Document translation services require different approaches according to the type of document being translated and, unlike a casual translation, there are rigid guidelines the document translator must adhere to when providing the service. This is particularly important for sensitive information such medical and legal documentation.
The two most important aspects to consider in a document translation service are the languages involved and the established format of the document in a particular country. In the case of medical documents or other specialized technical fields, international standards might apply.
Required Qualifications of a Document Translator
The provider of document translation services must have the following qualifications in order to carry out a translation service successfully while offering high quality:
- The translator’s professional background must be relevant to the document being translated. For example, birth certificates, marriage certificates and similar legal documents can be translated more effectively by a lawyer; while medical documentation requires a doctor, who is sometimes required to be a specialist in a particular medical field.
- Fluency is required in both the original document language and the target language. This includes being able to work with variations within the same language among different countries.
- Document translation requires being familiarized with country-specific aspects of documentation. For example, Mexico and Chile are both Latin American and Spanish-speaking countries, but the formats and terminology used in legal documentation may vary considerably from one country to the other.
Importance of Document Translation Services
In the present globalized world there are numerous situations where official or medical documentation from one country might require a certified translation service for use in another country:
- Students who travel to foreign countries to obtain academic degrees must request their official academic documentation in their home country, authenticated by the local government. Then, it is necessary to carry out a certified document translation in order to submit the documentation in the country where the student will obtain the academic degree. Sometimes, this is necessary even if both countries speak the same language, since document formats and terminology will be different. If the student returns to his or her home country after obtaining the academic degree, the inverse process will be required: now they have to carry out an official document translation for the documents emitted by the foreign country validating the academic degree obtained.
- Moving to another country in general requires translation of personal documentation such as the birth certificate and marriage certificate, regardless of the motive for moving.
- In third world countries it is common for people to travel to developed countries to receive highly specialized medical attention that might not be available in their home country. In these cases, it will be necessary to translate documentation such as medical records or medical procedures.
- In joint ventures by corporations from countries with different native languages, the project documentation and contract will typically be required in both languages. For global business and financial companies as well as high technology business sectors will require the collaboration of professionals from diverse technical and business fields in order to provide a document translation of the adequate standards. For example, translating the documentation and contract for a renewable energy project will require the collaboration of lawyers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, environmental engineers and financial managers. In projects like these, it is common for document translation to take place both ways. For example, the Request for Proposal and Tender Documents may be emitted in one language, and then translated for the contractors that will participate in the bid. Then, when the bids are received, they will also require translation.
All of these scenarios involve sensitive documentation and rigid guidelines, and therefore require a professional translation service in order for the document translation to be carried out successfully.