeping the promised deadline.
An efficient, professional freelance translator is the perfect solution if you need texts translated regularly, especially on short notice, or a tight deadline. In addition, you will save time, get peace of mind, and can sleep well.
I mentioned just efficiency. An experienced translator works significantly quicker compared to a layman. Professional translators have the education, skills and knowledge required for a speedy process. They translate more efficiently by using professional CAT tools (Computer-Aided Translation), professional online dictionaries and having a cultural understanding and ability to evaluate the credibility of online terminology sources.
The translation memory in a CAT tool is incredibly effective and useful when source texts use identical or similar phrases, which is often the case with technical and financial texts, for example. The translation memory also come in handy when updating previously translated documents or making small changes. In such cases, most of the translated text can be reused from the translation memory. Whenever possible, translations are reused to prevent the translator from translating the same content twice – which saves time and is a quality factor.
2. Getting facts correct
For a sales brochure, as in our example case, it is vital to get the facts correct. Most professional translators are specialised in certain areas of expertise, such as technical, financial or medical texts. This ensures they can deal with terminology and other subject matters with greater accuracy than a layman. The translator knows how to search for information and have the tools to verify terms and facts, and will discuss terminology with the customer when needed. Translation software help improve the consistency and quality of the translation by reusing already approved translation segments.
3. Receiving a translation which does not feel like a translation
Particularly selling texts must be fluent and appear as the original text. If you get the feeling that you are reading a translation, the translator has not been very successful, and nor will the text be.
The fact that a person is bilingual and capable of translating words is not a guarantee for getting a professional result. A trained and experienced translator can translate the meaning of the text and also adapt it for the correct context and culture. Otherwise, the text will most probably contain unnatural expressions or clumsy language, hence, the reader will notice it is a translation.
A competent professional translator is trained, experienced and always translates to his or her native language. He or she never translates word by word but instead keeps thinking about how the subject matter in the source text would be expressed in a way characteristic of the target language or culture. Besides, to ensure a high-quality translation, every text is proofread by at least another native speaker.
“exempel på dålig översättning”
4. Trusting that no information is disclosed
Many of the texts to be translated contain confidential information. Therefore, the customer needs to be able to trust that the translator will not disclose any information to a third party.
A professional translator never utilises any information received in connection with a translation assignment for his/her own benefit. It is entirely against ethics. Besides, freelance translators usually sign a non-disclosure agreement, in which they agree to keep information related to their assignments confidential and to ensure data security.
5. Receiving an unambiguous translation
Sometimes the text to be translated is written in such a way that it is possible to interpret it in several different ways. Then the translator must master the source language well enough to achieve a correct and good translation. An experienced translator will look beyond the words to arrive at the correct interpretation. Alternatively, the translator will request additional information or explanations from the customer, and never take the easy way out and only translate word by word. However, it takes a certain level of professional confidence from the translator to question the source text. Still, in these cases, it is the obligation of the professional translator, who always aims to create a better translation than the source text.
6. Getting a linguistic expert to do the job
It is essential for the reader that texts and documents are correct and fluent. Not only the content, but also style, grammar, and spelling should be pleasing.
A translator’s education includes studies in source and target language. This interest and these skills are further enhanced during actual translation work and through experience. For example, a person translating into Swedish should know Swedish grammar and spelling to the last letter. They should also know where to look for information on relevant language issues. The lessons learned in Swedish classes at school are not necessarily enough. The production of, for example, business texts takes quite much more.
Some translators are authorised. An authorised translator is an expert who has the right to carry out official translations of public documents. A certified translation is equivalent in validity to the original document and is used as a tool, for example, in legal proceedings. Read more about Authorised translations.
Conclusion: A professional translator is always the right choice
All in all, I strongly recommend choosing a professional translator when you want a professional result. Being bilingual is obviously not enough, and Google Translate has its flaws.
At Lingvafix, we use trained and experienced translators, and we use CAT software. We translate to our native language, and every translation is proofread by another native colleague or business partner. We know that it is the best way to get translations that are correct both concerning language and culture. Simply, fluent and efficient texts.
We believe there are two essential components when it comes to a good translation:
- language must be correct.
- language must be adapted to the context and reader
The first one is obvious. A text may not contain any spelling errors or other mistakes. The other one is at least as necessary. For words and expressions to have wanted effect, the translator must know exactly which expression is correct and natural in a specific situation. The translation must be adapted to local circumstances, which is called localisation. Later we will cover localisation in another blog post.
What are your experiences with professional translators? What is your top reason for using a professional translator?
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