Excellent command of two languages is essential, but not sufficient, to produce first-rate translations. The misconception that anyone who knows a foreign language can translate stems from the commonly held belief that all you have to do is look up the words in a dictionary and slot them into the equivalent grammatical structures. Real translators work on a deeper level!
Quality translation consists of reading and understanding the message the author wishes to convey and expressing that message in the target language, using – if necessary – completely different words and very different phrasal constructions. This is why machine translation cannot and will not replace humans until machines are actually able to understand what they are reading. This has two important consequences:
- Translators should translate exclusively into their native language. It is clearly better if you express the original concepts in the language you feel most at home with.
- Translators must be able to fully appreciate the meaning of the source text. Someone with no understanding of theoretical physics cannot hope to come up with a decent translation of a paper on supersymmetric string theory, and entrusting a culinary or pharmaceutical translation to a person with no knowledge of cookery or pharmacology is a sure recipe (or formula) for disaster, possibly a fatal one.
Why choose an individual freelance translator?
By contacting an expert directly, you know you will always speak to the same person and can be sure to receive a tailor-made service, constant quality and uniform style.