December 11, 2006

You can’t do everything yourself

Filed under: — Natasha @ 12:01 pm

To inaugurate Chez Natasha’s new look and blog, courtesy of Abeleto Amsterdam, here’s an article of mine that has had some popularity and that has actually convinced some people to think twice about their DIY approach to translation.

Power tool

Five excuses for not hiring a translator

1. They cost too much.
If a company has its translations done by just anyone in order to save money, it runs the risk of ending up with an unprofessional translation as well as wasting valuable time. Having the translation redone afterwards can only cost more money and take even longer. No wonder translation seems so expensive!

2. People can understand us just fine in English.
Even if English is a very important language, most of the world population will still not be speaking it in the near future. Having your documents translated brings you closer to foreign markets and polishes your company image. Increasing globalisation and the Internet has made the need for quality translation more important than ever.

3. A translation programme can do the job.
Although they improve quickly, translation programmes are tools that cannot produce a decent translation on their own. Only a human can produce a proper translation, because a computer cannot understand the complexities involved within a specific language or culture. As one specialist once put it, translation programmes can now produce an incomprehensible sentence in just seconds rather than minutes.

4. I speak a little (place language here), so I can translate, too.
Getting around on holiday is one thing, translating a technical document is another. A translator must have a cultural understanding of the source and target languages and be able to combine this knowledge with grammar and writing skills. Translators also specialise in different fields, making them more knowledgeable with regard to terminology. This is why translators can compete and help each other at the same time.

5. I cannot tell if a translation is good or not, so what does it matter?
If someone at a company does not know the language of the translated product, they are not in a position to judge its quality and therefore should find someone who can. But your client can tell the difference, and if you do not bother with them, why should they bother with you? Hiring a qualified translator to produce a well-localised translation can only increase client satisfaction.

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