What differs a professional translator from a person knowing one or several foreign languages?

A lot of people know one or more foreign languages. However, the level of knowledge can be very different from one person to another. If you need to be guided or to carry out purchases in a foreign country it is one thing. If you need documents to be translated or negotiations to be carried out with a foreign partner, then it is another thing. An incorrect translation, accidentally or due to lack of knowledge, can lead to failure. That is why people tend to employ professional translators who can guarantee the quality of their services.

A professional translator has, as a rule, a special linguistic education with a comprehensive knowledge of both source and target languages. He/she masters not only foreign language, but also the skills of translation. The professional translator is someone who provides an exact transfer of information, including preservation of the style. He/she should be familiar with the culture, customs, and social settings of the source and target language speakers, as well as with different registers, styles of speaking, and social stratification of both languages. This socio-cultural awareness, can improve quality of the translations to a great extent.

It is important to know that it takes much more than a dictionary to be a good translator, and translators are not made overnight. To be a good translator requires a sizeable investment in both source and target languages. It is one of the most challenging tasks to switch safely and faithfully between two universes of discourse. Only a sophisticated and systematic treatment of translation education can lead to the development of successful translators. And the most arduous part of the journey starts when translation trainees leave their universities. 🙂

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