The translator’s multi-faceted profession

7 Mar 2022

Translation is all around us in our daily lives – in countless literary works or films, in the user manual for your Chinese washing machine, or even in the internal communication of a Belgian company. And given that every industry has its own distinctive characteristics, translators often specialise in one type of translation.


 Literary and cinematographic translation

Literary and audiovisual translation, as its name suggests, consists of translating literary and cinematographic works. A word-for-word translation cannot possibly reflect the depth and subtleties of the original work in this context. The translator has a vital role to play: giving the words meaning and bringing them to life.


Technical translation

This type of translation concerns documents with a smaller audience and a limited lifespan, such as manuals, reports or sets of instructions. We all use such documents regularly and without these translations, it would be very difficult for us to understand the workings of the machines or accessories in our lives.


Scientific translation

Chemistry, physics, ecology, the environment, mathematics, engineering, biology, nuclear physics, medicine, pharmaceuticals, metrology, electrical engineering, genetics, biotechnology… science covers numerous fields, from the infinitesimal to the infinitely large. As a result, scientific translation is highly varied and can also be quite complicated. It can relate to scientific articles, theses, monographs, reports on symposiums or conferences, etc. Translating such texts – like writing them – requires meticulous attention to detail and a varied vocabulary.


Financial translation

Typical texts in this field include activity reports, technical market analyses, banking documents, audit reports and so on. The subjects are as varied as the themes (the economy, the banking sector, the stock market, accountancy, etc.). This type of translation requires precision to ensure that the translated content is faithful to the original.


Legal translation

This type of translation concerns documents such as minutes, court judgments, citations from legislation, notarial deeds, expert appraisals, contracts of all kinds, and so on. Such documents may be legally binding. As well as language training, the translator must also have extensive legal knowledge. 


Website translation

It has become essential for companies to have a presence online. Depending on its target group, a company’s website will be accessible in one or more languages. Many companies therefore use the services of translators to ensure that their content is available in all the languages their audience wants, because content that is translated into multiple languages ​​will reach a wider audience. The quality of the translation is essential, as it reflects on the company’s image.


Of course, there are other kinds of translations too. And for each of them, concentration, rigour, meticulousness and human intelligence are crucial for the production of high-quality texts that accurately convey the content of the originals. The translator’s profession is thus a multi-faceted on in which expertise is essential.