Translation services are the cornerstone of K International’s business. It is the first service we ever provided, and continues to be the overarching element on which our other services are based.
To translate is defined by the Oxford English dictionary as “to express or be capable of being expressed in another language or dialect”. Interestingly, it is also defined as “to express or explain in simple or less technical language”. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who speaks a foreign language is cut out to be a translator. Conveying messages in the appropriate tone is an art and it takes many years to gain sufficient knowledge and experience to become a translator.
Translators must have perfect command of their native language (the target language) in terms of grammar, spelling, and style. They must understand who the target audience is and produce work adapted to this particular audience so that their translation is fit for purpose. Their knowledge of the source language (what they translate from) must be sufficient enough for them to be able to distinguish linguistic nuances and idioms. Different types of translation/different fields require specialist knowledge. Translators combine experience and in-depth knowledge of one or several fields: legal, medical, engineering, etc. through some specific training or qualifications.
Context is a very important factor to obtain a good translation: translating a sentence or a word out of context can have implications to the finished product. In some cases, we will recommend that you speak to our translators directly so that you can discuss specifics such as bespoke terminology, queries, etc. This is often a very positive exercise for both client and translators, when the source file is problematic or lacks the necessary context.
The task of recruiting professional translators rests with our Vendor Manager. They update our database of translators on a daily basis, adding new resources from across the world: translators, proofreaders, interpreters, voice-over artists, etc. Any translator wishing to work with us is required to carry out a test translation, which is assessed independently.
Now, with all this information at hand, we are often asked the question: what should we translate and into which language(s)? This depends mainly on your target audience.
Ask yourselves or ask your client:
- Who are we preparing this document for?
- What is the aim of the translation?
- Will it be printed or uploaded on a website?
This little exercise will allow you to minimise both the costs and the potential issues associated with a poorly prepared brief.