THE RISKS OF NOT GETTING A PROFESSIONAL TRANSLATOR
Interviewer – First of all what is for you a professional translator?
MM – For me a professional translator is someone who cares both about the original that he/she is engaged to translate and the translation he/she will provide. A professional translator will have to be competent in the source language and an excellent communicator in his/her target language.
Interviewer – Do you think people know that when they look for a translator?
MM – Some people do, some people don’t. I find that those who had problems with translation providers before or speak another language are more attentive to detail when they search for translators. They know that translations can go wrong if allocated only based on immediate availability of translator or cost of translation.
Interviewer – What sort of things can go wrong when not getting a professional translator?
MM – When not getting the right person for the job there are several things (or a combination of things) that can go wrong: translation may not be in the right language variant, the target text may not follow the target language rules, the terminology used in the translation may not be the right one, the tone of the target text may not be adequate, deadlines may not be met, the translation supplier may not be registered for tax or insured or may not be tax compliant, only to mention a few.
Interviewer – You would think that registered trading professionals would comply with the professional rules, no?
MM – Definitely and the registered professionals do. However, translation is not regulated which means that anyone speaking two languages can actually translate. When asked, many people will say they came to translation because they lost their job, needed more family time at home, or could do with extra income. Valid answers, that however harm the profession as many of those individuals have not gained the right qualifications and may not care about the final product.
Interviewer – So, if you were asked advice on how to select a professional translator, what would you say?
MM – There are several things we can do to select a professional translator. First, we need to look for someone in the right language combination with experience in the subject area of the original to be translated. For that, we can use many different resources online, in particular those translation institutes or associations who vet their translators. If a translator is vetted by his/her peers, that is a good start. Next, we need to contact those pre-selected translators and ask for references we can actually validate. Remember, if you don’t speak the target language you cannot assess the translation. Unlike a paint job on your house, where most people can look at it and ascertain the quality standard of the delivered product, in translation if you don’t speak the target language you are not competent to determine whether you have received a good translation, therefore you will need a third party to assist you.
Interviewer – What do you mean by relevant references?
MM – Relevant references would be provided by people who have already used the services of the pre‑selected translator in the same language combination and the same subject area and who can attest for that individual language and technical competences and professionalism.
This interview was first published in Monica Machado Translation Services Quarterly Newsletter. This and other interviews with Mónica can be read here.
Mónica Machado offers English to Portuguese Translation Services, for Portuguese-speaking African countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe in the areas of Oil and Gas, Agriculture and Farming, Environment, Shipping, Mining, Hydro Power, HSE and Social Sciences and International Humanitarian Aid. Fully certified translation services based in the UK. We can also translate and certify translations of educational qualifications, passports, company certificates of incorporation, birth and marriage certificates and similar documents.
Comments are closed