People often think that if you can speak French you can automatically translate information from English to French. Some feel that getting a degree in French is enough to become a translator to show you are certified. Others believe the key to growing a translation business is just finding customers. Some of those things are important and the daily life of translator encompasses all of those and much more. So what makes a translation expert?
After translating documents for over 30 years I can tell you there is a lot more to translating documents than just speaking the language. The translation is very similar to artists creating a picture. An artist can draw a picture but adding their own unique flair is what makes the image artistic and creative. Don’t worry as a translator we won’t be getting creative with your document but we will dig further to ensure the translation is understood properly by your audience.
The translation is only part of the procedure of translating a document. The first thing I learned when I started my translation business is that the customer wants their project back the way that they sent it. Many of our documents come as part of a template or presentation and that requires us to be able to translate the document and deliver it in the same format that it was sent. This was a big awakening when I started and something we pride ourselves on to this day.
The real secret sauce is being investigative and I have always been that way. Some might say to the point of being a pain, but as I say, “If you don’t ask questions you won’t get answers. This one trait has made our business successful. I always try to push myself to not just settle for the first word that comes along but to see if there is a better word or phrase that would explain the idea or message better.
The other factor is understanding and knowing the region we are translating for so we understand the dialect of the region. We only translate for the Province of Quebec and not Creole French of Louisiana, French of Paris France, or other areas that speak French. That’s because each area has their own terms, phrases, and dialect that we may not be familiar with.
When choosing a translator or becoming a translator realize it is much more than just being able to speak the language. You need to be investigative, organized, and familiar with different types of computer programs because, “That’s how Quebec expects it!”
About the Author
Carmen Outridge is the owner of Outridge Translation Services and has been translating documents between English and French for over 30 years. Carmen is from the Eastern Townships part of Quebec and understands the language and dialect of Quebec. To learn more about Outridge Translation Services or to get help with your next project visit www.outridgetranslation.com