Not everyone has a talent for translating texts. As the job title “translator” is not protected, however, anyone can call themselves a translator – a language student who was top of the class or someone who grew up bilingually, for instance. A genuine translator can be identified from his/her title: “state-certified” or “graduate” indicates that he/she has a proper translation qualification.
Certified translators know that dictionaries are not the Holy Grail. Therefore, they research very thoroughly in order to deliver the best possible translation. Furthermore, translators analyze texts, understanding and translating them accordingly. Hence, a good translation differs from a bad one in that the words are not merely translated blind from one language into the other.
Professional translators are also familiar with the punctuation of the respective language into which they translate. They also apply discretion regarding their translations (and clients).
A qualified translator also knows that translating a technical text demands different skills to translating a novel or a marketing text – knowledge of the respective culture is sometimes essential as well.
Hence, it is clear that there is a lot involved in the translation process which, in turn, can cost time … and money.
Unfortunately, many people believe that when having a text translated professionally they are spending money for nothing. Hence, they try to find someone to translate for free … or they translate the text themselves. Yet they overlook the fact that a bad translation – especially in the business world – can damage ones image and that the person translating the text may not even be aware of what a good translation is.
So it is important never to forget: quality has its price.