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Overcoming the obstacles to becoming a certified translator

Updated: Dec 2, 2019




Being a certified translator is much more than just being bilingual, it is about being able to interpret and transcribe a message properly, according to its purpose and target audience, taking into account not only linguistic aspects, but also social and cultural factors. The challenges that translators face when translating from one language to another are innumerable and we never know what we are going to face when we accept a project.

In order to complete a successful and accurate certificate translation, a very specific skill set is required to overcome the language barriers. To be, and make a living as, a professional translator requires immense determination as well as a huge amount of experience with the languages you are working with, as we as of course, natural talent.

There are currently around 7000 living languages in the world, not to mention the huge number of dialects within these languages. Each of them is unique, with its own origins, roots and structure with its own complex way of working.

A good certified translator is also a reader par excellence. Even so, sometimes the text is demanding when it comes to understanding its meaning because the author may use language in a very complex and culturally specific manner.

It so happens that words can have multiple meanings, which is one of the main challenges of translation. Getting the meaning wrong can ruin a sentence or make it seem absolutely absurd, rendering the translation a failure.

A good translator has to understand the author's perspective. Especially in literature or journalism, where the writer has a personal approach. It means then that translators have to be able to understand and represent even the slightest trace of sarcasm or irony, for example. This is quite difficult and requires not only good grammatical and vocabulary skills, but also creativity and an open mind.

Another big challenge is that there are cases where a word does not have an equivalent in the target language. This often occurs in legal documents due to different legislation and legal systems.

It is well known among linguists that different languages create phrase with a certain structure or word order. Therefore, the same pattern cannot be applied to other languages that obey totally different grammatical rules. This means that there are many situations in which a long and complex sentence poses problems, even for an experienced certified translator, which make it difficult not to change either the essence or the meaning of the text.

As for idiomatic expressions, for native speakers there is no problem when it comes to understanding and using certain phrases that have a meaning only when used together in a particular context. For translators, this is not so simple. No matter how skilled they are and how good their vocabulary knowledge is, they may find idiomatic expressions, or sayings, that they have never heard before. It is then that they must carry out exhaustive research in order not to change either the essence or the meaning of the text and then to use an equivalent in the target language, if it exists.


Despite all these obstacles, being able to translate from one language to another is a great skill. However, translators have to have certain very specific skills in order to offer you high quality content. To do this, it is always recommended that you hire the services of a professional translator or the services of a translation agency who can ensure high quality work and guarantee the accuracy of the translation. In the case of certificate translations, all these points become even more important, as these translations will be used for official purposes, and a mistake could therefore have a very real negative impact. For a certified translation service that guarantees accuracy, acceptance and the cheapest price on the market, just get in touch, we’ll be happy to help.

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