"You can only excel in something by constantly striving to improve it." (Philip Rosenthal, entrepreneur, *1916)
If you require a high-quality translation, there is one thing you need to know: Anyone can call himself/herself a translator or interpreter. So if you would like to make sure that you get a qualified translator (in a German context), there is one sign of quality you can look out for:
Is the translator a member of the German association of translators and interpreters, BDÜ (www.bdue.de)?
You can only become a member of the BDÜ if you satisfy certain criteria. This means, for instance, that the person concerned is qualified as a translator and interpreter (BDÜ membership criteria).
Another sign of quality: Is the translator sworn/certified? In Bavaria, Germany, you can only become a sworn and certified court translator if you satisfy certain criteria .(www.gerichts-uebersetzer.de).
Another sign of quality: Membership of the association of sworn and certified court translators and interpreters (VbDÜ, www.vbdue.de ).
Significance of qualifications, cultural background, expertise
Some people believe that anyone who speaks a foreign language or has spent a certain amount of time in a foreign country is automatically capable of translating/interpreting. For translating it is not enough to be able to express yourself in a foreign language, you need to have a certain level of background cultural knowledge and know something about the country of the source/target text. This also involves expertise in a certain area of specialisation.
Background knowledge required
Without background knowledge, there are certain misunderstandings that can occur. (www.owad.de).
Even an experienced translator does not know everything
I have gathered a lot of experience in the field of translation and interpreting but it is important for me that you assist me, particularly tell me about internal company background, things I would not find in any dictionary. If we work together as a team, I can regularly use the terms you would like me to use, I use SDL/Trados MultiTerm and Workbench to ensure consistency.
If you require a top-quality translation, I require your assistance… Please help me understand things I would not find in any dictionary or the Internet.
I hope this information will help you understand my point of view. Top-quality translations are in both our interests!
To get a top-quality translation
Please provide me with the following information to ensure top-quality translation:
- What/who is the translation for? I need to understand context.
- What is the purpose of the translation? E.g. for internal purposes, for publication, for auditing, fpr a job application, for submission to authorities etc. Translations vary according to target group and purpose!
- What country is the translation for?USA/GB – native speakers or non-native speakers?
- Background knowledge and internal company vocabulary.
It is an obvious fact but it is frequently forgotten: I cannot know what you know. In order to translate properly, however, I need to understand what the text is about. Someone who works in a company knows internal company background and uses internal company vocabulary but I am an outsider and it is impossible for me to know these things without your help.
If something is impossible to understand without context, or if internal company abbreviations are used, I must have the customer’s assistance if I am to do a good job. If you would like me to use certain terms and expressions, please provide a glossary of terms. If you fail to provide me with this information I can only do my best and hope that this will meet your expectations.
Rest assured: You can rely on my treating your confidential data and documents with secrecy.
Firstly, it is part of our ethos as professional and sworn and certified translators and interpreters to treat facts and circumstances disclosed to us when working for a customer with utmost secrecy. If I did not maintain this secrecy, I would not stand a chance of being successful in my job.
As a member of the German association of translators and interpreters, I am also required to observe strict secrecy obligations.
Accordingly, any qualified colleagues I may work with will have signed a confidentiality agreement.