There are a lot of mistaken ideas as to what “professional translation” means, and how it should be done. In fact, many people see that there is no reason to subsidize anybody to interpret from one language to another, since anybody with a canonical knowledge of any two languages can do it. This could not be further from the truth.
So what is necessitated of a translator? In the first place, a translator must be working into, not away of, his or her ain language. So English to French translators – that is, people rendering from English into French – must be people who have French as their first language. One mutual misconception is that if somebody can render from English to French, he or she can equally good interpret from French to English. This is only not the case.
A translator likewise needs to be full competent in both languages. Another mutual misconception is that everybody is competent in his or her ain language, but unhappily this is quite frequently not truthful! For translators it is indispensable to have entire competence in both the target language – that is the language they are interpreting into – and the source language, the one they are translating from. This means competence at every level – not simply grammar and idiom, though this is indispensable – but at other levels such as the societal level. This involves knowing how to use the right language in every societal situation, and how to construe societal signals.
However, today still entire world-wide language competence may not be enough, as most professional translation is highly specialized. For instance, clients of the agency may demand translations of technological instructions or specifications, articles for scientific or aesculapian journals, or sound judgments. To go a full qualified translator today it is oftentimes necessary to have specialized competence in a peculiar area. It is very hard to interpret, for instance, an aesculapian treatise still into your ain language, if you are not conversant with the terminology and its precise meaning.
In addition to all these requirements, there are other qualities and skills a translator needs, many of them on the personal level. These comprise efficiency, reliability, and ability to encounter deadlines. However good a document has been interpreted, it is no use if it was taken for a conference or a business meeting and arrived too belated. Another requirement is canonical office skills and facility with computer technology – most assignments today are had and delivered electronically – and ability to use the correct file formats. A translator must too be capable to work good under pressure, both only and in a team.
So it is far from truthful that anyone can be a translator. Professional translation requires skills and abilities at many levels, both technological and personal. It takes many years and much difficult work to go qualified to this received, but the reward is a highly gratifying and satisfying career.