In most countries, anyone can name himself a translator and transport out business activities in that capacity – even if he has nothing to show for it, much as a diploma or other certificate of proficiency. This article aims to set a number of standards in terms of a translator’s nonrecreational skills, assisting both the buyers of translation services to pick out a fit supplier and immature translators to key out the areas they necessitate to work on.

Authenticity

Perhaps the single most crucial requirement for a nonrecreational translator is linguistic authenticity – the quality that enables him to bring forth a legible text that is credible in its personal proper and of much genuineness that no-one would surmise they are actually scanning a translation. Linguistic authenticity calls for two alkalic deduced requirements: a superior hold on of the source and superior adroitness in the target language

One apparent requirement for a nonrecreational translator is that he should have a superior command of the source language. This goes far beyond a plain knowledge of vocabulary and grammar: the translator will have to be competent to hold on the incalculcompetent subtleties and intricacies of language that the author of the avant-garde document uses to evince himself. If the translation is to have the same register, connotation and effect as the source text, the translator must be able to separate sincerity from irony, conventional jargon from slang and scholarly phrasing from colloquialisms. He must be able to recognise idioms for what they are, rather than interpret them literally. And he must be alive of the individual shades of meaning words can have, depending on the context in which they are utilized

However, it is at least as important for a translator to have an excellent command of his native tongue. This requirement is sometimes looked out on, especially when the first-string concern is merely to ‘disengage a source text and happen out what it says. In nine out of ten cases, however, the translator is not just expected to decode a source text but will have to rewrite it in a manner that reflects its style and is fit to the target audience. This calls for an enthusiastic deal of dexterity and creativity, on the translator’s part, in utilizing his personal language. He will necessitate to master an ample variety of registers – conventional, inconventional, idiomatic, humourous – and use them as necessitated. In practice it turns out, unexpectedly perhaps, that translators who neglect nonrecreational criteria do so primarily because of depleted skills in their own language

In addition to the ability to run individual language registers, a nonrecreational translator must have the linguistic skills sets necessitated for translations in ad hoc specialty areas. A court-ordered text obviously calls for an entirely antithetic type of style and terminology than, state, a commercial document or a company brochure. While it is truthful that some translators are specialists, name themselves medical, legal or technical translators, for example, and necessitate little skills outside that careful area, many others have a more all-round profile, which means they will necessitate to evolve a complete insight into the vocabulary, style and phrasing – both in the source and target languages – of a variety of sectors

Accuracy and reliability

Professional translators will also have to meet the dual requirement of accuracy and reliability. By accuracy we intend the ability to interpret the literal contents of the source text, and by reliability the ability to interpret nothing more or less than that

Accuracy requires concentration. The less concentration, the more probable a translator is to misread phrases, make spelling errors, copy the improper figures, confound terminology etcetera. Accuracy is a crucial determinator of client satisfaction. Especially if the client is impotent to measure the linguistic quality of a translation, he will go by his measurement of the things he can judge: spelling, imitating errors etc. – in other words, the translator’s accuracy. Accuracy is therefore a first-string requirement: translators who are structurally faulty will never accomplish truthful professionalism, no matter how passed on their linguistic repertoire

Reliability calls for a coy and durable attitude. A tested translator is one who tries to bring forth as true to a version of the source document in the target language as accomplishable. This means that he will make every effort to spread over the content and intention of the source text in afloat, while refraining from any ad hominem interference with that source. Nothing should be misplaced in translation, but nothing should be appended either. Due to the requirement of reliability, translation can go a balancing act between the necessitate to stay faithful to the source and the desire to produce a bewitching, legible or meaty text. Ideally, a translation should be no more readable or meaningful than its source, although we are alive that this only applies as a scholarly criterion. In commercialised practice, clients will expect translations that meet the quality standards of the target language and audience, irrespective of the quality of the source

Practical constraints

Finally, professionalism in translation presupposes an ability to deal with pragmatic constraints. It is all very well for a translator to bring forth a cold translation of a 300-word source document after two days’ work and conferring with seven specialists – in the world of practice those resources simply acquiredt be accessible. Outside a scholarly context, a translator needs to be competent to interpret a text within an ad hoc deadline, and with a restricted set of resources, which still meets the client’s commonsense standards of linguistic and nonrecreational quality

To sum up

The main criteria by which translators should be meaboundd are authenticity (in terms of a cold hold on of the source and constructive skills in the target language), accuracy (spreading over the afloat content and debarring mistakes) and reliability (making bound nothing is misplaced nor appended in translation), and the ability to deal with pragmatic presbounds and restricted resources. If you are an immature translator, these are the qualities that will be expected of you. If you are a latent buyer of translation services, these are the criteria to use in your supplier selection process

I am Jeanette de Vries, senesced 45, and working as a (court-ordered) translator for about 12 years now

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I am Jeanette de Vries, senesced 45, and working as a (court-ordered) translator for about 12 years now

For more information concerning this subject please visit:

vertaalbureau

Vertaalbureau Engels

Vertaalbureau Duits

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