In the age of machine translation, when rapidly translating vast amounts of text is simpler than ever, it’s tempting to think that the skills and experience of human translators are surplus to requirements. That may be true in some areas where accuracy isn’t the number one priority, but there are still many types of texts that require far more attention to detail and intellectual flexibility than machines can currently offer.
Context is everything
In such cases, there is often a need to identify the intention behind the translation – including who the target audience is and what context the translation will be used in – and that means asking the right questions before getting started on a translation project. Certified translators have excellent awareness of these issues and can provide a clearer picture of the work involved, even to agencies. This avoids misunderstandings and pitfalls in the project, ultimately saving you time and money.
Accuracy: the certified translator’s superpower
The basic principle of certified translation is “leave no stone unturned”. We’re trained to scrutinise every term, double check every reference and question every wording we use to ensure the entire text is correct. This way of thinking obviously has an impact on our regular translation tasks, too. So when you hire a certified translator for work that doesn’t require a stamp, you get these skills into the bargain. And if anything in the material is ambiguous, we’ll always ask for clarification.
Curious and creative
Being a certified translator means being especially curious about the world around you. Some of the subject areas we work in require very deep dives into terminology and legislation, making us accustomed to doing extensive research. We’re also experts at finding creative solutions to linguistic problems, particularly in cases where a concept doesn’t exist in our target language. This is where machine translation often tends to fall short.
Certified translation may look a bit old-fashioned in many respects, but the fact is that a lot of certified translators use the latest technology to improve the quality of their work. A language is never static – government agencies may suddenly change their names, for example – and it’s our responsibility to stay up to date on any developments. Knowing how to efficiently search for the latest information using the optimum tools available is a key part of the job.
So the next time you need a quality translation – even without an official stamp – consider hiring a certified translator. It will almost certainly save you time, money and the headaches that poor translation can give rise to.