Translators as intermediators

The community of ants, unimaginably, is very organized and complicated. Since it is built on networking, every member of this community has a job to fulfill. This shows that networking and communication are very significant not only in the community of ants, but also on a large complicated scale which is the community of humans. Humans also have their complicated community and in order to communicate and interact, they have their only way of communication which is the Language.

The importance of communication either in the community of the ants or in the community of the humans is that it helps build relationships with people from different races, ethnicities, and cultures all over the world. By nature, humans can never live without communication, as it is also the method of transferring knowledge, culture, and science. When communication becomes impossible, for a reason or another, life stops and here the role of translation appears.

Translators are intermediators between various kinds of people who do not speak the same language and cannot communicate or understand each other. Their role is based on networking, just like ants. It is widely known that the community of ants is considered as one of the most successful and efficient communities because of many reasons. They are divided into main and sub groups and each one of the members knows that it has a very specific task to do. Moreover, they always keen on performing their work in an organized and cooperative way.

Studies show that they cooperation with each other is the secret of their magnificent success, because at the end, all of the members, from the leader to the follower, have one purpose, which is to welfare of the whole community. This would not have been achieved unless they are cooperative. People, whatever their work is, and translators, in particular, also have to learn from this community to develop and benefit themselves and their societies as well.

Translators can learn many valuable principles from the ant’s colony. They should embrace the spirit of the team work and cooperation. They should be patient, flexible, helpful, punctual, and smart. As a part of Modlingua community, I noticed that this is what Modlingua, under its highly-qualified leadership, is trying to entrench; a community of professional, cooperative, and helpful translators worldwide who can share their experiences for the sake of the mutual benefit because cooperation is the key of success.


Language is the only method of communication among humans and it is needed for any kind of dealing or transaction. Since there are lots of people with different races, dialects, and languages, the communication which is the integrated part and the purpose of the language becomes very difficult or even impossible in situations where people do not understand each others due to the language differences that create a barrier to communication; and therein lies the pivotal role of translation in its various forms.

Translation industry is in ongoing growth and development every day, so it was a necessity to draw up guidelines or rules for translators and language professionals to follow; to ensure quality in their work.  Quality, in general, can be defined as the degree of excellence of something. As for the provision of translation, quality could define as the features or characteristics that if translators follow, they will ensure accuracy and convey a similar meaning that equals the meaning in the source language.

Evaluating the quality of translation has some approaches. The quality of translation is divided into some categories such as: anecdotal, subjective, and text-based approaches. Old professional translators, linguists, writers, and philosophers have long discussed the quality of translation. Some translators see that the quality standards are useless and the quality of translation depends on translators themselves and their qualifications and skills. Others believe that there must be a way to evaluate translation in order to avoid mistakes and produce an accurate translation and they came up with a question which is how to evaluate the quality of translation?   

By the time, they were able to answer that question and today there are many different types of quality standards for translation such as: The German DIN 2345, the Austrian Önorm D1201, the Italian UNI 10547, ISO 17100 …etc.

Quality standards in translation are really important because they can help both, service providers (translators) and payers (clients) attain a precious goal which is to ensure and develop professionalism. However, professionalism and accuracy in translation cannot be easily known, particularly, most of clients are not specialists in the field. However, it can be known through one method which is when the reader reads the translated text feels that it is the original text and is written in the mother tongue that was originally written in. This is the simplest method to identify quality in translation. There are many quality standards that translators have to know to make sure that their work is accurate and error-free, and here are some of them:

1- Coherence and compatibility of the meaning

The meaning is the most significant part in translation. Translators have to ensure that the meaning in the source text is coherent and cohesive, otherwise they will produce a poor translation which may lead to problems or take away of the competence and reputation of the translator. If the readers are not able to understand the translated text, this indicates that the translator failed to understand the meaning properly in the source text.

 2-Keep the style  

The style of translation in the source text has to match they style in the target text. For example, the style of scientific translation is different from legal or business translation and so on.  

3-Avoid mistakes  

The translated text has to be free of typos, misspellings, grammatical, and structural mistakes. If the source text has many mistakes, this indicates that the translator is not a professional and does not have good language skills. This, for sure will have negative impacts on the reputation of the translator and in some cases, the clients will not assign the translator future projects.

 4- Original composition

The translated text has to be similar to the original one, although many researchers in the field of translation indicated that the translated text cannot equal the original text for some reasons. However, translators have to make sure they use correct terms that give proper meaning and deal know that every language has its style and culture. Translator have to bear in mind the cultural differences as well in order to deliverer a professional translation.  

As mentioned above, translators and linguists have to follow the quality standards for translation to be able to deliver a professional accurate translation that satisfy their clients and add to their career at the same time. It is worth mentioning that translators and clients alike have to be aware of quality standards. This will help the two parties understand their duties towards each other well.

The Importance of Linguistic and Non-Linguistic Aspects in Translation Process

By: Mohamed Saleh, Translation & Interpretation Lecturer 

Language consists of words, grammar, syntax,…etc. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, language means the system of words that persons use to express feelings and thoughts to each other. Translation means, words that have been changed from one language into another.

If we get really deep into the meaning of translation, we will find that the art of translation is not an interlinguistic procedure, but replacing the original text with target language text involves subtle educational and cultural differences that can form the options and attitudes of persons as recipients (Bernacka, 2012).

So as we see, language is a mixture of words and translation is a mediator or a tool of transferring words between two languages and the compile of these words produces the targeted meaning. Also, Anna Bernacka adds that the translator should be an intermediary among various language systems an intercultural mediator alike. Furthermore, translators have to understand the meaning correctly before starting the translation process; in order to deliver accurate, competent, and error-free product.

There are some crucial aspects that translators have to maintain in relation to translation management and if translators do not take care of, their translation product will be affected negatively. As a result, this would take out of their reputation as translation. These aspects are divided into two main categories as follows:

The linguistic aspects:
The linguistic aspects – as per SAE J2450 Translation Quality Metric Task Force –  which translators should be aware of are:

1. Wrong terms
Translators should avoid using wrong terms, as far as possible, to produce good, accurate product. Using wrong terms would change the intended meaning and lead to misunderstanding in the target language. As a result, this may result in mistranslations which may cause problems. The following example explains that: The word “asistir” doesn’t mean “to assist,” it means “to attend.”

2. Syntactic errors
A syntax error is a violation of the syntax, or grammatical rules. The following sentence contains an error of English syntax: “I is going to visit my uncle.” Translators and linguists should not do such mistakes in writing as they indicate that they are not professionals.

3. Omission
Omission could be useful in some few cases, but in most cases it may lead to serious problems as in this example: For a reason or another the “c” in President Barack Obama’s first name was omitted. The mistake was spotted just a few days before the election, incurring approximately $75,000 in reprinting costs, as (Katherine, 2016) stated.

4. Misspelling
Translators should check and proof-read their translation before submitting it to the client to ensure that there free of misspelling because this will definitely affect the quality of translation negatively.  According to a July 2011 BBC News article, spelling mistakes cause readers to lose faith in the quality of a website’s content, resulting in “millions … in lost revenue,” (Katherine, 2016).   

5. Punctuation mistakes
Although many translators do not take care of using punctuation marks or use it incorrectly, it is really important to use in writing in order to clarify the meaning. The following example is really good to show the importance of punctuation and how the misuse of punctuation can cause problems: “Una mujer sin su hombre no es nada.” — When you read this sentence without using punctuation marks, you will notice that it has three versions or it could be understood in three different ways as shown below: 

  • A woman without her man is nothing.
  • A woman, without her, man is nothing.
  • A woman, without her man, is nothing.

The non-linguistic aspects:    
The non-linguistic aspects are also no less important than the linguistic aspects. Some of non-linguistic aspects are:

1. Segment-level checks
Sometimes translators, unknowingly, overlook translating sentences or paragraphs which result in translation errors. Translators should always check for forgotten or incomplete translations to procure perfect translation.   

 2. Inconsistency
The translation must be consistent and meaningful. Inconsistency could occur in the source or target languages, so translators have to make sure that the translation is consistent.   

3. Numbering
Translators should always check the numbering values or formatting, measurement unit conversion, or digit to text conversion to avoid making errors that are related to the points mentioned above.
Translators should learn from the aforementioned points and always check and proof-read their translations to produce an accurate, perfect product.  “The importance of good translation is most obvious when things go wrong,” (OKRENT,2016). Translators also should learn from their mistakes and try not to make such mistakes in future assignments.

K. (2016). How Spelling Mistakes Affect Translation. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from
OKRENT, A. (2016). 9 Little Translation Mistakes That Caused Big Problems. Retrieved August 14, 2017, from

How Can Freelancers Hunt New Clients?

Freelancing is not an easy job. In order to become a successful freelancer, you have to have proper skills and qualifications that will open the door for you to gain more jobs and not only make clients, but to retain them as well. Freelancers are like hunters who have specific ways to hunt their prey and, definitely, it is not an easy job. Therefore, as a freelancer you have to develop some techniques to help you find your calling.
Have a university degree
You should have a university degree or at least a diploma in translation for example, if you want to work as a freelance translator. You cannot enter a field because just you like it. Clients prefer to work with specialists.
Fluent in both language pairs
If you decide to work as a freelance translator, you have to make sure that you are fluent in both languages in order to provide a high-quality job.
Make sure you are easy to find
 Usually clients use google to find freelancers. So the first step you should take is to market yourself. You can create a website, even a simple one, for yourself. You can upload your CV, samples of previous work, and your profile incudes a good photo for yourself. Your profile has to be creative and interesting to trap your prey, BUT remember you have to be honest and do not include false information. You can also use social media such as Facebook and twitter, to market yourself.
Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date
LinkedIn is one the most well-known websites in the world regarding jobs. That’s why it is necessary to create a LinkedIn profile and keep it updated.   
Be a professional
Clients, for sure, seeks to find competent, professional freelancers who can provide a high-quality service. So you have to make sure you are qualified enough to fulfill the tasks perfectly, and if you still a beginner, do not burn yourself and develop your skills first before seeking jobs, because if you are not a professional or at least not able to provide a good, accurate service, no one will deal with you anymore.   
Be honest
You have to be honest with yourself before clients. If the client asks you questions, you should answer their questions honestly to make him/her trust you and assign you future jobs.
Do not pat yourself on the back
Some freelancers, particularly beginners, make a catastrophic mistake. They think that if they praise themselves using phrases such as “I am exceptional at…, no one can do such a job, but me…, don’t contact me if…” things like these will make clients have a bad impression about you believing that you are not good to carry on the job, even if you are an expert freelancer. It is important to mind your language.
Be patient
Do not expect that once you enter the field as a freelancer, clients will contact you. Just remember the hunter and prey technique. You have to ensure that everything such as your skills and qualifications is good first before starting a job. You can start working with three or four clients and then the number will increase after that.
Punctuality is a necessity
Never miss the deadline. You have to be punctual regarding finishing the task on the deadline. This will leave a good impression about you and the client will maintain a durable relationship with you as a freelancer. This will make the client satisfied to pay you your fees.
Speak at conferences
A step up from attending conferences is to deliver speeches, especially, to people who need your services. This will be a great opportunity for you to deal with people and also will give them a chance to know you well.
Volunteer, why not?
You can volunteer in any institution that is related to your field. Moreover, there are some websites that provide such a thing. Although you will not get paid, you will gain experience which will add to your career.
Learn from others
It is really good to learn from other experienced freelancers to develop yourself. One day they were beginners like you and with a lot of hard work, they were able to become professionals. This will help you know what these people do to get clients, develop yourself, and know your point of weaknesses to work on them as well.
These are only some of the most important techniques if you manage to apply, you will be able to start your career as a freelancer successfully. The most important thing you need bear in mind is that you are not alone in this field, there are thousands of other experienced freelancers in the market. The more effort you will exert; the more clients you will get.