Specialization in translation
The words ‘specialist’ and ‘generalist’ have long been battered for commercial purposes, however, if the meaning and essence are well-understood and measured, specialization in translation and its offshoots can be of great help to a translator. Unfortunately, this seems to be a distant dream, but until then, there are two major myths that need to be cleared:
Myth 1: Translators have to be subject-matter experts or SMEs.
Given the above-stated popular belief, the translators almost never need to be experts in the field that they are translating. They do not need degrees in engineering or law, medicine or business administration to translate a piece of literature. Very rarely comes a time when you need a practitioner’s knowledge and wisdom to get the work translated. Translators do not need to be necessarily the experts. This is the job of the original author. All that the translators need to know are the basic underlying principles, a bit of research to understand concepts and to find the right terminology in the new language to replace the original texts. For example, a medical document translation does not require a doctor. All the translator needs to know is the basic terminology in both languages to make the job a little simpler for them. A specialization in translation is required though. Obviously, it would be better if the translator would have some background in medicine as it would take less time to translate while increasing accuracy, and that is why NordicTrans only assigns specialized translators in the field of the document.
Myth 2: Almost all documents need specialization in a particular field.
It is another popular belief that a specialized translator is required to do a translation in a specific subject. Contrary to this popular belief, the majority of such translation tasks does not require any kind of specialization at all but only an understanding of the basic underlying principles. What a translator really needs is a sound knowledge of both languages, the correct use of terminology and a broad vocabulary. Having an expanded background and knowledge of the various areas can be a boon and of much greater help than knowledge in a specialized field.
Conclusion: Setting the clock right
People need to be aware of what the word specialization in translation means and that it is not necessary for a translator to be an expert in the subject matter. What they really need to possess is a perfect command of both languages and good writing skills to complement their knowledge. In reality, what really needs to be done is create sub-categories of broad terms such as legal or medical and then recognize the specific types of skills required to get the job done. Until that is done, the mere word – ‘specialized’ or ‘specialist’ holds no meaning in the world of translation. Specialization in translation is for now a sentence that is equal with the meaning of the word “translator”.