What is a translator
Anyone wishing to become a translator must first obtain the school-leaving certificate required for university entry. In Switzerland, only the Zurich (the former DOZ, now the ZHW, Zürcher Hochschule Winterthur) and the Geneva Schools of Translation and Interpreting (ETI) offer professional training and only their diplomas are recognized nationally and internationally. To be admitted to one of these two schools, the applicant must offer at least two foreign languages besides his/her mother tongue.
Professional translators always work FROM one or several foreign languages INTO their mother tongue, never the other way around. Therefore, a client wanting a text translated must tell us the source language and the target language. A translator who speaks the appropriate mother tongue will complete the assignment. Caralingua translators can provide you with translation of a source text into various target languages, such as is the case for user's manuals, film subtitles or websites.
Well educated as they might be, neither translators (nor interpreters) are walking encyclopaedias with intimate knowledge of all subjects. When you place an order for a translation, you will greatly assist the translator by providing him / her with background material (e.g. brochures, technical data sheets, internal glossaries, product lists in several languages, etc.). This additional material will enable the linguist to quickly find the terminology specific to the subject-field. Providing a contact person to whom the translator can turn if he / she has any questions regarding the text to be translated is also very useful and much appreciated.
BEWARE: make sure you work with professionals!
You will recognize a professional translator as one who works strictly and solely into his or her mother tongue and does not offer a whole range of source and target languages. Other quality criteria: if in doubt, the translator will ask questions; rates should correspond to those prevailing on the market (in Switzerland, a 55 character line costs between and 3 and 4 Swiss francs); he / she will refuse impossible deadlines (no more than 7 pages a day) and will always meet the deadlines.