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Translation can be done in an informal or official manner. It can be done to make a personal message or letter comprehensible to a foreign friend or convey the meaning of a business document to an international business partner. Translation is also practiced in law firms and courts of justice to make it possible for foreign language-speakers to understand the meanings of contracts and legal documents. The perception of translation varies from one individual to another, and some people take translation too lightly. In reality, it is a very serious task that requires great skills and commitment. Before you decide how you are going to get your texts or documents translated, you should know about some common misconceptions concerning translation.

1. Anybody who knows a foreign language can be a translator

This is probably the most common misconception about translation. Having basic or intermediate ability to read, write, and speak a foreign language does not make a person qualified to be a translator. A translator needs to show mastery of two or more languages, a mother tongue and one or more foreign languages. Also, he or she must possess excellent writing skills, as well as good knowledge of the nuances that are used in the languages. Since language is influenced by culture, it is essential that a translator understands the cultures behind the source and target languages. Otherwise, it is almost impossible to produce an accurate translation

2. Translation is an easy job

Translation is by no means an easy job. It can be a very arduous, complex, and intricate task. A translator has to concentrate on two different documents at the same time, and having to move between two mind-frames constantly can be very mentally-exhausting. While translating, a translator has to read and register information from the source document and digest it completely before presenting it accurately in another language. He or she needs to possess an extensive vocabulary and good knowledge of the subtleties in the source language in order to produce a translation that is as similar in meaning and style to the original document as possible.

3. Computers can do translation

Translation programs are no doubt becoming more and more effective, but they will never be able to surpass expert human translators. Computers are unable to understand the subtleties and complexities of languages, and they cannot identify writing styles and tones. They are capable of translating one-dimensional sentences accurately, but they do not have the special touch that makes a document engaging and convincing to its readers. As such, good human translators will always be able to produce higher quality translations than computers.

4. Professional translators are not necessary

This is partly true, because some translations can be done satisfactorily without using a professional translator. However, if you need to do important documents, the only way to ensure that the translation will be professionally prepared and accurate is to engage the service of a professional translator. A translation that is done by an unqualified translator will contain a lot of errors, and it can be partially or completely incomprehensible. Those who read it will have a bad impression of your company or organization.