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A word about translation

How specialized translators work

Specialized translation is not about one-shots and making it up as you go along. Contrary to popular opinion, this is not a profession for amateurs and language hobbyists. A professional translator should have a specialized degree issued by a translation institute or a university that marks at least five years of study.


Translators should only translate into their native language, which they must take care to maintain to a high-degree of perfection, especially when living abroad. The profession furthermore requires
precise knowledge in one or several areas of specialization. Thus, specialized translators, by definition, cannot be generalists. Specialized translation also requires one to keep an open mind and be able to see sources of possible ambiguity in the original text. Beware of translators who never have any questions.


Finally, a translator must be able to go beyond the basic word-for-word structure of the sentence in order to translate the deeper meaning. This is a complex process that cannot be accomplished by simply opening a dictionary. The translator must faithfully transmit the author’s message while at the same time creating an authentic document in the target language. Thus, translators should never be satisfied with simply calquing the source text. Rather, they must carefully reformulate, or in certain circumstances, adapt the text to give the impression that the translation was first drafted in the target language. To do so, the translator must perfectly understand the source text, and must consult specialists (doctors, engineers, etc) in order to shed light on any ambiguity that might prevent the translation from achieving perfection.


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