Is there a difference between a translator and an interpreter?
Yes – although the terms are often used interchangeably, they are actually two different professions. A translator transfers written documents from one language to another whereas an interpreter works with the spoken word.
What is NAATI accreditation and why do I need to use an accredited translator ?
NAATI is the National Accreditation Authority for Interpreters and Translators, the official body for the industry in Australia. Being NAATI-accredited means that the interpreter or translator has passed stringent exams and is officially recognised as a qualified and highly skilled language professional. Furthermore, NAATI-accredited interpreters and translators are bound by a code of ethics and must undergo continual professional development, ensuring high standards of professionalism. Most official bodies and organisations will only accept translations by a NAATI-accredited translator and will only work with NAATI-accredited interpreters.
I speak French – why can’t I do the translation myself?
Being able to translate or interpret requires much more than the ability to speak and understand two languages. It takes professional training in the specifics of the task, for example analysing documents, understanding how languages work in different contexts plus an understanding of the different fields that use translation and interpreting services and how they vary from country to country. Often, translating involves a transfer of culture as well as a transfer of language. This is why a trained professional is required to do the job well, as in any other specialist field.
Why not use Machine Translation like Google Translate or other programs/apps?
While we ourselves use Machine Translation to get a rough idea of texts written in languages we don’t master, we would never trust an automatic program for the translation of this website for example. Machine translation is still in its infancy and cannot be trusted for professional results.
Machine translation never flows as well as human translation. Despite its evolution, it will still translate the words rather than the concept you are trying to put across. If you have put a lot of effort into your original texts or business, you would not want to lose all the positive aspects with a bad translation that would destroy the original effect. Your marketing collateral is creative, dynamic and forward thinking. Companies pay millions to develop a brand identity and to deliver a product/service in a compelling and idealistic fashion. Machine translation uses logic not creative thinking and this will significantly dampen any creative flair in your marketing material. What a waste of money if you have spent time and effort to develop clever and decisive marketing content for it to be flattened by a machine.
If you want to localize your website or app, there is also the issue of keywords. Keywords should always be researched rather than translated to find what local customers are actually searching for. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the only difference between markets is language! These keywords need to be woven into your content both in meta-data and in-content itself.
Crafted translations require time. The added value that a good translation can offer also has a price tag, and will earn a lot of money in promoting your products on international markets. These days, these skills even constitute a new discipline called “transcreation”.
My best friend / close colleague speak French. Why not ask him or her?
Bilinguals speak two languages more or less fluently, but are not necessarily good at moving information between the two. As professional translators, we are first and foremost writers, bridging between languages and cultures, with appropriate style and terminology. A bilingual friend or colleague may give you the gist of a document, but this is not a guarantee of written fluency or skill in translation. You need to consider professional translation services.
Translation is the written transfer of text from one language to another. It requires not only an excellent grasp of terminology and linguistic knowledge in two or more languages, but also solid cross-cultural knowledge to convey true meaning. Translation of marketing and communication material in particular requires excellent writing skills and creativity, as well as an ability to convey the original tone while being aware of cultural differences.