Five proven strategies to determine what documents to translate

September 24, 2015

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Translation is a highly skilled, fulfilling and rewarding job.

Translating documents can be expensive, particularly for smaller businesses with strict budgets, so it is important to be strategic about which ones to interpret.

Some of the selection criteria include:

  • Attorney recommended documents
  • Knowledge of new laws and regulations guidelines
  • Using in-house translators to summarize legalese
  • Adding a disclaimer noting that the source version is the official document

Translators and interpreters perform an influential part in globalization.

By accurately conveying information, they intensify communication from the source language to the target language in various countries throughout the world.


Interpreters handle verbal communication while translators manage written translations.

Globalization and Translation

Globalization affects the translation industry both positively and negatively.

Although translation occurs in a broad range of contexts and settings, there is a small overlapping area that is concerning. Overlaps happen when translators are required to do one of the following:

  1. Orally express what is in a written text, also known as sight translation
  2. Convert a written or spoken text in another language into writing, referred to commonly as translation

These scenarios raise several questions:

  • When is it proper to ask a translator to read a written text and simultaneously give an oral interpretation in another language (sight translation)?
  • Should interpreters be expected to produce written translations in the course of their duties?
  • What supplementary training should an interpreter have to develop the necessary competencies to perform these functions?

The increase in cross-cultural interactions due to globalization has had an impact on changes in vocabulary of the concerned languages.

It has led to increased borrowing of words, such as adopting a word in target language as it is or in a slightly localized version of the word in the source language.

Toward Cross-Cultural Communication

The skills of written translation include the capacity to discern written text in a source language and produce a comparable written version in a target language.

Most professional translators provide only unidirectional translations working into their native language.

Unlike spoken language interpreters, translators often have the luxury of time to come up with the best approach for capturing the nuances in the original text.

 The increase of globalization has resulted in an expansion of interactions between cultures and people of the world.

These cross-cultural interactions have increased the need for translating and interpreting, anticipating a rise in the translation industry as a whole.

The overall goal of translation is creating an internationalized text, one that is easily translated and localized into other languages with minimal loss of expression and nuances.

Core focuses in this endeavor should include:

  • Unambiguous vocabulary
  • Simple sentence structure
  • Neutral, culturally sensitive language
  • Consistent use of terminology

Translators assist in the cross-cultural communication process across a broad range of industries by converting written language into the target one.

For that reason, translators play a vital role in the global business enterprise. There are multiple translation opportunities for companies, each of which carries different benefits and risks.

When evaluating translation options for each type of content, make sure to determine the importance of quality, turnaround time, scalability and cost to help identify the best choices for determining which documents to translate.

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