Did You Know. . .?

There is terminology in every industry that is unique, and the translation industry is no exception. This is an industry where words rule and the people who work in it like to create new phrases and acronyms that sometimes have translation buyers scratching their head and saying, “What the heck do they mean by that?”

While basic terminology for the translation industry includes “back translation” and “crowd sourcing,” it also contains acronyms like g11n and l10n. For those who are new to the industry I thought I would provide some explanation of the terms used in simple English rather than “techspeak.” Over the next few weeks I will help define typical terminology. We are going to call these blogs “Did you know. . .?”

First up will be translators and editors. These are the people who actually translate and/or edit documents for the language service providers.

Translators – Who are they really?
Translators are normally independent, native-speaking, freelance professionals who work out of their home office or a regular office. They can also be on-staff, bilingual native speakers working solely for the benefit of their employer. The things you need to keep in mind when researching language service providers (LSPs) is their use of specific terminology to describe their translators.

I have gone to LSP websites to review the descriptions of the professional translators that they would use for a project. One website promised to use highly skilled, professional translators with an industry-specific degree or work experience. They advertised their use of only experienced, professional linguists for each project. That sounded great, experienced, professional linguists.  There were only 2 words that were missing that threw out many, many red flags to me. They never once claimed to use “native speakers” in their translator description.

Please check with your LSPs to ensure they are using only native speakers of the target language. A native speaker is going to understand the nuances of the language better than someone who learned it in a classroom.

An editor is a separate translator that reviews the translation and edits it for consistency and clarity. The edited document can then go back to the original translator to accept or reject the edits, or the editor can have the final say in the translation. Again, you should always use native speakers of the target language as editors. They should also be either at the same level or more experienced than the original translator.

Next week I will introduce you to the joys of Client Review and why it is an important step in the translation process.

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