THE ART OF TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION
Translation is the written part
Interpreting is the spoken part
It involves translation of a document from one language into another. There are different kinds of translations: general, technical, medical, legal etc. The best translation is the one that when someone reads the document he/she believes it is the original document it was written in and not a translation of it. In other words it is not literally but it flows and makes sense to the reader as if it were the original document itself.
It involves interpreting what a person says from one language into another. There are different types of interpreting modes such as:
Consecutive Interpretation: A persons states a phrase or idea in one language and after he/she finishes the interpreter renders a consecutive interpretation into a different language. This mode is mainly use in legal procedures such as depositions, witness interrogations, speeches etc.
Simultaneous Interpretation: A person states a phrase or idea in one language and simultaneously the interpreter is conveying the meaning into a different language. Simultaneous interpretation is usually used in conferences, seminars, meetings etc.
Sight Translation: Sometimes an interpreter is given a written document, especially in legal procedures to do a sight translation of it into a different language.
TIPS FOR POTENTIAL CLIENTS ON TRANSLATION ISSUES
Plan ahead: If your company is planning to go on markets overseas, look for a professional translator or translation agency now. Once you produce your documents for translation give your translators as much possible time to work on them.
Take control: Consider on producing an in-house glossary. This is especially useful when you are going to have more documents to translate in the future. Also the work throughout the translation will be consistent. Translators/agencies love to work with clients on developing glossaries or other materials that will be beneficial for clients as well as for the translators.
Advise: Tell your translator/agency where the translation is going to. As you are aware the Spanish from Spain is different than the Spanish in Mexico City or British and American English are quite different as well. Agencies like ours, try to match clients' needs with the translators native country and expertise.
Cost: Of course sometimes cost is a big issue and translation/interpretation prices range quite a bit and while high prices do not necessarily guarantee high quality, we respectfully submit that below a certain level you are unlikely to receive a text that does, no credit to your company and its products. If translators are netting little more than a babysitter, they are unlikely to be tracking your market with the attention it deserves.
Be realistic: How many pages can a translator produce an hour? How much time do you expect him or her to spend crafting the text that will promote your product or service? (How much time did your team spend producing the original?)
When choosing a translation provider, calculate how much you have spent to develop the product or services you want to promote outside your country. If you cannot afford a professional translation, perhaps you are not ready for the international market yet.
The added value that a translation company offers (translator selection, project management, quality control, file conversions, standardized presentation of multilingual projects, etc.) also has a price tag, but can save you hours of work.
TRANSLATORS VS. BILINGUALS
Professional translators are first and foremost writers, capable of producing texts that read well in the target language. They are generally fluent in their source language(s) as well. Most important of all, they are effective bridges between the languages they work in; they can render the message of the original text, with appropriate style and terminology, in their native language.
Bilingualism is something else. Bilinguals speak two languages fluently, but are not necessarily good at moving information between the two, especially in writing. And experience shows that many people described as bilingual over-estimate their communication skills altogether.
To avoid the above mentioned ask for credentials to the translator/agency you are dealing with. How many years in business? Do they have any certifications? Did they go to school to become a translator/interpreter? Fields of expertise? Have they received any awards? Do they belong to Translators/Interpreters Associations? "Global Translations & Interpretations, Inc." will answer yes to all of the above.
As an owner of "Global Translations & Interpretations, Inc." and being a translator/interpreter as well, I know for a fact that out of so many translation agencies in the market nowadays, only a few of them have professional translators/interpreters doing the job. Most of them are business people who do not know all the insights of the business since they do not have the experience and training at hand.
*Some of the excerpts listed above are from the ATA Publication "Getting It Right"