In today’s global economy, the most effective way to reach out to your clients is to use language that is most meaningful to them. This means providing professional, accurate translations of your marketing material that has been localized by top-level, expert translators. Here are some of the most common questions and answers for firms that are looking for the best translation company for their marketing materials. We will cover advice for both human translations and post-machine edits.
Automatic translation service versus post-machine edited translation
Many industry leaders may still be questioning whether automated translation has reached the point of perfection and if human translators are obsolete. Without a doubt, skilled human translators are an essential part of delivering accurate, functional, and marketable translations to your global audiences.
Using any translation software is a step or an “assist” in the process rather than an independent solution. There are two types of translation software:
Machine translation (MT)
The first modern machine translations date back to the 1950s, with the invention of a computerized translator produced by IBM. Needless to say, it produced translations that were quite limited and primitive.
Even today, the results of machine translations alone must not be considered the final product. They must go through post-machine edits by human translators, particularly when it comes to performing localization or adjusting the language to incorporate into the text the desired regional and cultural influences. This may include slang, idiomatic expressions, and other linguistic elements that are embedded features within the language of a particular region.
Computer-assisted translation (CAT)
Software programs used by translators to help them complete a translation are computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. These tools include anything from online dictionaries to auto-correct or spellcheck. Most translators use some form of CAT to complete their translations.
What is localization?
Localization is the process of adjusting the content to keep in mind the regional and cultural aspects of language. Although many automated translation systems available say they can meet your translation and localization needs for your company, automated translation is still at the point where post-editing translation by a human translation expert is required to edit material after it has been completed by a machine.
These translators must provide the appropriate registers of language, cultural and idiomatic expressions, as well as other nuanced features of language that a machine is not capable of producing.
What is the difference between a bilingual, a translator, and an interpreter?
Many people in the United States live in a diverse cultural environment as a part of their family or ethnic background. Some have the ability to communicate in more than one language in given situations. A thoroughly bilingual person, however, demonstrates high-level reading, writing, listening, and story-telling proficiencies in two languages.
Their communicative competence is extensive and flexible. They are accurate in most professional circumstances, allowing them to function without bothering their colleagues with notable errors in pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary.
Although a person with this level of bilingual proficiency may choose to become trained as a professional translator or interpreter, being highly proficient in two languages is just the first step in a long road towards achieving the skill-set and expertise of top-level translators and interpreters.
Interpretation is the skill of conveying the spoken word into another language. Expert interpreters spend years honing their skills and may have one or more niches (such as a particular medical or legal area of expertise with medicine or law) where they can handle the most complex translations.
Although many claim you must be a native speaker to interpret or translate, being a native speaker does not automatically mean you have achieved the level necessary to interpret in highly technical, clinical, or complex fields. However, an essential part of achieving expert proficiency is to grow up in, become educated in, and/or spend several years immersed in the language and culture of your target market.
Translation is the skill of conveying the written word from one language to another. Translators are highly proficient in the language with exceptional writing, listening, and speaking skills. The best translators also go through years of training and work experience in their specialized areas of expertise.
Certified, Certification, and certificate: What’s the difference?
Certified translators from a professional translation association such as the ATA go through years of work and training. This is required to achieve the depth and breadth necessary to pass the ATA certification process.
These certified translations are commonly required for formal government documents (for example, immigration) or legal documents. Technically, anybody can get a translation certified, which is a process similar to, but separate, from notification.
It requires the translator to attach a statement to a copy of their translation to a statement in which they list their qualifications for being able to accurately complete the translation. This affirms that the translation is accurate.
Steps towards certification: certificate programs
Professional translators who are qualified to translate do not have to have ATA certifications. In many cases, they have taken the first steps toward certification. This is very selective and can take years for translators to prep.
A translator may take a training program that is 40 hours or longer. These programs teach vocabulary, technique, medical, legal, or other information in their field. Bridging the Gap is an example of training for medical interpreters.
Receiving ATA certification can take several years. In fact, the passing rate for sitting for the ATA certification exam is less than 20%. However, translators that have achieved this milestone have demonstrated a distinguished level of translation skill. These translators are at the top of their fields.
The first step after achieving a professional level of proficiency is to enroll in an ATA-approved certificate program. Many of these are 40-to-60 hour programs in niches like legal or medical translation or interpreting.
Final thoughts: What you need to know when hiring a translation company
In conclusion, when hiring a translation company for your firm’s needs, you need a company that performs first-rate translations by human hands, even after automated translation is used.
Their translators must have achieved a professional-to-distinguished level of language. They must also be up-to-date with taking training certificate programs that keep them prepared for ever-changing challenges in their fields. Finally, the company’s translators must demonstrate intimate knowledge of the cultural, linguistic, and social elements embedded in the language of a region.