Misconceptions About The Translator Profession

Misconceptions About The Translator Profession

The world is populated by so many people speaking so many different languages and each language has thousands of monolingual or bilingual speakers.

Any effort to create a translation company is a difficult task because the number of potential competitors is huge.
Once you’ve started your translation business, you’ll learn more about the serious competition and translation myths that still prevail in the wireless communication world.


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It is great value for many. The largest single-volume English dictionary in print celebrates the extraordinary breadth and changing nature of the English language, with more than 725,000 words, meanings and phrases.

“The Collins English Dictionary is a book to be treasured, no home should be without one”, The Times.
It is an essential tool to everyone who would like to improve and extend their English.


Every day, as a translator, you face a growing battle of uninformed clients who know very little about the translation industry or who believe that undertaking translations is generally a fairly easy thing to do and thus display little knowledge about translators or the translation industry in general.

It is perhaps no bad thing, therefore, if translators were to make their clients aware of the complexity often involved and to clarify the myths that seem to continue to grow year after year in the industry.

Here are some of the main myths and misconceptions that can be used as educational tools to help your clients appreciate what you do as a translator:

1. Translators can speak two languages or more: this is one of the most prolific myths that exists outside the translation sector.

It must be understood that different and simply different languages do not mean that an individual can convert any subject into these languages.

2. Translators can decode any subject if the content is in a language they know: it must be understood that it is not always necessary for a translator to translate a subject if the content is in one language he knows.

Talented translators specialise in different but related fields, allowing them to follow the evolution of their profession and keep them informed of current trends.

Moreover, if a translator declares that he can translate absolutely everything, then he is either inexperienced or, put simply, a bad translator.

3. Translation from one language to another, for example, Japanese or Spanish to English is no different to translation in reverse order, for example, English to Japanese or Spanish.
There are very few talented translators who can perform specialised translations in both directions, so to speak. In most cases, clients find that the translation is similar and regardless of the method used by the translator.
Clients need to understand that translators have central languages and that it is often of utmost importance for the translator and client that the translator translates within their area of expertise in that language.

4. Native narrators are always a better translator than the non-native. This is the next big myth circulating in the translation industry.
We all have a mother language but the mere fact of speaking a mother tongue does not guarantee that a person is sufficiently qualified to translate sufficiently from their mother language.
This takes considerable skill, knowledge of the language that only comes from several years of formal study. For example, all over the world, there may be millions of people whose mother tongue is Spanish, but whose second language may be English.
They may be natural speakers of both languages, but they are not instinctive or natural translators, nor can they determine whether a translation is correct linguistically in any given context. We should never assume that a native narrator is a talented translator in his or her own language(s).


So what does this picture tell you? So easy for a simple sentence with a simple meaning to be lost in translation.

This is a typical example of Lost in Translation.  Can you relate to this story?


5. Only translators associated with a professional or accredited translation company can perform an effective translation: there are several translators in the world who do an excellent job of translating without association or affiliation with any organisation.
It is, by no means essential, that a professional translator must belong to a governing body. Many people would say that a long list of satisfied customers of a translator is a much better indication of a translator’s skill and ability.

6. The accuracy of a translation can be verified by reverse translation: it is a common delusion that the value of a translation can be revised by a second translator capable of translating the translated text into the source language.

7. The translation industry is essentially an informal industry with extremely low-profit margins: this is a common mistake among translators.
According to recent studies, it has been found that many people in the Netherlands and Eastern Europe have longed believed that translators work from dawn to dusk with little reward.
Although the translation process can be a laborious process, it is a meticulous, and, despite all the computer tools and computer wizardry, it will remain essentially a physical affair in the hands of a human being for years to come.

If you are competent to offer high-quality translation services register now on www.transla​​torhunt.com

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