Clients unfamiliar with the process of document translation will sometimes ask the translation company to complete a “quick and easy” document translation. It may be because the text seems relatively short or the subject matter pretty straightforward—as in a business letter, for example. When it comes to professional translation services, however, it is important to understand that all document translation jobs, no matter how small or straightforward they seem, can become quite complicated very quickly and need, at the very least, time allotted for activities such as terminology research.
All documents sent for translation must thus be carefully evaluated before a translator and translation agency commit to a deadline. A short text dealing with a complicated subject, such as the latest trends in technology, or with extensive use of scientific jargon, can take as much time to research and translate as a much longer text of a different subject matter or in a simpler linguistic style. The translation company and translator will draw from their experience to identify and overcome difficulties when reviewing and completing professional document translation assignments.
While computer-assisted translation tools such as translation memories may seem like they could be a big time-saver, one of the risks of using them—as discussed in an earlier article—is the tendency to recycle translations. Translation memories can be very useful to assure consistency when dealing with larger professional document translation projects, but they basically involve reusing past translations. Due to context considerations, it is almost impossible to use the exact same translated string in a new document, even if it is similar and deals with much the same subject. This does not mean that every phrase necessarily needs to be retranslated, but that the translators have to make sure it is translated in the most accurate way possible.
Although the sheer size of a document in terms of word count adds to the complexity of document translations—and of course, if the volume is greater, there is more room for errors—close attention to details must be paid regardless of the word count, and every text has to go through a 3-step process of translation, editing, and proofreading.
Last but not least, it is crucial to get the tone and formality level right in any document translation—particularly in business correspondence, as a matter of fact, even it is just a short letter, but also in fields like marketing and advertising. This cannot be accomplished by a computer program, and it requires thought and in-depth knowledge of source and target culture on the part of the professional document translator.
Professional translators working for top document translation services companies such as Legal Translation Solutions and its parent company, ASTA-USA Translation Services, Inc., take every translation assignment equally seriously and complete every project with uncompromised professional dedication.