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  • Dot Roberts

What can a translator do for you?

If you want to know more about what a translator does and how they can help you, then you are in the right place!

What does a translator do?

‘The task of the translator is to render a text written in one language into another, making available material that would otherwise be inaccessible’ – Susan Bassnett in The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies

But there’s more to it than that! On top of language skills, a translator uses a broad knowledge of the culture, politics, ideologies, etiquette and more, of the source and target language to create a high-quality end product.

A translator can help you reach a wider audience. If you are selling a product or service or simply want to share your message with more people, then translation is ideal for you. A text in German, for example, can be accessed by approximately 220 million German speakers. If you translate that text into English, it could reach another 1.5 billion people. That’s more than 22 times more potential readers of your text.

A translator can give you access to more resources. Are you doing research and struggling to find enough information on a topic in your own language? A translator can help you out! Whether it's foreign news articles, scientific data, literature or something else, a translator can take that information and give it back to you in a language you understand. This could help you make further developments in your field or add the missing piece to the project you are working on.

A translator can help you communicate. Do you have partners, clients or friends who you struggle to communicate with because of language barriers? A translator can help you understand emails, create a sales pitch or read your Dutch cousin’s annual newsletter.

A translator can give a translation the same quality / passion / accuracy as your original text. A translator can read and understand your text and communicate with you to ensure that the translated text still has the accuracy, format or feeling that your source text has. This can be especially important when it comes to literary texts such as poetry or stories, where the way your text makes a reader feel is often just as important as the actual content.

Most importantly, translators are trained professionals with qualifications and experience. Asking Tim from accounting who studied A Level French to translate your company sales pitch is maybe the cheapest option, but is certainly not going to give you the results you deserve.

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