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Why do I need a professional translator?
Translation demands a rare combination of linguistic
and writing skill. Even writers who have become proficient
in two or more languages rarely combine these two
types of skill well enough to translate quickly and
A skilled translator offers benefits that someone
who is "only" bilingual cannot provide:
- Translation involves the communication of concepts,
not just words. The most common mistake an amateur
translator makes is to translate each word literally,
rather than striving to communicate the author's
- Amateur translators often choose words that seem
right instead of choosing the ones that are
right. The most common such error involves what's
called a faux ami (a false friend) in French:
words that resemble each other so closely that the
translator forgets they differ in meaning between
the two languages.
- A professional translator will help you identify
your most important goal: preserving the author's
voice and style and idiom as closely as possible,
creating something with a new voice and style and
idiom that communicates the same message more effectively
in the second language, or finding an acceptable
compromise between these two approaches.
- Professional translators are subject-matter experts,
and have the expert's ability to understand a subject's
jargon and communication style. Moreover, we know
the right jargon and usage patterns to communicate
successfully with different audiences in the target
- Professional translators are more efficient.
In addition to our advanced knowledge of a subject,
we use tools such as lexicons and terminology databases
to find the right words quickly, and can use a range
of tools such as computer-assisted translation
to speed up our work and improve consistency. This
technology can't yet replace a human translator,
but instead helps us complete jobs more quickly
and accurately than would otherwise be possible.
©2004–2013 Geoffrey Hart. All rights reserved