Hiring Professionals: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Translation

As businesses grow and begin to expand internationally, the needs of an organization must change and adapt to new and often very different markets. This more often than not means adapting materials into new languages to better communicate with potential customers. In this day and age, even if businesses are simply expanding to encompass more of the US market, the Spanish language in particular is incredibly important in this endeavor. There are more Spanish-speakers in North America than in Spain, totaling a whopping 52.6 million speakers.

When taking the leap and translating your materials into new languages, it’s important to be sure your business is able to continue to communicate a clear, concise message that maintains the integrity of the company, and that transcends linguistic boundaries. This is the primary focus of the Spanish with Style team assigned to each translation project we undertake,

When it comes time to translate documents or marketing materials, it can be tempting to use methods that seem cheap and easy. Software-based translators such as Google translate are tempting because they work instantaneously.  Alternatively, perhaps you have a friend or family member who speaks Spanish, for example. Although there are often budget concerns, and using a non-professional method of translation can seem quick and easy, there are several pervasive reasons why using a professional translator is very important. The key points are summarized here, and explained later:

  • Spanish Language and Translation Accuracy. Only a professional can know the nuances of the language and ensure that the translation works in the same context as the source document.
  • Quality of the Translated Text. Your message is very important and must use a “best practice” approach to translation of English to Spanish.
  • Control of the Hispanic Communications Project. Be certain your translation project will deliver your message to the proper target audience and knowing the right questions to ask when beginning your project.

Spanish Language and Translation Accuracy.

Getting your message across in the manner in which it was intended to be understood is crucial for success. Online software-based translators such as Google translate can be useful when a general meaning of a word or phrase needs to be deciphered quickly, but Google translate and services like it are not known for their accuracy.  A professional translator who specializes in Spanish translation and copy editing will be able to accurately capture the nuances and colloquialisms, guaranteeing that your message comes across loud and clear, and in a consistent and professional voice.

Similarly, you might have a friend, family member or member of staff who speaks both Spanish and English fluently. While this is an amazing asset to have for any on-the-fly questions or clarifications, there are still clear benefits to hiring a Spanish translation and copy editing professional. There is more to translating than fluency. A Spanish language expert  is trained to look out for common language pitfalls as well as common cultural misunderstandings, and able to seamlessly convey your message in an accurate and natural way that can be easily understood by your target audience.

Quality of the Translated Text.

The quality of translation is another very important point to consider. Think about who you’ve selected to perform specific tasks for your organization or company in the past. When you needed a new logo or marketing materials designed, did you hire a graphic designer? When you needed a redesign for your website, did you consult with an IT specialist?

Translating isn’t just about changing a document from one language to another. The highly specific skills involved in translation also include proofreading, editing, copy editing and creative writing. Professional translators and copy editors have years of training and experience not just in translation, but often in other fields such as journalism, marketing and linguistics – all of which lend the experience necessary to ensure you are getting the highest quality professionally written document, with the original message and intent well preserved. Also, generally accepted best practices of professional Spanish translation and copy editing is a three step process. This means that your document is examined by three separate professionals: a translator, an editor and a proofreader who will more often than not have varied social, cultural and technical experiences throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

Additionally, depending on the specific subject matter of your project, it is important your translator have the particular language and vocabulary skills you require. For example, many English language legal documents are difficult for even native English speakers to understand. By hiring a professional who is specialized in that niche, you can be confident your documents will be translated in an accurate and professional manner. Similarly if you are translating a medical text or a scientific or technical document, hiring a professional with a solid understanding of both the language and the source material ensures the translated document is clear, concise and accurate, and that the appropriate industry specific terms are used correctly.

Professional Spanish translation and copy editors are trained to understand the industry and the cultural needs and wants of the target market. Professionals are able to adapt your unique company message and account for cultural differences while maintaining a consistent voice and keeping in line with your company culture and values.

Control of the Hispanic Communications Project.

Another important aspect you gain when choosing a professional is the element of control. By hiring a person instead of using a software-based translation service, for example, you are able to get to know your translator and have them understand your company’s values, mission statement, goals and company culture. This is advantageous as it allows you to be certain your company’s personality is being communicated in a clear and consistent voice across all marketing materials in both English and Spanish.

Additionally, hiring a professional allows you to be in contact with your translator throughout the project, ensuring that the specific requirements are adhered to, any questions you may have along the way are answered and deadlines are met.

In summary, translation is more than simply a question of changing words from one language to another, or even simply following syntax and grammatical rules. Proper translation must also take into consideration history, culture and social dynamics of the target audience in order to communicate effectively. Professional translation and copy editing services guarantee your message is construed in a clear and consistent voice across both languages, giving you peace of mind your materials are accurate and professional.