Today we’d like to talk about some translation myths we hear so often. We know, we know… When you visit our website, we realize we have made the translation process look so simple. And, rest assured, it is for our clients. You need only contact us to get flawless translations, done on time by the world’s leading translators. But how we do it is another story – one that’s not always understood by those outside of the translation industry. So let’s take a look at the most popular 5 myths about translation.
1. Anyone who is bilingual or a native speaker can be a translator.
This is one of the most common myths we hear. However, a translator is an expert in a language. And by expert, we mean someone who has complete knowledge of the grammatical and cultural nuances of a language, in addition to understanding different dialects of it. Just because a person can read or write both English and Spanish does not make them a professional translator.
Think about it this way: If the phrase “This is for the birds!” needed to be translated into Spanish, a professional translator would know about localization… and that the meaning of the phrase would be completely different in Spanish and even UK English for that matter! Cultural nuances such as this pop up all of the time in translation, and it takes a professional to work through them.
2. One translator can speak and professionally translate a variety of languages.
Although there’s no limit to the amount of languages a translator can learn to speak, typically he or she only translates two professionally – their native language and one other. It is far better for a translator to have in-depth knowledge of two languages than know just a little about a lot of languages.
3. Quality translation can be done cheaply – even for free – on the internet.
Unfortunately, many people see the words “free” and “cheap” online, and think that they can get accurate translations. Machine translation can be helpful for figuring out a word or phrase in a pinch, but these translations are never localized. In addition, machine translators only make statistical guesses at the context, and the rate of error is incredibly high. If you’re expecting accuracy, always work with a professional human being.
4. Translators can translate any subject matter.
Would a doctor be able to tell you the ins and outs of a lawyer’s job? No. And the same holds true for translators. Translators, like those here at Metro AV, have industry-specific experience. Like the languages they speak, it’s best for translators to have a lot of knowledge of one industry rather than a little knowledge of many.
5. Translations don’t need to be reviewed by anyone other than the original translator.
It’s always best to have more than one set of eyes review anything – whether it’s a professional translation or a story to be printed in a magazine. When it comes to precision, we don’t take any chances. That’s why every translation we do is assigned to a head translator. After he or she completes a draft of your translation, a second translator proofreads the draft and provides any necessary edits. The draft then goes back to the first translator to ensure it’s consistent.
Hopefully we helped to clear up some common translation myths for you, which may save you time and energy in the future. And the next time you have a translation project, you know you can count on our experts to help you out!