WHAT does a professional human translator do by Marita Supa lgbtq entrepreneurs lesbian business startup owner lgbt founders global networking community online OutBuro

What Does a Professional (Human) Translator Do?

A translator is someone who converts the written word from one language to another. The most important requirement is that they be fluent in English and at least one other language. A translator is a specialist in more than one field, from basic ones like greetings to scientific, more complicated like nuclear engineering. To be a translator from one language to another, a person has to learn all the time. There are always new things that a translator can learn. Translators have help in CAT tools and machine translating software. Although artificial intelligence translation tools have made significant advances in the past few years, they are not without error and some of those errors could be costly making your business or project look unprofessional and miss opportunities.

Machine Only Translation Blunders

For example, taking one language and doing a strictly literal translation can sometimes create near comical results is using only AI tools and/or a translator not proficient in the common everyday use of the language with all the nuances. Take for instance messages you receive on LinkedIn or in your email. You have likely received a message recently here in 2020 with an introduction of “My Dearest….” or even “My Darling”. No American or any native English speaker anywhere today starts off a business communication like that – Full Stop Period. That is unless you are trying to sound like a 1940’s romance novel. Today it frankly sound creepy and is 99.99% sure to be SPAM. It wreaks of SPAM signals that will get your site, profile and email blocked.

If your business depends on foreign markets you should, NO, you MUST use a professional human translator who is fluent in your target audience’s language. Else, you are losing opportunities by not being viewed as credible.

What kinds of projects might you use a translator for?

  • Website text
  • Blog text
  • Video/movie subtitles
  • Print material text
  • SEO localization
  • Whitepaper text
  • Articles and Press Release text
  • Speech/Industry Talks translation
  • Client/customer templates messages such as prospecting and support
  • Any form of communication
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

What tools do professional translators use?

Most professional translators use some type of translation memory software, often called TM. The term Computer Assisted Translation is also used.

These programs compare each sentence in the text with previously translated sentences and phrases, to generate a possible translation. Then the human translator modifies this translation as needed.
There are many advantages to this. Mainly, the translator does not have to retranslate stock phrases or common terminology over and over again. They also have features to check for accuracy in numbers, or that a translator has translated certain terms consistently throughout the entire document. Many Programs today also let the translator send a phrase or sentence to be translated by an outside source, for example, a TM server run by an agency, or a machine translation service such as Google Translate.

There are several companies that offer the software and they all do more or less the same thing. They each have strengths and weaknesses. Some are more expensive and have more features. Some software is better suited for people working on very large projects that cannot be accomplished by one translator in the given time. The one I use is most suited for an individual freelance translator.
All of them should be used only by a translator. In fact, I believe it is much better for a translator to work without such a program, at least in the beginning, and then use the program only once they have learned the basics of translation.

Translators in some fields, such as marketing, sales catalogs, etc. don’t like to use TM. They say that it inhibits their creativity, and the result will sound too much like a translation.
Another type of translation that is growing is the post-editing of machine translation. In this method, a machine translation program is used to generate a first draft. Then a human translator revises it. The machine translations are getting better, but for now, most individual translators do not like to do this work. It’s usually not as interesting and some translators find that machine produced translations have strange and annoying errors in them. Also, the client in those cases often does not pay the translator as much. But the software is getting better, and most of us will be doing something along those lines in the future.

Quote by: Steven Marzuola

What are the different types of language translators?

Three main types of translation are human translation, machine translation, and post-edited machine translation. So you can call a person or a computer translator. And if it’s the former, you can distinguish translators based on what type of translation they specialize in.

So some distinguish between literary (prose, poetry, plays) and informative (scientific, technical, newspapers, documents etc) translation, on the one hand, and between written and oral translation (or interpretation), on the other hand. So there are interpreters and translators, and translators could be grouped into literary translators, science translators, technical translators and so on (the grouping is based on what kinds of works a translator translates).

And also there are two different types of interpreting: consecutive interpreting (the interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished speaking) and simultaneous interpretation (the interpreter translates the message in the target-language as quickly as he or she can formulate it from the source language, while the source-language speaker continuously speaks).
Also, you can distinguish between intralingual translation (translation within the same language, which can involve rewording or paraphrase), interlingual translation (translation from one language to another), and intersemiotic translation (translation of the verbal sign by a non-verbal sign, for example, music or image). So you can say there are intralingual translators, interlingual translators, and intersemiotic translators.

Quote by: Darla Rogers