Translation is both an art and a science. A translator needs a strong technical understanding of each language’s grammar, but he must also understand other cultures to make the translations feel natural. That’s a difficult task, and many of the people who happen to be bilingual aren’t cut out for the work. The only way to make sure that you are choosing a translator who understands both the language and the culture is to hire a reputable translation agency, and there are plenty of benefits that you can reap by doing so.
Technical Translation Skill
Reputable translators offer a degree of quality which is impossible to get from other sources. While anyone who speaks multiple languages can translate the general meaning of a document, it is essentially impossible to get the precise meaning correct without special training. Since imprecision can be catastrophically expensive when dealing with legal documents, contracts, or important sets of instructions, it is much better to choose a reliable professional than it is to take a chance with an amateur.
This is doubly true when dealing with documents of a technical nature, such blueprints or manuals. That type of document often includes technical jargon that most people do not understand. A translator who is familiar with both the languages and the technical field will be able to translate those terms properly, but one who is not familiar with the topic will often mangle the translation. Skilled translators will also have enough background knowledge about the field to check their work, while amateurs will need to take it on faith that they have not misrepresented the original piece. As the complexity of the document being translated increases, the importance of this skill also increases, since there is more room for mistakes to be made due to that complexity.
Languages vary from place to place. For example, the type of Arabic that is spoken in the UAE is not precisely the same as the type of Arabic that is spoken in Egypt. Many of these dialects assign different meanings to the same word, which can cause a great deal of confusion among the unwary. A reputable translation service will have experts who understand the cultural differences that are at work, and these experts will take them into account when producing the translation. Disreputable services usually lack that expertise, and they can easily ruin a translation by accidentally using offensive words.
This becomes even more important for translations of articles or advertisements with an informal tone. These documents often include idioms and slang terms, which vary much more than any other part of a language. Understanding them in a single language requires a degree of skill that most disreputable translators lack, and finding an equivalent construction in a second language requires even more experience. Most idioms will make very little sense when they are translated literally, so a translator who lacks experience will often make a completely incomprehensible mess out of an informal document.
Speed and Reliability
The process of working with a disreputable translator is full of surprises. They usually lack the experience to know how long a specific translation should take, so it can be very difficult for them to meet deadlines. Their quality is also very unpredictable. Some of them do have the knowledge that it takes to produce a good translation, but many of them do not, and it’s almost impossible to differentiate between the two. Most businesses can’t afford that type of surprise due to the cost and delays inherent in finding a replacement, so working with an unknown translator can present an unacceptable risk.
Reputable translation services are another matter entirely. Their reputation makes it easy to reviews of the work, so a business can know what to expect when it calls for their services. Their workers will also be much more experienced than those of other firms, which means that they can provide an accurate estimate of the time it will take to complete a project. In many cases, they can also do the work much more quickly than their inexperienced and unknown counterparts. Hiring a trustworthy firm will cost slightly more than hiring an unknown worker, but the speed and reliability that they offer will be more than enough to justify the cost.
Consistency Between Translation Projects
Most companies that need to call upon translation services need to do so frequently. It’s a natural part of doing business in multiple countries, and that means that it can pay to build a long-term relationship with a single translation service. Doing so will cut costs, because it means not having to go through the selection process again, but it can also improve the quality of the translations.
As the two firms work together, they will become more familiar with each other. In particular, the translators will learn more about the products and the services that their clients offer, as well as becoming more familiar with the market. That allows them to tweak their translations to suit that market. If they have access to more information, they can even learn which phrases or tones resonated with that market, and they can use those phrases more often. The end result is a greatly superior translation, and it can only come from building a relationship with a single group of reliable translators over a long period of time.
The Value of Reputation
Ultimately, working with a translation service is much like working with any other type of business. It requires effort and a certain amount of risk, but in return it will pay dividends that make the effort worthwhile. Choosing a service that has a reputation for quick and accurate translations will minimize the risk of receiving an inferior document. That means that while businesses that are willing to take unnecessary risks can try their luck with disreputable translation services, the businesses that want a safe and secure relationship will always opt for a firm with a reputation for success.