Top Ten Misconceptions about Translation and Translators

by Caitilin Walsh. Reprinted from the August 1994 ATA Chronicle.

10. Anybody with two years of high school language (or a foreign-tongued grandmother) can translate.
9. A good translator doesn’t need a dictionary.
8. There’s no difference between translation and interpretation.
7. Translators don’t mind working nights and weekends at no extra charge.
6. Translators don’t need to understand what they’re translating.
5. A good translator doesn’t need proofing or editing.
4. Becoming a translator is an easy way to get rich quick.
3. Translation is just typing in a foreign language.
2. A translator costs $49.95 at Radio Shack and runs on two ‘C’ batteries.

And the #1 misconception about translation and translators:

1. That marketing copy that took a team of 20 people two months to put together can be translated overnight by one person and still retain the same impact as the original.


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