Just as other living beings on this earth, languages too can be considered complex living entities that are subject to shrinkage, expansion, and change nearly every day. New words and usages get added and some of the old ones get deleted. Therefore, a translation job goes beyond mere replacement of the words. The translator should keep himself/herself with all the changes that are taking place to the target and source languages to be able to produce a translation that is in tune with the times, apart of course from being a factual representation of the original text.
The Cultural Aspect
Apart from the intricacies of a language itself, translations also involve cultural aspects of the source as well as the target languages. This is yet another reason why your translator must have specialized and focused academic achievement in the language pair that he is handling. For instance, if we take the word ‘pickle’ and the target language does not have an equivalent word because pickle is understood differently in that language, the translator has to either explain what pickle is, or research to find how pickle is represented in that language.
Very often professional translators research the topic they are required to work on to get closer to the topic. This way they are able to create a glossary of appropriate words that can be deployed and also gain a basic understanding of what they are about to embark upon. Subject matter knowledge or expertise goes a long way in producing quality translations for the end user. It is also pertinent to know that within a language there are variations, such as in the case of Spanish and these variations have to be tuned in according to the target audience.
A professional translator is also expected to be a good writer. Since the exercise of translating from Spanish to English or vice versa cannot limit itself to a word to word translation, your translator will be expected to reconstruct the document. Thus, he would ensure proper flow of the translated document apart from grammar and spelling issues.
In translating technical texts, the translator enjoys limited freedom to work around . Therefore, translation agencies are more equipped for this kind of assignments. The advantage with translation agencies is that they have access to a wide variety of professionals and it is easier to identify a professional with the required level of technical expertise.
Similar to writing, editing is a specialized function that caters to the quality of a text or document. Apart being knowledgeable in the languages involved, the editor is also experienced in presenting a document appropriately. Ensuring flow of content, eliminating silly errors and ensuring a general degree of presentability are factors that the editor will cater to. In certain areas like academic texts, the translator may also be required to adhere to certain writing styles. The editor would thus be required to ensure compliance with such requirements too.