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Permalink 09:44:17 am, Categories: About JB Translations, For translation buyers, 310 words  

Triggering mental filters

If you are like me, you receive a lot of spam messages in your electronic mailbox. Some of these are hoaxes from people asking you to update your details on your PayPal or bank account in order to get access to these and steal your money. A fast scan of those messages is usually all that is needed to determine that they are not authentic. Why so? Because very often they contain quite a few grammar mistakes and misspellings, something that PayPal or your bank would never allow within their messages. The next thing you know, the delete key is pressed and that spam is sent where it belongs.

Grammar mistakes and misspellings not only help determine if an e-mail request is honest or not. They also help determine whether an entire company aligns with PayPal and your bank in seriousness and reliability or if they're just amateurish in their approach to business. You know by heart the "first impression" litany so I won't repeat it here. You probably care a lot about this in your original materials, but sometimes you can end up with translations that overlook this principle.

A rule of thumb would be that if you choose your translation providers first and foremost on pricing considerations, chances are you will end up with a translation that won't do your image justice. There are some authentic and valid ways to lower costs without lowering quality. Our formula entails offering our services on a freelance basis and applying translation memory technology. Other translation service providers may apply genuine alternative methods to bear costs down, but if a company goes below a reasonable price level, they most likely provide sub-standard translated material that will trigger the "amateurish" filter in your target audience's mind when they're considering your services. To the outcome that they will also press the mental delete key!



The proof of the pudding...

A professional translator's bare essentials include translating into your native language, being a proficient writer in your native language, having experience and training in translation, mastering the source language and culture, and being specialized in your subject area.

However, it is not always easy to determine if a translator has all the necessary skills to do a quality job just by looking at the translator's profile, resume or CV. In the past I have collaborated with translators with impressive profiles, but their performance didn't always match professional standards.

One such translator, with more than 10 years of translation experience and having even published an English-Spanish dictionary of technical terminology in his specialization, had a hard time translating correctly the word "set" and a few other basics. And even if he generally wrote in Spanish adequately, very often he would completely miss the point of what the English text was saying. I had to completely rework his translation, instead of editing common human errors and reasonably improving accuracy and language correction, which should be all there is left to do when working with a good translator. Obviously, I never collaborated again with this person.

So you never really know how well your translator is going to perform until you put him to work. He can have translation experience, a master's degree in translation, work experience in your field or who knows what else, but the profile alone does not get the job done.

Here at JB Spanish Translations we hand-pick our collaborators and we retain only the very best. All translations are proofread for accuracy and linguistic correctness and are delivered as a full-fledged, ready to publish product. We have done the tough work for you, so you will not have to go through the trial and error scheme, which can be painstaking and potentially risky for your interests.



Permalink 10:04:46 pm, Categories: For translation buyers, Machine translation, 294 words  

Translate, anyone?

Ray T. Clifford, Director of Brigham Young University Center for Language Studies recently made this brilliant statement: "While the naive public often assumes that anyone who speaks two languages is qualified to be a translator, that assumption is no more valid than the conclusion that everyone with a brain is qualified to do brain surgery." (Source: Deseret News).

The underlying principle of this statement is of course not new for a professional translator, but recently I was able to have it strongly proven to me once more. A prospective client wanted me to proofread a newsletter which had been translated into Spanish by a bilingual employee of his company's. Before stating any rate for this, I asked to see the translation first.

The "translation" was of course the quintessence of awfulness. So much so that I wonder if the employee had realized his lack of qualifications for this assignment and simply turned to an online translator, thinking that it would do a better job than he would. Everything was there: Incomprehensible and badly written sentences, untranslated words (for no good reason), non-existent grammar, and so on. The only correct thing was, there were no misspellings, which makes me think it was indeed an automatic translation. So much for entrusting one of your employees with your translations!

This material could by no means be leveraged for correction into an adequate Spanish text. In these cases I do not have any choice but turning down the assignment as a proofreading job, but offering the client the option of translating directly from the English text, discarding the existing "translation". Which shouldn't necessarily equal a waste of time and resources if at least it helps realize that translation should always be performed by a qualified and professional translator...


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