Is simply knowing two languages enough to be successful as a translator? How well do you need to speak a language to do so? What degree of specialization should a translator have? These are some of the questions we must answer when choosing a translator.
First, it’s not enough just to know two or more languages to be a good translator. There are many other talents that one must have, such as an excellent understanding of texts, writing and creativity. We must not forget that the task of the professional translator is to translate ideas and not words.
Another important issue to consider when choosing a translator is their knowledge of the subject of the document to be translated. Translation degrees are offered at universities and post-secondary institutions around the world. These universities and institutions train professionals not only in the languages themselves, as mentioned above, but also instruct them about the cultures of different countries, the necessary techniques for researching terminology and specific knowledge of areas such as: economics, computer science, medicine, legal, among others.
It is even possible to specialize in these areas. The “certified translator” is a professional specializing in the translation of legal documents, such as birth and death certificates. Moreover, the scientific and literary translator specializes in the translation of technical documents, manuals, websites, stories and novels, among others.
Of course, the more knowledgeable a translator is about the particular area, the better the translation will be. In any case, constant research is an essential task for translators because languages are, after all, living organisms that grow and are constantly changing. Therefore, an important factor to consider is how informed the translator is with regard to the latest developments in their area of specialization.
In conclusion, translating involves much more than just knowing two languages since translators are more than just a bridge between different languages, but rather a bridge between different cultures.