Professional Ethics 

What’s Translation (For Me)?

Translation involves languages. Thus, it touches human beings in their core, as well as in their identity.

Translating means “changing the code without altering the message”, transforming without damaging, understanding and transmitting without interpreting (badly and excessively).

Therefore, it is an act of responsibility.

A well-translated text is smoothly flowing and clear, just like a (well-written) source document.

A translator might master the target language, translation techniques, orthography, linguistics, syntax as well as styles and grammar perfectly – but without a full understanding of the subject, the translation will most probably be bad, especially when the text is composed by several interconnected patterns and elements.

Thus, to translate a document, he or she absolutely needs to understand and to master the subject the document deals with, in order to ensure a logical and linguistic pertinence, in exact detail.


Moreover, a translator needs to be able to plunge into both the source's and the target's related culture, to assimilate the content of the text and to put him- or herself in the position of both the author and the receiver of the text, as well as to read between the lines.

That requires great empathy and sometimes even creative imagination, at all times being careful to preserve the original message.

Finally, to be an expert, a translator needs to have a good overview of the entire matter, without neglecting the small details.

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