Translation, in simple terms, can be defined as the act of conveying the meaning of content from one language to another. This, naturally, requires that the translator should be proficient in both the source and the translated language.
However, language expertise should not be the only factor to look out for while hiring translators. One should also assess whether the person knows the subject of translation or not. This is because the act of translating without knowing the subject often results in an amateurish or inaccurate output.
Here is why:
Every Profession Has Its Own Language
Commonly known as jargons, every professional domain has certain words or phrases that carry a particular meaning in their area of use. Though one may find the meaning of jargon words in the source language by simply Googling them, it is very difficult to know its exact equivalent in the translated language unless the translator knows the subject in and out.
Let us take the case of legal writing. Any legal document will be filled with words like suo motu, habeas corpus, demurrer, statute, etc. Finding out their meaning would not be a challenge, translating them would definitely be.
It is important to figure out the exact equivalents of certain terms in the translated language, or else the translated text would fail to engage serious readers.
It is Not Always About Word-to-Word Conversion
Let us take the example of a research paper published in a medical journal. Being it a research paper in the field of medical science, we can expect every word to have a very specific meaning and, most importantly, the overall message to be very precise.
Translating the paper word to word may not serve the purpose; in fact, it may confuse the reader. Since the text has depth, it must first be understood and only then should the meaning be conveyed in the translated language.
Translating without having a general sense of what the text is about may result in blunders. As a result, it would come across as inadequate from a professional viewpoint.
Prepare for Unnecessary Delays and Missed Deadlines
One of the most common reasons why deadlines need to be stretched is lack of specific expertise. It does not matter whether a translator is professional or disciplined in terms of work schedule; if one is unaware of the subject to be translated, the output will either be shoddy or get delayed because the translator would spend a considerable amount of time reading and researching about the content.
Hence, you may either be paying in terms of time or in terms of quality.
Being aware of the subject is crucial for producing high-quality translated material. One may be able to make do without it; however, the chances of errors occurring are high and the costs may be hefty as well.
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