Professionalism in Translation Business
From the very beginning of human history when mankind started to speak different languages, individuals needed to communicate with different tribes to survive, avoid wars and progress. There were neither professional translators nor interpreter to do this job. Probably someone with more imagination than the rest, using body language and a lot of courage was doing this job. It was more a work of guessing than real understanding. A coding and decoding activity was used to get the message across as clearly as possible. The degree of responsibility was also huge. A badly conveyed message could lead to awful consequences. The interpreter was the mediator and had to measure each word very carefully. His family’s fate and his own wellbeing would often depend on those words and his capacity to convey the message accurately and sensibility.
The basic activity of the language interpreter and translator has not changed over time, but the tools, means, knowledge and way of working has revolutionized the profession completely.
Translators and interpreters do not transfer anything physical, but information, information that is never measured in Kilograms, but in computer bytes. Translators can not work as the primitive interpreters and translators anymore. The professionalism of the profession is a must and a necessity.
The translator’s work is not limited to converting one language into another. The end result has to be faithful to the original, nicely presented and competitive in price.
In order to achieve this, the professionalism is essential, some conditions the translators should meet are:
A) Be an upright person to follow a strict professional code of ethics. Translators often come across secret information; be a new invention, a good business chance, a company’s marketing strategy, etc. The good professional translator would never use this information to harm his client. The good professional translator is intelligent and knows that in the long run, honesty and loyalty pays off. The good professional translator knows that being fair to clients, is building his own carrier and his future as translator. These are basic behavior patterns regardless of non disclosure or confidentiality agreements.
B) Master the source and target languages to be able to convey the message faithfully. And specially the target language, where the translator has to transmit the small nuance. A good professional translator will translate to his/her native language or equivalent.
C) Be familiar with the topic or field being translated. The same word could mean something different in Economics or metallurgy.
D) Have some knowledge in computers and modern communication tools. To stay competitive and take full advantage of all its benefits.
E) Have capacity and be ready to learn and adapt to this fast moving technological world. Never stop learning.
F) Make all the points clear right from the beginning. Like cost of translation, delivery deadline, translation format, payment conditions, etc. and then feel the responsibility and HONOR THE AGREEMENT.
G) The translator should never accept translation work beyond his/her capacity. Accepting impossible tasks is one of the best ways to loose customers and build a bad reputation. It is hard to build a trustworthy reputation and very easy to loose it. Therefore always decline impossible tasks. Better say NO than sorry in this case.
The translator following some of the above advice will greatly increase the chances to succeed in this borderless profession where competition is fierce. Nowadays a translator needs to be more professional that in any other profession.
A bricklayer or anybody doing physical work will find competitors in his geographical surroundings. But the translator’s competitor could be located in the South Pole sending the translated work through the Internet. That is why professionalism is not a choice but a necessity.