How would you react if ”procurement specialist in China sourcing” is translated into ”spécialiste des achats sourcing Chine” or “spécialiste de l’approvisionnement en Chine de sourcing”?
Would that risk affect your decision to place your cost-saving order on risky non-professional translators?
As a non-professional translator with a few experiences in the translation field, the answers to these questions could depend on many factors.
The level of professionalism required of the translator could depend on a variety of factors. If the quality requirements are not particularly high (for a smaller firm or association for example) then the language skills of an “amateur” translator, whether their level is native or proficient, may be entirely satisfactory. But is this to the dismay of the professional service provider who would be missing out on the work, and is it worth the risk for an organization to save on the costs of a professional translator?
I will return to this point later, but let me first explain how I recently undertook the task of translating China Performance Group’s website (http://www.chinaperformancegroup.com) into a language that I have not reached fully native proficiency.
Machines: perfectly doing the job for human translators?
Today, unlike in the 90s when I first engaged in translation work, there are myriads of ways to help ensure that the quality of the end product can be adequate.
First, translation software represents an excellent opportunity for ensuring the accurateness of the translation and increases the efficiency with which a translator, particularly an amateur one, can do his/her job. It saves precious time that could be otherwise allocated towards proofreading or the addition of amendments to the final translated work. The latter is an unavoidable task regardless of how excellent the software is.
Second, top online dictionaries (including thesauruses) are available as an additional tool for clarifying difficult words or expressions (there will sometimes be vagaries about the true meaning of a word/expression in texts written in another language).
Third, the use of powerful search engines allows one to quickly type short expressions where doubts exist in areas such as the correct wordings or use of particles or verb tenses.
With these combined together along with common sense and an analytical mind, it is fairly easy to faithfully reproduce an original text into another language that keeps the same meaning with a minimal loss of quality. However, a subsequent proofreading by a native professional editor could still be advisable…
In a world that is becoming more and more cosmopolitan and interconnected, how do professional translation services cope with this new competition? Or does this trend represent a threat at all? As in many facets of life, people adapt to changes and challenges by differentiating themselves, excelling in fields where they gain a comparative advantage. This enables them to outperform competitors in that particular field in terms of the quality of the service delivered. Translation bureaus and freelance translators certainly do this. Along with offering top quality services for their main clients, they may even – if they bother indeed – complement the translation services carried out by non-professional translators (e.g. students), partly by outsourcing some of the translation work to these while focusing on proof-reading of the translated document in the final phase.
In either case, today, the odds that “Procurement specialist in China sourcing” will be translated into more satisfactory versions such as “spécialiste de l’approvisionnement en Chine” or “spécialiste ensourcingà partir de la Chine” are much higher, even by non-professional translators!