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Annette's Blog


In the translation process, sometimes you have to say no

Posted 5 years 61 days ago ago by Annette Labbé     0 Comments

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Many people think that translators can do any kind of translation brought to them. I can say with certainty that that’s not true. Translators try their very best to be knowledgeable in as many areas as possible, but there are certain types of translation that require specialized knowledge: legal translations, medical translations, technical translations, etc.

I learned pretty early on in the business that as much as I wanted to work on every project sent to me, it just wasn’t possible. Sometimes, I don’t know enough about a subject to be able to write about it effectively.  A translator, when he or she is translating, has to understand both the subject and the context of what is presented to them exactly. Asking a multitude of questions just wouldn’t be enough. I had to learn to be ok with setting limits and sometimes saying no altogether.

Most of the time, people appreciate the honesty. Other times, they don’t understand it can’t be done.

I would encourage anyone looking for a specific kind of translation to research the translator as much as possible. The other thing would be to give yourself and the translator as much time as possible. Translation is not “one-size-fits-all” and it’s not a race. It’s a process that requires a lot of careful thought and consideration on all sides.

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