Translation Today Network
Chicago area professional interpreting and translating agency

Translators convert written materials from one language into another. They must have excellent writing and analytical ability. And because the documents that they translate must be as flawless as possible, they also need good editing skills.

Assignments may vary in length, writing style, and subject matter. When translators first receive text to convert into another language, they usually read it in its entirety to get an idea of the subject. Next, they identify and look up any unfamiliar words. Multiple additional readings are usually needed before translators begin to actually write and finalize the translation. Translators also might do additional research on the subject matter if they are unclear about anything in the text. They consult with the text’s originator to clarify unclear or unfamiliar ideas, words, or acronyms.

Translating involves more than replacing a word with its equivalent in another language; sentences and ideas must be manipulated to flow with the same coherence as those in the source document so that the translation reads as though it originated in the target language. Translators also must bear in mind any cultural references that may need to be explained to the intended audience, such as colloquialisms, slang, and other expressions that do not translate literally. Some subjects may be more difficult than others to translate because words or passages may have multiple meanings that make several translations possible. Not surprisingly, translated work often goes through multiple revisions before final text is submitted.

The way in which translators do their jobs has changed with advances in technology. Today, nearly all translation work is entered into a computer, allowing most assignments to be received and submitted electronically. The internet provides advanced research capabilities and valuable language resources, such as specialized dictionaries and glossaries.  While translators’ work is aided by computers, it cannot be replaced by them.  Computers have the ability to translate literally, word for word, but they don’t have the ability to logically comprehend the content of the message, or the intent of the written communication.

Medical translators: Translators working in this specialty primarily convert patient materials, informational brochures, medical forms and documentation issued by hospitals and medical facilities into the desired language.

Legal translators: Legal translators work with documentation filed with governmental bodies, election and ballot materials, personal materials required for immigration purposes, and contracts.

Corporate translators: Translators working on corporate materials handle specialized texts such as catalogues; industrial, technical and scientific manuals; patents; technical documentation; employee benefit materials; sales literature and packaging materials.

Technical translators: Technical translators must have knowledge of the terms used in the document.  Words that have very precise meaning in one language may not have an exact literal translation in another language. Technical translators must have an intimate knowledge of their particular area of expertise.

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