Translators and interpreters are being kept very busy these days what with businesses extending their reach well beyond their coastline, and e-commerce booming as never before. The German language is now in a leading position among European languages both in terms of the extent of its usage as well as in e-commerce spending. Likewise, French is said to be the 8th most spoken online language with about 22 million online users and accounts for about 3.5% of the total Internet use. Coming to the Orient, the rapid proliferation of Chinese language websites is a phenomenon by itself and not the least surprising when one considers the huge population of this vast country.
Field of specialization
While on the one hand demand for language and professional translation services is on the rise, the need for a great deal of specialization is also coming into play. The world of business encompasses many other fields like the Sciences, engineering, the Arts, finance, and real estate, and is heavily underlined by legal implications. This takes on greater significance when business is done across nations, because each individual field of specialization has its own set of nomenclature, terminology and jargon, and this again varies from one country to another. With the legal framework also being different from one region to another, it takes a translator with many talents in addition to his/her linguistic expertise to be able to render a translated version that is at once accurate, fluent and also conveys the correct sense as it was intended in the original document
When translating documents or promotional material to a different language, it involves the conversion of the format to suit an entirely new audience. The translated document or interpretation must be optimized for the new market taking into consideration the cultural and linguistic differences that are prevalent there.
When translating documents to another language, certain important aspects are often lost sight of by translators:
Telephone Numbers and Time: 800 numbers apply only to calls made from within the United States. It doesn’t make sense to print these contact numbers in a German or French-language brochure. The time (or working hours) in U.S cities is given in Eastern Standard Time or Pacific Standard Time. This does not make much sense to someone living in China or Australia if it is printed on a brochure targeted for an audience in one of these countries. It’s important to provide local time and list phone numbers that the audience can relate to.
Measurement system: Some countries use the metric system for their products (e.g. meter lengths for textiles or yarn; square meters for granite, marble and other flooring materials; liters for edible oils, canned juices and so on), while others still follow non-metric systems. When exporting produce, companies must make sure that labels and billing are done using standard measurements as applicable to the destination country, if they are to avoid confusion and make the packaging easy to comprehend for consumers.
Acronym usage: Commonly used acronyms of one country mean different things in another country. It is certainly not appropriate to leave the onerous task of figuring out what a 3-letter acronym may mean to the end user whether it happens to be used in official correspondence, on the website or brochure or on a product label.
Localization and translation services: a rapid growth
The demand for professional language translation and localization services is rapidly growing in an increasingly globalized world. Localization is an integral part of the suite of translation services, and the resultant document must be one that is clear, fluent and error free. It must also take into consideration the local system of usage of terminology and the legal implications wherever applicable.