Hallmarks of a Good Translator

Effective and accurate translation is not a simple task. Online translators and apps might be sufficient to translate a question or phrase when needed but for longer documents, manuals, professional correspondence, advertisements, and other important pieces, these quick fixes just aren’t enough. Translation is a skill as well as an art. You need a good translator, one with a human understanding of the nuances of a language and its usage.

As in all fields, there are those who do exemplary work and those who do just enough to get by. When choosing a translator to recreate your words and message into another language, it is vital to hire the best. Quality translation professionals have certain hallmarks that prove them to be of the highest quality. If you know what to look for, it’s easy to find the right person to convey your message into another tongue.

Dual Expertise

Your translator should have an intimate understanding of both the source language and the target.

Your translator should have an intimate understanding of both the source language and the target. Your translator should understand the finer points of formality and informality in both languages. He or she should have an excellent grasp of the culture and idioms of both the language the document was written in as well as the language into which it will be translated.

This may well be the hardest, yet most critical, skill to find in a translator. Many are able to functionally change individual words or even phrases from one tongue to another. Even apps and website translators can do that much. Far fewer can convey the meaning behind those words in an accurate manner.

For example, idioms, also called expressions or turns of phrase (in English), are some of the hardest things to translate. In English, we might call someone a “newbie” or a “greenhorn” to convey the idea that he has no experience in a field. However, in Spanish, the idiom is “camaròn.” It literally means shrimp but is used as slang to mean inexperienced.

Willingness to learn

In any task, a flexible and teachable mind is an important asset. In translation, it is essential. In a field where words and phrases are being added to the lexicon of any given language at a faster rate than ever before known, being willing to adapt and learn is critical to developing accurate language use. Your translator should be open to hearing what your words mean to you and your business or industry, not just the old standard dictionary definitions.

Work ethic

This is one trait that translates into every field and every language. A sincere desire to do the best possible work is obvious in a translator’s output and demeanor. He or she will be accurate, responsible, prompt and reliable.

If you can see these qualities in a translator, you can be assured that your words will be handled with the utmost care. Make sure your message is always clear by seeking out only the best translation service providers.

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