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The Importance of Professional Translation

When needing documents to be translated you have several options:

Try to translate it yourself:
This is usually not an option unless you are an expert in both languages, have someone else who also is an expert in both languages who can proofread your work, and both of you have time on your hands.

Have someone you know translate it:
This option is risky and usually yields unprofessional results.
  • Simply having speaking ability, or even a high school education in a language is not nearly sufficient, especially in work that is official, technical, specialized, or that will represent you or your company.

  • It is usually difficult to judge someone else's ability unless you know about their background and are familiar with the requirements for the production of a professional translation.

  • Without a second person to proofread the translation, it will almost certainly be prone to errors.

  • A non-professional may take the task casually or carelessly or may not have the necessary software to produce the translation in the needed format.

Have the translation done by a computer, usually online (machine translation):
Although computer software for translation has advanced immensely over the years, the best software still produces translations that have a high error rate and language that sounds stilted or inappropriate for the context or the intended audience of the original. There are several fundamental informational and algorithmic barriers to producing professional quality translations by computer that will exist for the forseeable future:
  • Human language is imprecise, so correct word usage can vary greatly depending on the context and intent.

  • Words and phrases often do not have a exact counterparts in other languages, so a symbolic knowledge of meaning and stylistic conventions is often necessary to properly restate in one language the way a concept is expressed in another.

  • Human language often has many levels or layers of meaning that require a great deal of life experience to understand. Knowledge of how to express that meaning properly in languages created by different cultures with different customs, values, and conventions is also necessary before a translation can be performed properly.

  • Languages often have major differences in stylistic and syntactic conventions, and they must be reflected across sentences and paragraphs. That means that a translator must create correspondences between large sections of text of the original and the translation, rather than between single words or phrases at a time in isolation.

Basically, until and unless computers can use meanings to correlate text, analyze and integrate context, and possess a thorough stylistic repertoire, they will not be capable of producing acceptable quality at the level of a human professional. That means that a computer based translation may be sufficient to understand the overall meaning of a text for personal purposes; but if presented to others in a professional or official capacity, at best it will read poorly and be unacceptably full of embarrassing errors.

Have a full service translation company handle all aspects of your translation:
A reputable full service translation company bases its existence on its reputation for upholding industry standards of quality in the work it produces. It is in the position to amass more experience and a larger and more select network of professionals than any individual translator alone. It also is more likely to have the equipment and software to produce professional results. One of the biggest advantages of entrusting your project to a translation company is the full service paradigm: having one contact with whom you can convey your translation needs in simple terms, who will take full responsibility for handling all aspects of the project from start to completion and who is backed by the large array of resources that may be required.

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