Professional Translation Services – Common Misconceptions
It is very common for people who are not closely involved in professional translation services to believe that translating from one language to another is a straightforward and simple endeavor. Any bilingual or multi-lingual individual can do it – seem to be the most obvious and most common misconception. The truth is that the process of translating from one language to another as a professional activity is in fact a very serious business that should be approached with the upmost professionalism in order to execute each translation task in a correct and professional manner.
In order to become a professional language translator one needs a lot more than just familiarity with foreign languages. Command of a foreign language does not qualify anyone to undertake translation work any more than being a fast runner makes somebody a good candidate for an Olympic marathon.
To be considered a translator requires in-depth understanding and knowledge of at least two languages. Translating is an acquired skill. Professional translators need formal training to be able to write well and understand the subtleties of language use. Language is a cultural construct and if the professional translator fails to appreciate the culture context underneath a given language it is almost impossible to generate an accurate professional translation.
Professional translation is not a simple endeavor. A professional translator is not the proverbial monkey hitting at the keyboard to eventually come up with a properly translated text. Document translation is a very time-consuming, intricate, complex and arduous professional activity. It requires simultaneously working with two different texts and can be mentally exhausting. A professional translator moves continuously back and forth between two languages and two mental structures. A quality translator needs to first read and process the information in the source language to be able to reflect it accurately in the target language.
Due to the popularity of some free online translation engines, some people tend to believe that it is perfectly possible nowadays to use a computer program to do translations without human intervention. The truth is that there is no machine translation program in existence able to grasp and accurately transfer the subtleties of human languages. Perhaps it is possible to informally use translation engines or computer programs to translate simple, straightforward phrases, but for the time being they are not able to tackle the complexities of more intricate texts.
It is possible to have a friend who is a native speaker of the target language do a quick and dirty informal translation of a small text. But any context that requires information to be accurately and professionally presented requires a professional translation by a professional translator. There simply is no other way. Inaccurate or unusable translations can cause many problems, including the involuntary presentation of inaccurate or misleading information which may have very serious legal consequences. At the very least, amateurish and incorrect translations reflect poorly on a business or organization. Just as you would go to a professionally certified medical doctor if you have a serious medical condition, a professional translation services company who hires only certified document translators is the way to go for translations.
Professional translation services companies such as ASTA-USA Translation Services, Inc. and its legal division, Legal Translation Solutions, are the only option if you are in the market for accurate, high-quality professional translations.