Advice for translators

Lately, interest in this profession has grown both on the part of the Faculties of Letters alumni and those who know at least one foreign language.

In both cases the main incentive for this profession must be passion. In Romania, the translation market is quite fierce and often translators have to have a second job in order to be able to support themselves financially. There are many who believe that if they have language knowledge and a handy dictionary they can translate. It’s a stereotype I’ve encountered many times over my career and if I took a penny from every client who told me he could have translated his work but he needed to stamp it I would have been rich by now.

Nothing more untrue. Not everyone can be a translator and we have to give to Cesar what is Cesar’s.

Translation is a complex process that besides language skills it requires creativity, an all-round education and specific terminology. A good translation is a translation that the recipient can read fluently and that makes you think that you are reading the original.

The obsession for quality is no longer a novelty. We all want a translation as close to the original as possible.

There is no ideal method of translation or one that can guaranty success. It is the translator who first needs to understand the source text, use the appropriate means, and reproduce the content as faithfully as possible to the content and message of the source text.

Below are some tips for those at the beginning of the road:

  • Do not give the beneficiary more possibilities by letting him choose the right option. This means that you are not sure of the correctness of the translated text. I know, many times we have a choice of a range of specialist terms, and it’s hard for us to decide. Recently we spoke with one of our clients working in the financial field and agreed that the translation for tax obligations in the sense of compliance obligations is tax obligations and for tax obligations – payment -tax liabilities. It is very important to discuss with your customers and agree on the terms they are currently using.
  • Be consistent after choosing a term. For example, the term company can be translated in Romanian as societate or companie. I suggest using one of these terms until the end of the document.
  • Do not leave blank spaces. The translators’ duty is to ensure that the translation is complete and to handle the extreme situations.
  • If you are not sure of a term, check out more sources. Currently, the Internet is a resource for everyone, and there are websites and forums dedicated to translators.
  • Use the characters specific to the language in which you translate. In Romanian, for example fata (the girl) vs față (face).
  • Carefully check the names, figures, and dates.
  • Calculate your working and revision time.
  • In the case of non-editable documents, translate all the information that appears in the tables or drawings using a 2-column legend (source language-target language).
  • Respect the formatting.
  • Respect the deadline of the paper. A job will no longer be of quality if the delivery is delayed.

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