Facts You Did Not Know About Translators


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I recently wrote an article on why subtitlers are the unsung heroes of cinematography, what it is they do, and what their prowess entails. I thought to myself well I have also written a lot about the art of translation, but I have never really written about the people who do all these translation works that we seem to always enjoy, and who have also helped in bringing the world together, by manipulating and availing different language content to all of us.  In this article, we look at who a translator is, what it is they really do, and their purpose in the world today.

One thing everyone should be able to note is that there are three different translators in the world today. There are service providers that offer professional translators for hire, freelance translators, and machine translators. Service providers who offer translators for-hire are like owned businesses who have professional translators as employees, and so they offer outsourced business plans for anyone in need of translation services. A freelance translator is a professional translator who works at their own time and peril under no strict rules of an employer to offer translation services while machine translators are software that offer simple translation services. In this article, we won’t look at the machine translators rather than the other two.

Large businesses and individuals are constantly looking for translators day in day out to use their services to expand their businesses. This only shows how important translators are and how their work ends up impacting businesses in a positive and great way.  Translators have proven to be useful, resourceful, and sprightly in situations that are rather dull and boring.

Did you know that with the rate at which you will not miss at least 5 professional translators in a group of 100 people? I bet you did not know that, but that is the reality of the matter. We will look at what being a translator entails and some important facts that usually surround the world of translation. You should note that just like how any other service provider or business entity has a set of rules that govern how they work is the same way translators do.

  1. Translators have an extreme level of prowess in what they do
    • If you thought to be a translator only entails being able to have an understanding of different languages depending on the pairs of languages you have to work with, then I would really love to blow your bubble because that is not the case. Just because translators seem like they have it easy by being able to work from the comfort of their homes, doesn’t mean that their work is easy. They must understand the cultural differences of the languages they are working with and also be able to translate and make sure that the context and meaning of the original language are the same as the target language and this needs an extreme level of prowess. 
  2. Translators are certified professionals.
    • I honestly never understand when people conclude that translators are not really professionals because of how the details surrounding their job descriptions are. Well, as much as translators don’t really wear suits and ties, they are every bit of professional just like all office going employees. I bet some of you don’t even know that translators go to school to sharpen their skills. There is a huge number of certified translators in the world today, over 250,000 translators have certificates that show their professional levels. Next time you see a translator better treat them like the professionals they are.
  3. It’s always good to work with more than less.
    • I don’t know who pushed this whole lie that if one is a professional, then they should and must can do all the work by themselves and be able to complete it perfectly. This is the thing with translators there is only so much one translator can do and the more they are the better. Companies who have large files and in search of translators must also pay an amount that matches the amount of work. Translators are professionals, not slaves, and we should treat them like professionals.
  4. A high number of translators usually have English as their target language.
    • I bet this is a surprise to you. English is one of the most translated languages out there, and a lot of translators usually translate different languages into the English language. This is because a lot of documents in different countries are usually in their native languages, and so the need to have them translated to the English language is very high. If you thought everyone in the world speaks English, then now you know that it’s just a small percentage of people who speak English in the entire world. 
  5. There are specific languages that translators work with on a daily.
    • Translators have specific languages that they work with more than the others. Service providers with translation services have caught on the wave, and they hire translators who understand these languages more. These languages are French, Spanish, German, and Japanese. Just like how the English language is globally these languages are next in line and eventually, they will are also global. 
  6. Translators have a hard time translating Arabic documents to any other language.
    • I can’t explain how many translators shy away from any project that needs them to work with the Arabic language. You see how marketing officials get worked up when they have to make a presentation, that’s the same way translators get when they have to work on files that have the Arabic language. First, we usually write the Arabic language is from right to left, while we write other languages from left to right. Next time you see a not so perfect document in the Arabic language, just understand that it’s not the easiest to work with and commend the translators for their effort. 
  7.  Translators denoted that the Chinese language has punctuation marks.
    • Where did these lies come from? That the Chinese language does not have punctuation marks. If it’s not the Chinese who said this, then the person who came up with this conclusion lied and lied big time. Translators who have been working with the Chinese language have been on a journey of making people understand that the language has punctuation marks that also work perfectly well. Can you imagine a language without punctuation marks, is there a language out there that doesn’t have punctuation marks? I don’t really know, but what translators are letting us know is that the Chinese language has punctuation marks.
  8. Translators find vowels hard to translate.
    • Did you know that the hardest thing for translators to translate is vowels? I’m sure you did not. When a translator has to work with languages that are vowel free as the target language from a language that has vowels, this becomes hard for them. There are languages like Arabic, Amharic, Hebrew, and Tigrinya which have no vowels. Translating to these languages is always a hassle for translators. Words like facetious or abstemious are words that would cause world war 3 for translators if they had to translate them to some aforementioned languages. A translator who can translate perfectly well into those languages is an enigma and very rare in that case.
  9. They also get translator blocks.
    • What this means is that translators also come across languages that prove to be very hard for them to work with unless they are native speakers of those languages. I used to think if you do something for a long period, then you become perfect because they also say that practice makes perfect. That is not the case for translators with languages like Arabic, Hungarian, Japanese, Finnish, Korean, Navajo, Icelandic, Basque, Polish and Chinese. You can work on them as many times as possible but every time they meet a new document on any of these languages then it’s like taking on something new and it usually makes things difficult. So the next time, you are getting something translated into one of these languages, give some breathing room to the translator.  He or she knows what they are doing, but they need time.

I will not rule out that translators have it easy with certain language pairs and also have it rough with others. From the facts I have mentioned above, you can tell which pairs are good for them and which ones are usually a little harder. You should be able to understand and respect the work that translators do and give them time to work on a project in order for them to ensure that they offer you the best services they can.

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