What is the difference between general and specialised language translation services?

26th March 2019

Are you confused by the terms general and specialised translation? Do you wonder what the difference is?

What is general translation?

General translation is the simplest type of translation which doesn’t require specific industry knowledge. The language used in general translation is easy to understand and aimed at the general public. Examples of general language translation include blog articles, business letters, users guides, operating manuals or and job applications.

However, it doesn’t mean that knowing two languages is enough to provide this type of translation. We would always recommend using an experienced translator or a translation agency to provide this kind of work. Even though the translation itself doesn’t require an expert with subject specific knowledge, the person translating should be a professional expert in linguistics and understand the process of translation.

What’s specialised language translation?

Specialised translation refers to a specific area or industry, for example legal, technical or marketing translation. It might be hard to understand by people outside the industry and thus requires translation experts who understand the terminology, jargon and the linguistic conventions of their respective field. It is common that a translator would have one of two areas of expertise. They aren’t experts in every subject.  A technical translator wouldn’t be of much help translating marketing materials, and vice versa. This is why choosing the right translator for your project is vital.

When do I need a specialised translation?

You need specialised translation if the content is using terminology that isn’t widely understood by people outside of the industry; if the content has to be altered to appeal to a specific audience or if the content has legal implications.

For example, if you run a global company and need your marketing materials translated to appeal to your clients’ abroad, specialised translation would be required. This includes anything from translating brochures to posters, marketing presentations and more.

Is specialised translation more costly?

Because the level of knowledge required to provide specialised translation is much higher, this type of translation will tend to be more expensive than general translation. Is your company’s good name and reputation worth paying less and hiring a general translator? Probably not.

Since specialised translation requires language specialists, using a translation agency is highly recommended. Foreign Tongues work with professional translators, specialising in all areas, who are experts in their field. Let us do the hard work and manage your projects for you.

Get your free quote here.


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