Nine myths about the profession of a translator

One of the most ancient occupations in the world is a translator. It is not so widely discussed topic, that’s why people have many misconceptions about this kind of work. So, here are nine myths about the profession of a translator:

1. Anyone who knows a foreign language can make a translation

It is true but at what level? Good enough to send an e-mail for a foreign friend or chat with one in Skype? Working with voluminous technical or marketing materials, which requires not only a common understanding of general meaning of a source, but also all specific details as well as the correct structure of sentences, not to forget about grammar.

2. The demand for professional translation falls

With the volume of international contacts and thus the volume of documents to be translated growing faster over the past few years, the demand for professional translation boosted and not shrank as it may seem. A huge number of people wishing to get professional linguistics assistance proves the high demand for this occupations.

3. Nothing has been changing in this profession for centuries

Workplace translation technologies have changed dramatically in just a few years. Little by little, electronic dictionaries ousted shelves cluttered with paper dictionaries. Special software for freelance translators increased productivity by about 40%. So, nowadays translators can handle more work than their colleagues a couple dozen years ago.

4. One needs linguistic education to be a translator

Yes, it is useful. But most professional technical translators have technical education, and then the language of passion led them to obtaining foreign language education.

5. Linguist translator cannot adequately translate complex technical texts, only a field expert can do it

Of course, the expert working in any field for years has a specialized knowledge of this field and terminology. However, the interaction with the customer allows making high-quality translation of even the most highly specialized texts by a linguist! This work requires a thorough study of literature, reference materials of the customer, many hours of browsing online, and a glossary study. But, of course, high-end translation can be done only by the professional translator with an adequate experience.

6. Translation is an easy money

Translation is the work of sitting and not really moving for 8-10 hours a day, which requires utmost concentration and accuracy. Add to that the frequent “rush jobs” to be completed for yesterday … This kind of work requires stamina, constant self-education and professional development. It is not an easy task to keep abreast of all the innovations.

7. Translation is tedious and not creative profession

Despite the assistance of computer-aided technologies, translation has been and remains a creative profession. Translation of even short phrases can have several alternatives. Searching for an adequate meaning of some term can take hours, it is true but thinking over the foreign language equivalent of a slogan or some expression can be a real creative puzzle which is interesting to solve.

8. The role of the translator in the current business environment is low

During negotiations the role of an interpreter is not only to interpret from one language to another, it is about creating an atmosphere of mutual understanding and partnership. A translator helps to gain an understanding for people who not only speak different languages, but also the representatives of the different cultures who have different traditions and ideas about business practices. Participation of a good linguist who knows not only rules of grammar but rules of good human relationship increases the chances of successful completion of negotiations and fruitful cooperation.

9. Translation is a small business

Large-scale projects can cost thousands of dollars and won’t leave you without daily bread. Modern technologies like CAT tools and management systems make translation companies profitable businesses.

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