* Chinese translation service by a reputable and trusted Chinese translation agency *

Translation and Interpretation

choosing a translator

When arranging to have a document translated, extra care must be taken to select the best person for the job because it is very likely that you are 'buying blind', and are unable to evaluate the finished product yourself. It may help to consider the following points:

Choose someone who will be translating into their mother tongue. This is the best way to ensure that the text will read well to its target audience and should minimise any cultural void. However, remember that bilingualism alone is not a guarantee of translation ability.

Evaluate samples of their previous work. Ideally, arrange for a native speaker to check some recent translations. At the very least, speak to their previous clients.

Choose someone who understands the context of the material that is to be translated. This obviously becomes more important as the technical content increases.

Clarify their pricing policy. If they charge per word, is it the source or target language that counts? The number of words used can vary considerably between languages. You may consider this to be the fairest way to charge, but it is easy to pad out text with extra words. If the charge is made on a time basis, you may be tempted to ask for the job to be rushed through, which is unlikely to produce the best results in terms of both the translated text and your relationship with the translator.

Using a reputable translation agency is likely to make your job a lot easier!

* working with a translator

It is important to realise that a translator needs to be given far more than the source document in order to produce good work. Your relationship with them should be ongoing and you should be prepared to provide them with the following information:

Details of the target language, for example the Castilian variant of Spanish.

A description of the target audience, for example 7每11 year olds, visiting junior doctors.

The purpose of the document, for example a leaflet to be handed out by GPs, a position paper to be presented at an international conference of medical specialists.

Deadlines for any drafts and completion of the work, which may require your own commitment for the timely return of drafts.

During the translation process, try to follow these guidelines:

Allow plenty of time for any translation project 每 it can be a lengthy process and the best results will not be produced if it is rushed.

Ask a native speaker to proof-read the translation if possible.

Produce and continually update an in-house glossary of terms. As translators produce various documents, this can become a multi-lingual resource and help to ensure consistency of content.

* preparing text for translation

The need to have something translated can provide an opportunity to improve existing documentation in terms of content and consistency of house-style. The translation process puts the document under scrutiny, and a translator who works with you regularly may suggest changes that might improve consistency over, for example, a series of leaflets. Try to take into account the following points before submitting a document for translation:

Be direct and write simply and clearly. Existing documents may be edited so that only relevant sections are translated, or new, shorter documents may be produced specifically to be translated. A translator may find it easier to work from notes 每 unlike full text, a set of essential points will not have to be unravelled first.

Be consistent, particularly in the use of terminology and abbreviations.

The target document will not be the same length as the source document, so allow extra time to accommodate this difference when preparing leaflets, etc. This may also have implications for the costing of the project.

Specify the required style, including the type of vocabulary and complexity of sentences. The style will vary according to your target audience and what you wish to achieve.

Finalise the content of the document before sending it for translation. Accommodating changes once the translation process has begun can be costly, time-consuming and frustrating for the translator.

* interpretation defined

There are two types of interpreting 每 simultaneous, where the interpreter speaks while the foreign-language speaker is speaking, and consecutive, where the interpreter waits for appropriate pauses before speaking. Interpreters tend to specialise in one type, but some are able to do both. Simultaneous interpreting is often whispered and is particularly useful during a lengthy speech that is best not interrupted. A conversation or interview is usually best served by consecutive interpretation.

* choosing an interpreter

Great care should be taken when choosing an interpreter, and the following points should be taken into consideration:

Check their qualifications.

Check that they are experienced in the type of interpretation 每 simultaneous or consecutive 每 that you require.

Evaluate their work. Ask another fluent speaker of that language to assess their work using oral tests or role-play, or speak to their previous clients.

Ensure that they are confident, responsible and have a good attention span. Meet them in person if possible because they will be part of the public face of your department.

Find out their terms and conditions of work and, of course, their charges. Seek assurance that they can be flexible enough to accommodate appointments running late, and can be available at short notice if necessary. Expect to be charged a fee if you cancel at short notice.

* working with an interpreter

Once you have found a suitable interpreter, it is important to build up a good working relationship with them. Book their services as far in advance as possible, and give them as much information as you can before the meeting including:

Full details of when, where and to whom they must report on arrival, and whether you require them to convey similar details to the person(s) necessitating their services.

The respective roles of the people involved in the meeting.

Any relevant background information, including foreseeable problems or conflicts.

The actual purpose of the meeting; that is what information you want to glean from the patient and what information you want to convey to them.

Details of any technical terms or specialist vocabulary that may be used.

* during the meeting

When an interpreter is present during a meeting, it is important to remember the following points:

Expect the meeting to take much longer than usual. The interpretation process and cultural differences must be accommodated. The interpreter may need to clarify what is said, comment on the patient's reaction to or understanding of what they are told, and identify and resolve cultural differences. It is likely that the patient will view this meeting as an opportunity to ask lots of questions that they have previously been unable to ask. It may even be necessary to take a short break if the meeting is very long.

Ensure that you will not be disturbed. All parties need to concentrate, particularly the interpreter.

Sit facing the patient and direct your speech at them, not to the interpreter, who should be seated to one side, halfway between the patient and yourself. In this way, the interpreter should be perceived as impartial, and their presence may eventually be forgotten.

Establish for the understanding of everyone, the names and roles of all those who are present.

Explain that the interpreter is there to give a full, unbiased interpretation of everything that is said by those present, and will respect full confidentiality. Ensure that any notes that they make to assist their work are destroyed at the end of the meeting.

Try to speak as you would normally without the presence of an interpreter, in terms of addressing the patient directly rather than asking the interpreter to address them for you. If the interpreter identifies cultural differences, discuss them with the patient so that it is their view and not that of the interpreter that you establish.

Try to avoid speaking too quickly and using incomplete sentences. Do not be offended if the interpreter picks you up on this 每 it is a very common habit! In fact, working with an interpreter may help you to improve your communication skills in general.

It is useful to have a debriefing session, during which the interpreter may be able to give you additional feedback. You will also have the chance to clarify any aspects of your respective roles in order to improve performance in future meetings. The interpreter may ask you to sign a time-sheet in respect of their services.

Excerpts from ethnicity online