The key to success for any good translation agency is the quality of their translators. Our translators are always professionally qualified linguists who are native of the target language. We select translators for individual assignments not only on the basis of language pair, but also area of specialism. The reason for this is that different types of translation require different skills, as well as specialist terminology. Legal translation, for example is all about fidelity to the original, and doesn’t usually need to read particularly well (in the sense that the original text was not written as a literary masterpiece, or to convey a marketing message, but rather to express legal concepts), so the skill is about correct use of terminology, and accurately conveying the legal meaning of the source text. Marketing translation on the other hand, is all about flow and feel of the text in the target language, fidelity to the original may be the last thing the client needs, for example the style and tone of the original may be inappropriate to the target market, concepts expressed may be quite abstract, and need adaptation to convey a similar message in the target language. Marketing translation is normally much more focused on localisation of the message to suit the intended audience, whilst legal translation is much more literal, and is all about faithfully expressing the original meaning.
Wherever possible we use the same translators for the same clients, this builds consistency, and the translator gets to know the client’s needs over a period of time. We also make extensive use of translation memory, which is essentially a record of previous translations for the same client, this ensures the greatest possible consistency of terminology from one assignment to the next.
All our translators work freelance, which means that they also work for other agencies and end clients. This gives us the greatest possible flexibility with range of languages and specialisms. Some clients think that in-house translators are an advantage, but actually the danger here is that an agency can’t offer the range and flexibility of translation services because they have to use the in-house team, even if there isn’t a good skill match.
The skills we look for in translators are as follows:
1) professional translation qualifications and training, together with evidence of continuous professional development.
2) excellent understanding of both source and target languages in their chosen areas of specialism.
3) a mix of UK based and in-country translators, with up to date language knowledge.
4) an eye for detail and accuracy of work.
5) IT skills including understanding and use of industry specific software such as translation memory, on-line glossaries and databases.
6) excellent communication skills, both written and oral. Translators can be very isolated and we actively encourage them to engage with project managers and work as a team.
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