If Translators Are Not Invisible, They Are Not Good

One of the virtues of translators and interpreters must be discretion and the ability not to be noticed.

When the reader knows that he is reading a translation, he can be sure that he is not in front of a good job. However, this ability to “disappear” that professional translators have in the industry does not mean that there is not much work behind each translation delivered or behind a interpretation.

invisible translators

Today we are going to see what exactly happens from the moment that YBD receives a call requesting a translation into Chinese, for example.

When a client calls us to request a translation, he has in mind his objective: to have a text in the language in which he needs it, within a certain period of time.

But we need to know much more to offer you a satisfactory job. Apart from the source and target languages (in our example, English and Chinese, respectively), we have to know what kind of text we are talking about: is it an instruction manual for a washing machine? A contract between two companies? A sale between individuals? A certificate of studies? A webpage? Is it about marketing, cooking, sport …?

The importance of this information lies in the fact that one of the most important functions of a Chinese translation agency, part of the added value that clients are looking for, is the selection of the appropriate translator. In the market there are many professional translators, with more or less experience, quality and specialization. Our job is to select the one who best meets the requirements of the client, that professional translator who “will become invisible” so that nobody notices that the final text is not really an original text.

When we know exactly what the text is about, we select the translator (following our example) and manage the deadlines with him or her.

Occasionally, the client has terminology or style preferences; they may even have their own glossaries because they are accustomed to request translations. This always facilitates the work and puts us on the right track to meet your expectations, although it is not essential because, as we have seen, we always make sure that our translators have proven experience in each of the areas in which they work.

Besides the translator, there is a very important person for this process: the reviewer. We are all human and we can make mistakes and, no matter how good the professionals of our great team, nobody does an impeccable job always. That is why the reviewers, who with their visual acuity and attention to detail are able to detect a comma out of place or an omission somewhere in the text.

These professionals are also essential because they have an overall view of the work. They act as the first recipients of the text and this gives them a different perspective and complementary to that of the translator.

Still, depending on the type of text, our recommendation is to make a final review. In this case, it is not a detailed reading of the text, but a verification that the format is followed according to the requirements for this translation and that nothing is missing.

Sometimes even two reviews of this type are done: one before the translation reaches the reviewer and another before sending it to the client. This is done when the text presents a greater complexity of format, for example.

Finally, the translation is delivered to the client, in the format, language and date requested.

As you can see, a process of translation involves many people and requires different skills.