May 24 of this year marked a historical milestone for all professional translators, as Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management of the United Nations, banged her gavel to confirm the approval of a draft resolution on professional translation. This resolution recognizes the important role of professional translation in connecting nations, fostering peace, and promoting international development.

On this day, the UN Department for General Assembly & Conference Management officially declared September 30 as “International Translation Day,” recognizing the vital contribution of language professionals to the United Nations.

To show recognition toward the value of professional translators all over the world, we invite you to join with us to celebrate! Here are three ideas of how to do just that.

Idea No. 1: Thank The Company Providing Your International Translations

Translation isn’t just about words, but rather what words are about. A translator’s profession includes decades of effort and education. This includes developing crucial subject matter expertise and paying close attention to regional and cultural differences—factors that stand at the very core of what effective and accurate translation entails.

A translator’s job goes beyond simply translating words from one language to another. He or she is also responsible for interpreting the heart and spirit of the original message as accurately as possible into a completely different language. A person who writes the source document writes it with a specific intention—a translator needs to take this into consideration and recreate that meaning exactly as it was intended while also making sure the translation meets cultural needs.

So when the time comes to translate your big project, keep in mind that a translator’s job is far more complex than simply “converting” words into another language. Their job entails an impeccable understanding not just of language, dialects, and grammar, but of the source document’s subject matter, as well.

Idea No. 2: Take Time to Bust the Myths of International Translation

International translation has an immense impact on almost every aspect of our lives. It shapes our society, economics, and even our politics, yet many people are unfamiliar with how it works and the processes involved to ensure effective, accurate translation.

In reality, it is a highly diverse and very complex market and much larger than what many people think. In 2012, in fact, $33 billion was spent in outsourced language services alone.

Another myth about translation services is that it is a rapidly fading market. This thought may arise from technological advances in artificial intelligence that are improving machine translation platforms, such as Google Translate.

However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 there will be 83,000 jobs for professional translators in the United States alone. Additionally, this job market is expected to grow by 42 percent from 2010 to 2020—significantly higher than the average of 14 percent for all other professions.

There’s a common thought that anyone who’s bilingual can be a translator.

But consider this: The ability to write in English doesn’t make a person a professional writer. Likewise, the ability to speak two languages doesn’t mean that a person can translate accurately and concisely.

Being bilingual doesn’t ensure a person will effectively convey the meaning, nuances, and cultural sensitivities from the source document. Most professional translators are highly educated with advanced degrees and training in linguistics and a specialty industry.

Idea No. 3: Get a Jumpstart on Your Next International Translation

Accurate, quality translation is the result of good preparation early in the process. The same way you prepare for a product launch in a foreign market or before an important meeting, you should also prepare for your technical translation project. It’ll save you time and money—and ensure your message is conveyed as originally intended, the first time around.

Here are a few quick tips to help you prepare for your next translation project, regardless of your target audience.

Specify Your Target Locale

While you may broadly know the language you need, translations for some languages require you to consider the specific regions or countries that you are targeting. Languages such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Chinese all have substantial linguistic differences depending on the target location. Understanding these differences ahead of time can save you potential embarrassment, as what works well in one location may not make sense to readers in a different region.

Inform Your Language Services Company about Your Content’s Subject Matter

The more detail you can provide, the better. This will ensure your international translation company assigns your project to the highest qualified translators who have subject matter expertise and experience in your specialized industry. And reference materials that helps translators quickly grasp your preferred terminology is always appreciated.

Inquire About The Translator’s Quality Assurance Process

You assign editors to review your original source document. Why shouldn’t your translation go through the same quality review process? Before hiring a technical translation service, make sure part of the company’s process a multi-step quality review process that includes native-speaking editors to ensure a high level of accuracy.

ILS is celebrating International Translation Day by extending our sincere thanks to our loyal clients and continuing to provide quality technical translation to companies looking to successfully spread their message across the globe.

To all of our clients, we’d like to extend a big thank you, gracias, merci, شكرا, grazie, Danke, ありがとうございました, mahadsanid, धन्यवाद!


The Manufacturers Guide to Technical Translation

Learn all you need to know about technical document translation, key questions to ask, and critical pitfalls to avoid.