The occupation of professional translation is still a big mystery. Outside the language services community, many people don’t really know how someone becomes a professional translator or what they need to do to obtain high-quality professional translation services. This article will attempt to dispel three myths that are still (unfortunately!) all too common.
1) You just need to be bilingual to translate from French to English and vice versa.
This is the most common misconception about professional translation. But it can never be repeated enough: one doesn’t just become a translator overnight! Professional translation is an occupation learned at university. Through a university-level program of studies, translators acquire the knowledge and methods needed to practice their profession.
Another important fact to highlight: a professional translator must always translate into their mother tongue. A translator trained to translate from English to French, for example, shouldn’t translate “the other way” (from French to English). It’s important to know this, especially if you want to get idiomatic translations – that is, translations that are adapted to the culture of the target audience.
2) Freelancers offer services at lower costs than agencies.
While this is true in the case of some freelancers, others may offer services at prices that are considerably higher than those of agencies. It’s important to find this out ahead of time. But professional translation isn’t just a matter of price! You also need to ask yourself what’s hiding behind the proposed rate:
– Does the freelance translator or translation agency offer quality control after the translation? In other words, is the translation proofread by a professional reviser? It should be noted that only a translation agency can offer you 360° solutions to meet all your needs (including copywriting, translation, revision, project management, etc.).
– How many words per day can the freelance translator or the translation agency translate? If your deadline is tight, this question is essential.
– What training does the freelance translator or the translators from the translation agency have? Training in professional translation or language studies is essential to offer high-quality translations.
3) Translation agencies are no longer very useful, since there are now machine translation tools.
Once again, nothing could be more wrong! And these tools are not at the point of replacing professional translators.
First of all, a little clarification is necessary: translation agencies don’t use machine translation tools like Google Translate to do their work. Why? Because software doesn’t have the same ability to reason and understand as a human translator who is capable of grasping all the cultural references of the original text.
However, professional translators do rely on certain specialized programs called “translation memories” or “computer-assisted translation (CAT) software,” which can improve their efficiency. Like many other occupations, professional translation has undergone major changes thanks to technological advances, but it still relies on the know-how of passionate professionals.
To learn more about the world of professional translation, contact the experts at SLRR Translation Agency.