Should you engage someone who is only fluent in both languages as translator?

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Should you engage someone who is only fluent in both languages as translator?

You might think that someone being fluent in two or more languages instantly qualifies them as professional translators, but this is a misconception that could not be further from the truth! In this entry, we will analyze the criteria that determines the qualifications of a competent translator, and why engaging a bilingual or multilingual speaker with deficient translation experience could be a bad idea.

Firstly, we need to briefly unpack what it means to translate content from one language to another. Translation is the relaying of concepts and ideas from a source language to a target language. Not all concepts can be conveyed in a different language through a mere word-for-word literal comprehension of the source content. This is in fact rarely ever the case. A translator must have a thorough understanding of the idea being communicated, as well as the technicalities and nuances it comes with. This requires extensive experience and background knowledge. Even then, a great deal of research is part and parcel of a professional translator’s process.

This is often overlooked by inexperienced translators, who in many cases produce an unsatisfactory and inaccurate literal translation of the text.

Secondly, professional translators typically have an intimate familiarity with the cultural nuances in both languages. Navigating cross-cultural differences is an essential part of any translation process. This can only come with years of engagement in activities that broaden one’s understanding of the finer details that come with the mannerisms, expressions, metaphors, colloquialisms of varying cultural backgrounds.

Thirdly, speaking more than one language does not necessarily entail good writing skills. A translator’s writing ability is an integral part of their translation portfolio. The mentioned skillset can only be achieved through experience. Even an educational background in linguistics that lacks experience will fall severely short.

As odd as it may sound, inexperienced translators may cost you more too, since their lack of experience would certainly be a hinderance on their hourly output rate. The amount of rework you may be forced to do is another detrimental factor to any project.

Hiring experienced translators doesn’t only guarantee quality, it saves you time and money. It certainly matters.

 It takes a lot more than just speaking both languages or even being bilingual. A translator must have the ability to correctly render ideas and concepts from one language into the other. Often this is overlooked by inexperienced translators who tend to do literal translation. On top of that he or she must be a skilled writer and be aware of all cultural nuances in both languages. Quite often translation produced by inexperienced translators does not sound natural in target language or incorrect, as inexperienced translators may pick wrong words or think that being close to intended message translation is enough.

– Strange as it may sound but the cost of inexperienced translators could be higher than that of experienced. Due to lack of experience they tend to spend much more time than experienced translators and price their service based on hours. They may justify the high cost as they find the work very tedious and tiring.  Professional translators complete work much faster and price their services at competitive market rates.

– If you buy cheaply you pay dearly. Even if you manage to engage inexperienced translators at very low rate, you may have to redo the translation later, increasing overall cost. This would be best case scenario. If poor translation results in damaged reputation/relations, lost clients/market share – monetary and non-monetary losses would be much higher.

Translation is a skill that cannot come even with degree in translation or linguistics. Its something that comes only with practice. Experience in translation matters.

Why compliance with ISO 17100:2015 matters


Why compliance with ISO 17100:2015 matters?

At Maven International, our translation project management conforms to ISO 17100:2015 standard for translation services. But what does that really mean to our clients?

Firstly, it’s important to note that not all your translations would require the meticulous procedures outlined by this standard. These translations are mostly needed when it comes to sensitive content which requires extra care in order to relay the information accurately into the target language, with due consideration to the linguistic and cultural nuances pertaining to the target content. Of course, it goes without saying that we treat all our projects with a level of commitment and professionalism that ensures that we always provide our clients with an optimal outcome. However, not all translation projects are made equal!

Translating a simple memo for the purpose of circulation within your organization, for instance, is not the same as translating technical safety manuals or marketing material. While both do require an accurate translation, the objective as well as the nature of the content would mean that you probably want to spend substantially less resources on the former in comparison to the latter. Some clients would opt for machine translation accompanied by human post-editing for some jobs, but such an option is completely out of the question in many cases, simply due to the technical means required to meet the desired end.

Conforming to the ISO 17100:2015 standard means many things to your translation project, some of which we list below:

  1. Higher-quality translations
  2. Timely delivery
  3. Accurate, consistent, and standardized terminology usage
  4. Dealing with qualified project managers and linguists
  5. A translation management system that coordinates the entire process
  6. A client portal where you can monitor the progress and provide feedback
  7. Stringent confidentiality measures
  8. Standardized quoting and invoicing policy
  9. Feedback system

The translators and reviewers assigned to your project are guaranteed to meet the following education, experience, and speciality requirements:

  • An academic certificate in translation or interpretation studies


  • An academic certificate from a linguistic university where certain translation-related courses were successfully completed


  • An unrelated academic certificate + 2 years of full-time translation experience
  • No academic background + 5 years of full-time translation experience

Do such qualifications guarantee a quality translation 100 % of the time? Not on their own, no. That’s where our expert project management and rigorous quality assurance measures, some of which are mentioned above, come into play. Opting for an ISO 17100:2015 compliant translation certainly has a direct influence on the quality of the end-product, and for that reason, you should definitely keep it in mind for your upcoming projects!