Looking for translation services? It can be hard to communicate what you need to a translation services agency when you don’t speak “industry speak.” That is, know the full range of services that such a provider can offer you.
When you do, however, the agency is that much more capable of delivering exactly what you are looking for. Because translation services can be highly specialized, it’s worth getting a sense of the basics. This way, you and the translation project manager handling your case are on the same footing.
Is a computer translation a technical translation, for example? That is, a specialization? You might be nodding your head and saying -- “Yes, obviously!” Particularly, if you’re a computer geek.
But in reality, the admins of your company, in charge of finding a translation services provider, may not know how to define the doc. That is, describe it in terms that would help us serve you better.
Among translators, for example, a technical translation can refer to documents of a short shelf-life. In other words, texts meant for short reading that are only read by a select group of people. Did you know this? Admit it, you probably didn’t.
Related Post: Challenges in Technical Translation
Types of Translation Services
Image credit: Nito500/123RF "Pile of Books with Eyeglasses"
To help you help us, here is a list-based primer of the different kinds of translation services available out there. Seven, on this list alone. (Though, of course, many more exist). Included, are some of the translation services you can find from a human-powered translations company.
1. General Certified Translation
The texts that do not require a specialized knowledge of a terminology to translate well are “General Translations.” Yet, today, many official institutions do not accept translations of documents made by an amateur translator. Such institutions often require a qualified translator to authenticate official translations, even if the text is mostly in everyday language. This is largely because said documents are deemed important.
So, translated papers such as birth certificates, college transcripts, immigration applications, divorce papers, death certificates, etc. are typically certified. Often, the signature of the translator must be certified by an official body to authenticate the official translation. Always “certified” and legally validated, general translations of important documents are frequently asked for.
2. Legal Translation
Legal translation services require expertise and a deep knowledge of legal terminologies on behalf of trained legal professionals. Not to mention, a strong understanding of the various legal systems in play regarding the source legal document in question.
The law of any country is dependent on culture, so all legal translators must have a firm grasp of the cultures in question. This, on top of understanding the legal systems of both the source and target countries.
Legal translation services cover a wide range of very different documents. These may include legal documents, such as summons and warrants; administrative texts such as registration certificates; corporate statutes and remittance drafts; technical documents such as expert opinions and texts for judicial purposes; and a number of other texts in addition to reports and minutes of court proceedings.
In certain societies, legal translators often work in courtrooms as juridical translators, or act as official legal experts.
3. Juridical Translation
Juridical translation refers to legally-binding documentation. For example, this could be the translation of documents such as laws; regulations and decrees; general sales and purchase conditions; legally binding contracts such as labor; license and commercial contracts; partnership agreements, accords; protocols and conventions; internal regulations; insurance policies; and bail assurance, among others.
Juridical translators are expected to have a strong background in legal linguistics.
4. Medical Translation
Like legal translation, medical translation services are very tricky and require expert knowledge in the medical field. This type of translation work involves the translation of medical books; medical equipment manuals; medicine packaging and information materials; medical publications; scientific articles; results of clinical research; reports of pharmaceutical tests; drug information and instructions; and other documents related to the medical profession.
Medical translators also carry out the translation of medical histories, diagnosis, medical findings, prescriptions and more.
In a recent fascinating insightful interview, Day Translations translator, Andrea, calls undertaking medical translations rewarding but “extremely difficult.”
5. Technical Translation
The term “technical translation” can be understood in two ways:
In its broadest sense, it is about translating user manuals, instructions leaflets, internal notes, medical translation, financial reports, minutes of proceedings, administrative terms in general, and so forth. These documents share the distinction of being for a specific and limited target audience and usually have a limited shelf-life.
In its most limited sense, technical translation services refer to “technical” documentation such as engineering, IT, electronics, mechanics, and industrial texts in general. Technical translation services requires a deep knowledge of the specialized terminology of the field the source text originates from.
Interestingly, only 5-10 percent of items in a technical document consist of terminology; the remainder is language.
6. Literary Translation
Literary translation encompasses the translation of literature such as poems, plays and novels. This could also include film scripts, magazines, books, manuscripts, letters and biographies.
Like the rest of the more advanced types of translation work, literary translation requires deep expertise in the field. The point of this type of translation is to convey the true meaning of the original work (source) into other languages (targets).
However, there are words that simply cannot be translated into another language without changing the meaning. “Transcreation” is often employed instead. “Transcreation” is the creative interpreting of “untranslatable concepts” so that clarity between the two texts is attained as much as possible.
Unlike other expanding fields of translation, the translation of literary texts represents not more than one percent of the total production of translations.
Related Post: Transcreation vs Translation – What’s the Difference?
7. Business Translation
Just as the name implies, business translation services refer to various types of business documents. These include tender documents, correspondence, accounting documents, reports, etc. Specialized translators, with an in-depth knowledge of business terminologies, often tackle these kinds of projects.
Business translation must not be confused with “economic translation,” -- the term most often used to describe the translation of academic economic texts.
These are just some of the types of translation services in the field to help you understand the terms used. Hopefully this will help you better communicate with the customer support representatives of the translation services provider you work with!