Even though translation services are used frequently all around the world, myths abound about how translation works.
Read this post to set the story straight and find out the truth behind translation services.
Myth: Any Bilingual Person Can Be a Translator
Speaking another language fluently does not qualify you to be a translator. In fact, translation is a career, and just like most other careers, you need formal training and experience in order to become qualified.
This is because translation is more than just converting each word from one language to another. It requires the ability to understand a source text and render it into the target language, all while conveying the proper tone and using language appropriate for the intended audience.
This involves an understanding of not just the language, but also the culture of the people who speak it. And depending on the context, it may also require a specialized knowledge in a field such as medicine or law.
Myth: Translating To Another Language Is Easy
Now that you know that not every bilingual person can translate effectively, the myth that translation is easy should be cleared up. The required tasks of studying a language and delving into its many idioms takes time and skill.
Even selecting the proper vocabulary can become detective work for a translator. Not every word or term has a direct translation in all languages, which means it can be difficult to choose an accurate term when translating from one language to another. Translating slang, for example, takes research and — sometimes — a little bit of creativity.
Myth: You Don’t Need a Professional Translator
Hiring a professional translation company is virtually always the best way to get top-notch results. If accuracy is important to you, it is necessary to hire a company that has the proper training and experience with translating documents in your project’s language and subject area.
This is especially essential when you need technical or government documents — or any other important paperwork — translated. Of course, if you just want the gist of an informal document, you can use a machine translation. But when you are counting on an accurate translation, consulting an experienced translation company is key.
Myth: Translation Isn’t Necessary Anymore
Many people incorrectly assume that most people in the world now speak English, rendering translation services obsolete. But if you have traveled to non-English speaking countries, you know this is a myth!
Sure, a lot of countries teach English in school, so students often have a basic understanding of the language at a young age. But many of them never progress past that, which is why translation services are indeed still necessary.
This translation myth would be akin to people from Spain assuming that most people in the US speak Spanish fluently just because many students take a few foreign language classes. Even if you took a few years of Spanish in high school, could you really translate a document with absolute accuracy? And would you trust your language skills enough to translate your medical documents? Probably not!
This circles back to the myth that any bilingual person can be a translator. Once again, even if you’re fluent in another language, technical terminology should be left to professionals.
Myth: You Can Get Accurate Translations Online for Free
If you are considering using a free online translation tool, be sure to check out the results before you make a final decision. You will see firsthand why hiring a translator is the way to go when you want translations that you can trust.
That’s because online translation websites are powered by algorithms, not humans who understand context. Plenty of subtle yet important language cues are easy to miss when machines, such as Google Translate, take over for professional translators.
You might also think that online translations are the only way to get quick results. Of course, professional translation services will never be as fast as copying and pasting, but you may still be surprised at how quickly a rush translation can get the job done.
The reason there are probably so many myths about translation being easy is probably because professionals do a good job of making the final product seem effortless. However, remember that every accurate translation requires a lot of skill, training and often research on the part of the translator.