In this time and day, translating content is a must as it enables effective communication between people across the globe. It is a way of transmitting knowledge, protecting cultural heritage, reaching new target audiences, and, most importantly, the key to the development of a global economy.
More so, companies and governments must communicate and regularly publish information in more than one language thanks to existing and potential customers, business partners, and in most cases, even employees working in other countries.
But, contrary to popular belief, translating text is not a mechanical or monotonous task. It requires specific abilities and experience. Many capable individuals are well-versed in different languages and might be able to give you a fair translation; if you are looking for more than “okay,” translations that are both effective and efficient need to hire a professional translator.
Why? Below I will present you seven reasons as to why you need a professional translator:
1. The text will flow more naturally
One of the most significant benefits of hiring a professional translator is that you can be certain that your text flows (and “sounds”) naturally. Specialists can pick-up on nuances or details that an ordinary person could miss. Remember, your translation is intended for native speakers, and so your result must be a bullet-proof translation.
2. There is less room for mistakes
It goes without saying that a professional translator will have plenty of experience translating content. And thus, he/she will avoid making rookie mistakes such as:
- Trying to translate colloquialisms, witty lines, or “untranslatable” words.
- Translating text without care for the original document’s style and tone.
- Assuming numbers are the same in every language, because there are not! (i.e., metric system vs. imperial system.)
- Ignoring new trends and evolutions of the languages — for instance, the RAE (Real Academia Española) recently included words such as “marketing” and “tweet” as acceptable terms.
- And more.
Furthermore, a professional translator will be aware of common issues that appear in different types of translation. In other words, translating a legal document is not the same thing as translating a website or an ad. A specialist will know how to cater to each medium and ask the right questions to ensure the result is up to your standards.
3. You will save valuable time
Another good reason for hiring a professional translator is that it will save you valuable time. Translations can prove to be very demanding, taking considerable time depending on the length and complexity of the text at hand. An expert will most likely be able to do the job in half of the time it will take an average person to do it.
The average translator can cover 300 words an hour — roughly 2,5000 words per day based on recent statistics. So, the typical turnaround time for a 1000-3000 word document would be 1-2 days. It might not seem too relevant when translating short texts, but if you are looking to translate, let’s say, a novel or an entire website, hiring a trained translator will save you valuable time (and money.)
4. Your text will include a much richer an accurate vocabulary
Proficiency in a language is not enough when translating text. You also need to understand syntax, grammar, spelling, and have an extensive vocabulary to ensure you don’t end up with a monotonous, repetitive copy.
Hence, it is far more likely that a skilled translator will be able to use industry-specific terminology, slang (if need be), and a more extensive range of words. This quality is especially important when your source language (the original language) is not as “rich” as your target language (the language you are translating into) as it is the case of English-Spanish translations.
5. They understand cultural differences
A good translator is not just conscious of the nuances in another language. He/she will also consider the cultural differences between the original audience for which the text was intended and the new target audience.
It is imperative not to underestimate the value of this cultural sensibilization as a bad translation could have catastrophic consequences for your business or brand. Let’s take, for example, Coors’ beer “Turn it loose!” campaign. In the United States, the idea worked as it referred to relax, have fun, be free. But, when the campaign was introduced in Spain, it translated to “súeltate,” which in short gave people the impression it would give them diarrhea.
6. You will benefit from consistency
Another vital thing to know is that when you hire a professional translator, you are paying for consistency. Thus, you can rest assured that your text will always flow naturally, follow the same tone and style, and use appropriate vocabulary.
7. They will translate meaning and not words
The last thing you want to do is translate a text word by word or “verbatim” as it will 99% of the time lose its meaning. Hence, you will end up with a blurb of absurd words and make your company seem unprofessional and careless.
A professional translator will focus on the meaning of the text rather than the words it uses. Keep in mind that the same phrase or idea can be written very differently depending on the language and that, as I mentioned before, many words are “untranslatable.” For instance, some examples of words that exist in Spanish that do not exist in English include:
• Antier – the day before yesterday
• Consuegro(a) – the name the father or mother of the bride will use to refer to the father or mother of the groom.
• Estrenar – to wear/use something for the first time
On the other hand, many English words do not have a literal Spanish counterpart, such as insight, bully, awkward, commuter, stare, spam, and more.
There you have it! Only a good English to Spanish translator will keep that in mind. So, next time you are thinking about using automated translation software or asking your friend who might (or might not) be fully proficient in a language, consider these eight reasons.
A professional translator could be an additional expense for your company or brand, but in the end, the investment will be worth it!