- Why should I get my text translated?
Your text is aimed at one or more readers — regardless of whether it involves marketing materials, a technical manual, a literary piece or a legal act, your text has one aim and one purpose. It is therefore essential, of course, that your intended reader is able to read the text with ease. Although it is true that many people now have some command of English, it is equally true that many of them are not yet advanced enough to understand every nuance or subtlety that your text may contain. Reading a text in your mother tongue is also undeniably more “comfortable” than reading in any other language. Getting your text translated will therefore not only help your text to circulate more widely, but it will also make the reading experience more comfortable for your audience, both of which are essential for maintaining a positive image of your company.
Furthermore, translation is often, in reality, a necessity when it comes to technical texts, as it is dangerous for anybody to work with a machine or product without fully understanding all the components and how they function.
- I speak English — why should I hire someone else to translate my text?
As mentioned above, most people now speak English to some degree. Some French speakers are, of course, highly competent in English, but a large number of second-language speakers, although capable of expressing themselves and holding simple conversations, have not necessarily mastered the subtleties of the language. A professional translator, who has both sufficient experience and specific training, is therefore essential.
Why? The answer is long and complicated. As explained in the article entitled “What is translation?”, translation is a task that relies primarily on the language into which the translator works. Complete mastery over that language is therefore required, in combination with a full understanding of the source language and the translation process. To achieve this, the translator must be trained in linguistics, translation analysis and translation theory, thereby enabling them to make each decision with confidence, far more so than a person who has not undergone training, regardless of how well they speak the foreign language in question.
Furthermore, all professional translators share the same ethics and values, summarised in part in ISO 12616. These include a commitment to read each text thoroughly, share knowledge, uphold data confidentiality and apply specific translation techniques.
- Why is it so expensive?
Translation is a profession, and every profession deserves to be paid. This applies more than ever when the professional in question must undertake extensive, specialist training and constant research in order to maintain and improve their skills and knowledge. Translation costs, on average, only a dozen euro cents per word, as can be seen in these (albeit dated) reports published by the French Society of Translators (Société française des traducteurs). That price includes a number of costs and processes — the text must be read, translated and revised, knowledge must be exchanged with other experts, and the translator must invest in the software and materials required to produce a correct, eloquent text, while at the same time taking pains to ensure that the client’s information remains completely secure.
- How soon can I expect my text to be translated?
Translators are generally able to handle around 300 words (a little less than one A4 page) per hour. The translator may have other urgent projects under way, in which case we may ask you to wait a little longer for your translation. We make a point, however, of respecting all deadlines agreed upon with each client when the contract is signed.
- How is your service better than just using Google Translate/Bing Translator?
Machine translation engines do exist, and they do serve a purpose to some degree. They are capable of translating single words, out of context, and they often produce several synonyms. They can also be used to give a vague idea about the content of a text where the reader does not speak a word of the source language. They are, however, far from perfect. With regard to just the two examples mentioned in the question, these machine translation engines do not, to any degree, respect the confidentiality of the text — every text that is passed through these tools is analysed and registered by the owners — and they generally produce incomprehensible results. There are a number of reasons for this, into which I will delve further in a blog post.
Regardless of the engine used, machine translation is currently nothing more than a tool which provides an initial impression of a text, without truly enabling the reader to understand it. A human translator, on the other hand, is able to produce a text that is completely comprehensible and, furthermore, to do so with the utmost discretion and respect for confidentiality.
As an example, here is the same text, taken from the previous paragraphs and passed back and forth through a machine translation engine.
“Machine translation tools available, and they serve the purpose to some extent. They are able to translate a few words out of context, and that number is often synonymous. It can also give them an idea of the content of the text in which the reader can not speak a word of the source language. But these are far from perfect. Only about two examples mentioned in the question, the machine translation engines are not, in any degree of confidentiality text – any text that is passed, these tools are analyzed and stored in the owner – and they usually produce unintelligible results. There are a number of reasons, which I find more blogging.
No matter what machine translation engine is currently used for something other than a tool that gives the first impression of the text, without actually allows the reader to understand. A human translator, but it is possible to produce a text that is perfectly understandable, and moreover, it is with the utmost discretion and confidentiality.”