• Continental Interpreting

5 Reasons to Use a Professional Document Translation Service

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

5 Reasons You Need a Professional for Document Translation

Document translations aren’t as simple as a word-for-word rendering.  Language creates meaning through nuance, context, and presentation – which exists beyond the literal level. When translating essential business documents, it’s incredibly important to ensure accuracy in both the literal and implied meanings.

Many businesses mistakenly choose to use a bilingual employee or online translation application to translate documents into other languages.  In doing so, they’re often failing to recognize the potential risks – such as misunderstandings from employees and inadvertent legal liability.  Working with a professional translator ensures accuracy and readability while also addressing a multitude of other challenges.

1. Translate Meaning – Not Just Words

An individual who hasn’t been trained in proper translation techniques will often simply translate each word in the sentence with its literal meaning in the target language. In doing so, the “big picture” meaning of the sentence, paragraph, or document often gets lost.  Whether it’s a human resource department translating the company handbook or the marketing department working on a cross-cultural campaign, professional translators ensure your messages are effectively and accurately communicated.

2. Maintain a Professional Voice

We’ve all read documents that were written by someone who had a poor grasp of grammar, spelling, and style.  Every one of your business documents should maintain a professional voice in order to properly reflect your company, regardless of the language in which it’s being presented.  Professional translators are experts at creating translated content with pristine grammar and syntax, so it doesn’t read like a translation.

3. Avoid the Common Pitfalls

From pragmatic issues to cultural ones, inexperienced translators often fall victim to common pitfalls, which require true expertise to navigate.  For example, different languages have varying standards for the formal versus the informal “you” – leaving your message inappropriately polite or casual if translated poorly.  Idioms and metaphors shouldn’t be translated verbatim but should (when possible) be replaced with corresponding phrasing in the target language.  Using a professional for your document translations ensures the right questions get asked, assumptions are never made, and your final document is expertly written.

4. Proper & Consistent Use of Terminology

Industry-specific terminology poses a unique challenge for document translations.  Professional translators are more likely to know the proper industry-specific terms