The world has become increasingly connected thanks to modern transportation services such as air travel, and the adoption of technologies like the Internet. This has created the need for frequent communication among individuals or institutions that speak different languages. As a result, translation services have experienced an increase in demand, becoming a key element of communication in the globalized world.
When hiring a provider of translation services, there are many aspects to consider in order to achieve the best result possible. It is very important to consider the specific translation needs of each document before deciding among the multiple language services available.
Although automatic translation offers speed and low cost, the end result is unable to match the product of a professional translation service. An automatic translation software is unable to grasp cultural aspects of language and technical terminology with the same effectiveness as a qualified human translator.
Importance of the Translator’s Native Language and Location
When a translation service is carried out, the result is typically improved if the translator is a native speaker of the target language, more so if the translator is also from the same country or region where the audience is located. This offers many advantages:
- A native speaker will be aware of regional variations of language, and will be able to write the translated document accordingly. For instance, a document that must be translated to Spanish should be tailored differently for audiences located in Spain and Mexico. Both audiences speak Spanish, but regional variations are considerable.
- The emotional and contextual implications of language can be grasped more effectively by a native speaker. The words that are considered formal, colloquial or even inappropriate vary considerably by country.
- The time required for the translation service can be reduced considerably, since a native speaker is able to write naturally for the target audience.
The result of these factors is that the intended message of the document will be communicated more effectively if the translator is a native speaker of the target language, or someone who has achieved native-like fluency. For the reader, the flow of the document will be as natural as an everyday conversation.
Of course, it is also important for the translator to possess fluency in the source language. Before being able to communicate effectively, it is important to understand exactly what must be communicated.
Translation Services for Specific Professional Fields
In addition to the cultural background of the translator, it also important to consider if expertise in a professional field is required. Some translation types that demand such expertise are the following:
- Technical Translation – This includes instruction manuals, technical specifications, scientific or engineering articles for journals, engineering textbooks, and similar documents. Ideally, these types of documents should be translated by a bilingual individual who is also a professional of the respective technical field.
- Medical Translation – This area includes documents such as the medical history of a patient or medical school textbooks. Translation of these documents should be carried out by a medical professional, given the fact that human health is at stake.
- Legal Translation – Documents such as contracts, birth certificates and marriage certificates should ideally be translated by a lawyer who is not only bilingual, but also familiarized with legal practices in both countries involved.
Documentation that is specific to professional fields should be translated by bilingual professionals of the respective field, since it is necessary to understand specialized concepts in addition to having command of both languages involved. Some of these documents may also be subject to international standards that must be taken into account.