Spanish Translation  //  Traductor inglÚs-espa˝ol  //  Traduction franšais-espagnol

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09/25/06

Another disappointment with a "hyper-qualified" Spanish translator

So I had the chance to test a new professional Spanish translator who seemed very promising. He had a wide scope of education in several subjects including university training in translation, along with years of experience in the profession and clearly determined areas of expertise.

The outcome? The Spanish text he delivered was mostly terminologically accurate and it carried no misspellings. That is almost all the positive side there was to it.

Two basic principles were completely overlooked: the passive voice is far less commonly used in Spanish than in English (Spanish uses the active voice in all but rare cases), and possessive adjectives are also less frequently used in Spanish which just constructs sentences in a different way. These are just two examples, and when basic principles such as these are not respected by the translator, then it is likely that many other basic and not that basic issues will be present in his or her text. The overall translation in these cases is somewhat artificial and uses a poor style, reproducing the way sentences are constructed in English rather than generating a Spanish text that looks like an original, which should be the aim of all professional Spanish translators.

Solid qualifications are many times the only means for some translation buyers to predict the performance of a potential translator provider. The problem is, a solid profile alone is not a full guarantee of quality performance as I have regular proof. This is why I apply the utmost care and careful testing to my prospective collaborators. I also always review the work of my trusted and regular collaborators, because even highly skilled professionals are human and can produce light errors. I am far from infallible myself, but when two quality-aware professionals work together and complement each other, chances are that they will produce an excellent quality final product. But quality must be there from the beginning (the translator).

I am considering the possibility of creating a new weekly section sharing key Spanish translation guidelines, because I can't stand the thought of this kind of performance becoming the standard, and I would like to help my Spanish translator colleagues if I can, whether they work for JB Translations or not.

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