Myths about Translation and Translators

Myths about Translation and Translators

on 31 Mar 2019

Myths about Translation and Translators

Having an experience of more than 8 years in the language Industry and being a founder of a Berlin-based Translation company Linguidoor, I have come across several myths that are prevalent in the Translation industry. Through this post, I would be attempting to dispel some of these myths.

Myth 1: Translation and interpretation services are synonymous.

Fact: Usually, people consider translation services to be the same as interpretation services. However, they are not alike. Both the services require an entirely different set of skills and workforce to complete the task. Translation is always done in written-form whereas, in the case of Interpretation, an interpreter acts as an intermediary or communicator between two or more parties to communicate orally.

Myth 2: Translation is not required anymore.

Fact: The world has become a global village and English, a global Language. People assume that English can be spoken and understood across countries and thus, Translation Services are gradually going obsolete. While travelling to a non-English speaking country like Germany, you will realize that it is a myth. English is a widely accepted Language but you will still find institutions such as hospitals, courts, offices, schools, colleges, business houses, etc. preferring the local language. Hence, translation services are not outdated, rather they have become more relevant with fading boundaries.

Myth 3: Any bilingual or multilingual person can become a translator.

Fact: It is a misconception that any bilingual or multilingual person is capable of translating a document from the original language to the targeted language. A translator must have an excellent command on both (or more) languages, a clear understanding of regional dialects as well as should be an efficient writer with an in-depth knowledge of the subject i.e translation. Merely possessing knowledge of multiple languages does not qualify an individual to become a translator

Myth 4: Any translator can translate a document on any subject.

Fact: A translator cannot work on a document if he/she does not have an in-depth knowledge of the subject. For example, if a medical document is given to a lawyer for translation or if a legal document is provided to a translator with a medical background, how will each understand the terminology and details referred in that specific document? The true essence of the document may be lost in translation if the translator has no knowledge of the subject.

Myth 5: Online translation tools are as good as a human translator.

Fact: It is a widely accepted notion that google translator or any other free online translation tools are capable of producing results at par with a professional human translator. However, this notion is absolutely wrong. As these online available tools merely convert the words from one language to another without considering underlying constructs of a language such as grammar, sentence formation, important terminology used in the document or any other relevant details, the translation quality of these tools is generally extremely poor. In fact, the resulting translation may actually be downright wrong.

A high-quality translation requires an in-depth knowledge of the subject, skills, training and research.

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