It may surprise some of our monolingual friends that not all translators are the same in terms of the quality of their work. There are certain factors you can look for which separate the great translators from the good ones. Here are three of our favorites:
#1 Cultural fluency
Cultural fluency refers to a deep understanding of one’s culture. Translation is one component of cultural fluency, but it needs to be absolutely perfect.
A recent Atlantic article covers the release of Skype’s real-time translation. Here’s how the president of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions responded:
Even if they got [the language] 90 percent right, they’re not dealing with the issue of culture … For us, what we call cultural fluency as opposed to language fluency is probably the more critical determinant of business success.
Cultural fluency runs much deeper than translation. But if you don’t get your translation exactly right, then you won’t have a chance at showing cultural fluency.
#2 Idiomatic expressions
Sometimes we don’t realize how many idioms we use in everyday speech. Automated machines are completely inept when it comes to idiomatic expressions, which can easily result in a misunderstanding. To make sure all your idioms get translated correctly, you need to make sure you’re dealing with a very advanced translator.
#3 Regional dialects
Dialects play an important role in translation whether it deals with your native language or the language you’re translating your content to. First, you need to make sure that your translator understands the intricacies of your regional dialect. Moreover, he needs to know the dialect of the area you’re marketing to. In countries like Germany and Italy, dialects change dramatically on a state-by-state basis.
There’s a major difference between casual and professional translation. Using online translators is fine if you want to find your way around a public transportation system outside the U.S., but they don’t quite cut it in a professional context.
To talk more about hiring a translator, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.