|Doing business in Canada often involves translating various business related documents from English to French and French to English, as the case may be.|
In Canada, the Official Languages Act awards equal official status to English and French. As a result, various trade documents, labels and operating/instruction manuals must be provided in both languages.
If you’re doing business in Quebec, The Charter of the French language and various regulations make the use of French mandatory in various communications and business related situations.
Depending on your industry or the type of work do, choosing the right translation company might turn out to be a bigger challenge than you think.
Where can I find a translator who understands my business?
Don’t kid yourself! Truly qualified translators are hard to find, especially for law, finance, medicine, science, engineering and most areas and industries involving any form of specialized knowledge.
In many industries, the single most important cause of product recall is mislabeling, often caused by inaccurate translations.
Product labels hardly qualify as complex technical documents. Now, if simple labels containing at most a few lines of text are so often botched, imagine what happens to really complex documents like commercial agreements, scientific research and technical reports when they are translated by the wrong people.
The translation industry is almost entirely unregulated
•No special licence is required to work as a translator or operate a translation company.
•Legally, anyone can offer translation services, on any subject-matter, in any language combination.
•Unlike doctors, lawyers, charted accountants, actuaries and engineers, to name a few, translators are not required by law to belong to a professional order such as a Law Society, a College of Physicians or an Order of Engineers which verify qualifications and control admissions.
What does it mean to be “certified”?
The term "certified" is widely used by translation companies to promote their services. What does it mean?
This term may be used either to describe the translator or the translation itself.
When used to describe the translation itself, it often refers to an affidavit or other sworn statement provided by a translator to confirm the accuracy or correctness of the translation.
When translators are “certified”, it is usually through membership in an association of translators. Translators joins such associations freely and for various reasons. They are not obligated by law or statute to belong to a professional order or obtain a licence to practice their trade.
Hiring a "certified" translator does not guarantee the actual quality of the translation, especially for industry-specific and technical documents.
Technical translations require specific knowledge and relevant expertise
When the translation is legal, financial, medical, scientific or technical in nature, the most qualified translator will likely be a bilingual professional, with a degree in that field or a closely related area and industry specific experience, both in English and French.
A translator with the relevant technical background and industry knowledge will usually produce a better quality translation than a translator without similar qualifications, which is why so many companies using outside translators have an in-house review process to verify the accuracy and style of the translation.
Improve The Quality Of Your Technical Translations - Twelve Translation Facts
1.Certain documents require more attention than others. Generally speaking, the more specialized or technical your document, the more difficult it will be to find a qualified translator.
2.A translation degree does not, in itself, make one competent in law, business, finance, medicine, science, engineering, or any other technical subject.
3.For specialized translation work, you should always use a translator with relevant academic knowledge and industry-specific experience.
4.Certain companies offer translation services in over 100 language combinations, on any subject, including most technical areas. The lack of regulations in the industry encourages some to overstate their qualifications.
5.More than a few translation companies lack the required expertise to correctly evaluate the quality of their services in all the language combinations they offer.
6.Make sure at least one of their managers speaks your language combination, French and English, if you are doing business in Canada and ask about their actual qualifications. If the managers are not sufficiently qualified, they will be unable to assess the quality of their translators or of the work they produce.
7.Generally, a company specializing in only a few languages will provide better quality translations, in those languages, than a company working in a large number of language combinations. This is especially true when technical or specialized documents are to be translated.
8.For technical matters, sensitive issues and important documents, you should always look for a translation company with genuine experts who have studied and worked in your field or industry, even if this means you will have to use more than one translation service provider for all the language combinations you need.
9.Remember that the language barrier often prevents material errors and discrepancies from being detected immediately. Poorly written translations and material flaws usually end up being reviewed and corrected at extra cost.
10.Unless you are dealing with bilingual experts, you should always review your important translated documents with an employee or colleague who speaks the language of the translation to verify its quality and accuracy.
11.If your work is specialized and technical and must meet specific industry standards, don’t expect an accurate and professionally written translation from someone who has never studied in your field or worked in your industry.
12.When translating technical or specialized documents, look for translators with specialized knowledge and professional experience which are relevant to your work or industry.
About the Author
After a successful carrer as a commercial lawyer in the province of Québec, Bruno Gingras is now chief operating officer of About Translations Ltd., a Canadian company providing industry-specific French and English translation services in the areas of law, business and finance, medicine and pharmacology, engineering, science and technology. The company is associated with Traductions À propos enr. of Montréal, Québec.
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