If you’ve ever seen a translator’s resume, you may have noticed that he or she has a section dedicated to specializations. It may seem like a long list of specializations means that the translator is extremely qualified for just about any job out there. After all, if this person specializes in just about every field, it seems like a sure fit for your project. However, the opposite may actually be true. While this person may be an experienced translator in a good many fields, it is highly unlikely that he or she is a specialist in all of them. To be a specialist, by definition, is to be one who is devoted to a particular branch of study or research. A shorter list of specializations may often indicate that the linguist has been able to devote more time to these areas, and is therefore well versed in the terminology and complexities of the fields. Whatever your translation needs, it is important to choose a linguist who truly specializes in the field your project falls under, so as to ensure the best quality work.
In language, there is a sizeable difference between general, day-to-day speech and specialized vernaculars. It is entirely possible to speak two different languages, but not fully understand the jargon you would hear in the Information Technology (IT) field, even in your own native language. If someone does not have a firm grasp of these terms in his or her native language, there is a great risk of translation error when trying to understand the term in another. Someone with a degree in IT who has also spent 10 years in the workforce working on computers and systems will have a much stronger grasp of concepts and terms within that field than someone who studied chemistry and has worked in a laboratory, for example. If your company is looking for a linguist who is well versed in the terminology your IT specialists would normally use, it makes much more sense to choose the person with a background similar to your needs, provided that he or she also shows a high level of competency in the translation field (experience, references, etc.).
On the same note, if your goal is to translate several academic studies in various fields for your local university, you will not likely want the same linguist who translated a paper in the chemistry field to translate an engineering paper, or a paper about modern prose. Each of these subjects will require a translator who is competent in the specialized lingo of each subject. In addition, it is important to maintain the original tone of the document or article when translating. If the original reads as if it were written for professional biochemists with plenty of time spent in the field, the translation must also read this way. The jargon and terms used must be along the same lines. The article would lose its integrity within the academic community if it read as thought it were written for students taking an entry-level science course.
While the thought of finding a linguist who specializes in your particular field may seem overwhelming or daunting, we have already done this work for you. Gathering resumes and vetting qualified linguists who specialize in a vast array of fields, it is likely that we already have someone perfectly suited for your particular project. And if we don’t, we have the resources to quickly and efficiently recruit someone who is, removing the pressure from you. Allow us to help you succeed at what you do best by counting on us for what we do best.