A professional translator vs multilingual employee: 4 important considerations

The personnel of many multinational companies includes native speakers of are dozen global languages ​​that belong to different cultures. When you need to translate a foreign language documents such as contracts, operation guides or websites, many managers are wondering whether to perform a professional translation or to make it with the help of their multilingual staff. These employees understand the company’s business, and you do not have to pay them. Would not it be cheaper to make it with the help of company’s internal resources?

  1. Translation skills

Translation is more than “just talk” in another language. Knowledge of two or more languages ​​does not make you qualified translator. Translator should be able to convey the meaning of the author’s words and do it a way that meets the target market. Translation is acquired ability to express ideas formulated within a certain culture and a certain field into another language, so that the message transmitted to another audience remained unchanged. This ability acquires over many years of practice, after the person gets the required knowledge of the language. This is essential when you need technical translation.

  1. Context

Translation of documents, especially in marketing and technical field, is a linguistic landmine field. Not only grammatical and structural rules are different in every language, but also an essential element of cultural context can cause damage in case of a literal translation.

Only a small number of words have direct equivalents in two different languages; so conveying of accurate meaning of the original language is almost impossible. Interpretation is always present in some way, and translator must have specialized linguistic and technical knowledge for this.

  1. Cultural sensitivity

No native speaker would not be familiar with all aspects of modern idiomatic language. In other words, although they may be able to continue the conversation, or even have a very good understanding of written and spoken language, they will not have an acute language sensitivity. This fact is obvious to native speakers, when they read translations in their own language. Even native speakers, who have lived abroad for some time, are not always able to perform precise idiomatic translations.

Foreign employee may be unfamiliar with many technical terms and industry jargon that is currently being used in many countries. Technical translator must possess all these qualities. Terminology is constantly changing and maintaining its consistency within one set of documents is a difficult task that takes a lot of time. Translators have special tools for terminology management, as well as many specialized reference materials, bilingual technical dictionaries, etc.

  1. Time

Even if the regular employee was able to create translation of a good quality, he would have needed more time for the translation, and the result would be lower comparing to specially hired professional.

As a result, the cost of badly done translation is much higher than the savings form the use of services of regular employees, in terms of damage to company’s image (badly written text immediately creates a negative impression) and the need to review more recent versions of documents that were incorrectly translated for the first time.

Furthermore, the multilingual person was not likely employed to translate documents. He was hired to do other work. The translation takes time from other tasks, namely, those for which that person was primarily trained and hired. The work of a professional translator is to perform translations. The reliable professional will always follow the agreed schedule adhere to deadlines. Regular employee can be forced to postpone work on the translation due to unexpected problems on another project, for example.

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