Why use a professional translator?
Tempted to do it yourself? Think again.
Speaking is one thing, writing is another and verbal fluency does not guarantee a good writing style. Nine times out of ten, there will be a “foreign” feel to writing in a second language, even if you are familiar with the subject matter in this language.
Call a teacher colleague? Very risky!
Teaching a foreign language is a demanding job that requires specific skills. Unfortunately, being able to teach is not the same as creating a good and elegant translation.
Finalize your text before starting the translation.
It is always tempting to initiate a translation as soon as possible. Be careful, however, as a translator might waste time adding changes to the translation of a text still under construction and worse still, the more often changes are made, the greater the risk of adding errors to the final version. It is preferable to wait and send the final text that has been proofread in its entirety to reduce these risks. This will also keep costs down as the translator will have to charge for the extra time involved in retranslating.
Give clear and concise instructions to the translator
Style, readability, word choice, sentence length… everything is flexible depending on the nature of the document and for whom it is intended. Be sure to specify the end use of your text to the translator. Depending on the target audience and how it will be used… he or she will adapt the translation appropriately.
An experienced translator will ask you to clarify these issues so be ready with your answers.
What about machine translation?
In principle, you should never publish text that has been translated just using translation software our diffuse it outside the office. You risk sounding inconsistent, or even stupid. You can of course ask a real translator to look at it, but not everyone accepts this kind of task. Many professional translators regard text generated by computer to be so difficult to decipher that they often find that it is easier to start again using the source text.
Extracts translated from “Traduction, faire le bon choix”, published by ITI and SFT