Wanted Translator. Nobody can produce a perfect translation. But many will claim that their translations are of high quality since they are native speakers of the target language and are fluent in both the source and target languages. Well, those who are not native speakers but do have the training may qualify better. And how many translators who are native speakers are graduates of a course in linguistics? However, it seems as if this requirement is good in the CV but does not always guarantee a high quality translation.
Most translators are in the communication or education field, but others are simply experts in their professions so they have the jargon and the idiom of their technical expertise. So the medical professional maybe a better translator of medical literature than those who are simply native speakers depending heavily on the dictionary. But then anybody who does translation consistently is also best qualified since he or she has the experience to boot, probably in translating all types of literature.
So the dilemma remains. Who is the most qualified translator? The translator trained in communication may have the basic grounding on the theory of messenger- message- response- feedback cycle. Meanwhile, the educator or the linguistics graduate knows about the theories of language, its dynamics in culture and context, its nuances and limitations.
Right in the middle of these extremes is the translator herself, mulling over some translation issues such as how to transform expressions without changing the meaning and how to make the translation sound natural.
Translators must be experts in their disciplines, fluent in both the source and target languages, have experience in translation, and have undergone some form of training in languages.
But it seems that choosing a translator is not as simple as it sounds. To find the better translation, one needs to have a document translated by at least two persons and evaluated by another one. So a linguistic validation maybe one solution.
In a linguistic validation, two translators will translate separately, then another one will reconcile the translation, study where the two translations differ, and come up with a new translation. This reconciled translation is submitted with accompanying notes about decisions made based on clear principles applied. A linguist who is a native speaker of the language can do this kind of evaluation underscoring the following points in consistency:
1 Vocabulary - standard (academic), standard (popular use) colloquial (percentage of occasional street language allowed), dialect(percentage of occasional slang or dialect), borrowed words and transliterations (with clear basis for options).
2 Word order - natural (idiomatic use or as the people generally say it); formal (idiomatic but not as how people generally say it.)
3 Idioms - percentage of relevant idioms used out of deep knowledge of culture and context
4 Interpretation - percentage of paraphrase, amplification and summary (and their accuracy or closeness to meaning)
5 Discourse - or style of writing which includes tone and rhythm based on transitions, and other linking device, order of sentences in paragraphs, use of transforms from indirect to direct discourse or dialogue and vice versa, decisions on punctuation marks and sentence transformations.
The translator needs to apply certain parameters while translating based on the kind of material being translated, the audience, and the purpose of translation. One may not simply translate in a vacuum. There are scientific methods of coming up with solutions to translation problems but most decisions must be made according to a set of principles, set by the translator himself.
Wanted Translator. Maybe the best way to find one is to cultivate the habit of evaluating translations. Evaluation may take time and can be done during translation, or after the translation has been passed. The evaluation can also serve as a kind of rule-of-thumb for the next translations and may be used to come up with a house style or standard.