The process of translating, literally “carrying across”, is as old as written language. But in the global village of today, foreign language translation has become the crucial tool that facilitates communication in all relevant areas of modern life – technology, health, law, science, art, and, of course, business. An international market would be unthinkable without the services of translators and translation agencies.
There are over 6,000 living languages and hundreds, possibly thousands, of different language combinations are translated worldwide on a daily basis. While some may think that translation is something that can be easily handled by a computer or by anyone who speaks more than one language, the truth is that translation and translation services is a highly specialized, complex field.
Computer programs cannot replace human translators, since computers do not have the capability to understand the complexities of language and its continuous evolvement. Professional translators must have an in-depth knowledge of their working languages and an excellent command of the nuances and subtleties in language use. Language exists only in association with and in the context of culture, and the translator’s knowledge and understanding must encompass concepts and intricacies of the language he or she is translating from as well as the language he or she is translating into.
The process of translation itself involves moving continuously between two languages and mind frames and requires excellent concentration skills, vast vocabulary and a keen sense for tone, intention, metaphors, and idiomatic expressions. In order to provide professional services, translators need to specialize in one or more fields such as medical, technical or legal translation. National associations and institutions offer certification programs and accreditations, and top translations agencies and language services work exclusively with certified professionals.
While poor translations are sometimes harmless and funny – like the sign in the Paris hotel lobby that says “Please leave your values at the front desk” – they can more often than not have disastrous effects on individuals and businesses alike. Only professional translators and translation services will carry your text safely across the gap between the languages.