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Three Factors to Consider When Picking a Translation Service
April 25, 2018
picking a translation service

You’ve found someone to translate your travel agency’s new brochure into Mandarin. Or, at least, you think you have. They know Mandarin. They’ve spoken it their entire life. And they’re willing to do it on the cheap. What’s not to like? Depending on what you’re translating, maybe more than you realize.

Here are three major factors to consider before outsourcing your translation job to that bright international exchange student who shares a college dorm with your daughter.

Knowing the language is not enough.

If you’re looking for a professional translation service, you probably have already figured out that the free translation software available from various websites is inadequate to the task. Why is that the case? Because, as sophisticated and clever as the artificial intelligences and algorithms that power these services have become, they remain culturally illiterate. They are not human and lack the capacity to sense nuances in tone, subtle differences between similar contexts, or even to recognize many common idiomatic usages.

For the same reason, a robust translation service must offer more than the ability to render words from one language to another. Para-Plus translators don’t just know the language in which they specialize; they know the culture. Familiarity with the culture allows a skilled translator to know, for example, when a direct translation of “broadcast news” in a particular language actually means something closer to “spread gossip,” and they will know what phrase or expression will better convey the intended meaning.

Business or pleasure?

As in English, different contexts call for different applications of language. A news article will use words and phrasing that can be quite different from a school administrator’s letter to students’ families. A public safety announcement from an emergency management agency will feel very different to a reader than a magazine article about a new restaurant opening. They may all utilize the same language, but they draw upon different frames of reference.

A Para-Plus translator has the skill and the writing ability to make appropriate choices when translating your materials into your target language. This allows for the composition of natural-sounding documents that a reader won’t realize were written originally by someone who didn’t speak their language.

Don’t translate yourself into legal peril.

In many countries, including the United States, making public representations in print carries certain legal obligations. The nature of these obligations varies widely by jurisdiction, which would make international publication of marketing materials or other business documents complicated enough, even before translation is factored in. Inaccuracies in translations can damage your reputation, lead to  potential lawsuits and ultimately cost you time and money. Para-Plus translators have the experience and background necessary to get your promotional messages into the local vernacular without running your business afoul of local law.

When choosing a translation or interpretation service, keep these three tips in mind to ensure that your language project is completed accurately. If you would like to discuss how Para-Plus Translations can help you or your organization, please call us at 800-558-3011.

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