The English-language consultant

MET’s guidelines for choosing an editor, translator, interpreter or other language professional

Second, revised edition 2015

English-language consultants – also called language professionals – facilitate written or spoken communication in the English language by providing various language services. The most common of these are editing, translating, interpreting, writing, and training in English-language communication.

Language professionals combine language skills with subject knowledge and multicultural awareness. Specialization in one or a few languages (besides English) is fundamental for translators and interpreters, but even editors, writers, and trainers may specialize in serving clients from a particular language community. Many consultants also specialize in a subject in which they have prior academic and work experience or ongoing professional interests. And, because these professionals mediate intercultural communication, they understand cultural preferences and deal sensitively with cultural differences.

The range of language services is varied, as are the skills needed to perform these services at a high level. For this reason, MET has prepared these guidelines to help potential clients choose consultants wisely.

Types of language services

Professional English-language support is common in science and academia, but it is also valued in business and in cultural, political, and non-governmental organizational settings when cross-cultural interactions are important. The main types of language services used in these settings are summarized here.


For written text, editing involves modifying the language to improve its presentation, style, accuracy, usefulness, etc. There are many types, or "levels", of editing that vary in the scope and extent of the modifications. The level best for your job depends on the type of medium (for example, document, slide presentation, or web page), its purpose, and your particular needs. A professional editor will evaluate your text and needs, and suggest how to proceed. But note that, because of the different skills required, not all editors do all types of editing.

One way to classify different types of editing is by the depth of the service provided:
  • Copy-editing is a standard pre-publication process that entails correcting and improving the spelling and grammar, and applying the agreed house style.
  • Language editing combines basic corrections of spelling and grammar with stylistic modifications aimed at improving a text’s readability, clarity, and usefulness.
  • In substantive editing, the editor carefully checks the internal consistency, information flow, logic, readability, numerical and statistical sense, terminology, content organization, etc. The editor then makes substantive changes where needed by adding, removing, or modifying the content. This type of editing requires both linguistic and specialist knowledge.
  • In developmental editing, an editor plays a major role in determining the content, structure, and style of a text. A developmental editor may give instructions to an author before writing begins, for example when a publisher commissions scholastic or technical books. Alternatively, a developmental editor may radically restructure a text drafted by an author so that it meets the requirements for publication or use.
Another way to classify editing is according to who commissions the work: a publisher or an author. When editors work directly for authors, with the aim of making a draft fit for purpose (e.g. acceptance for publication by a publisher), they are called authors’ editors (as opposed to publishers’ editors). The work these editors do, called author editing, requires a mix of linguistic and content expertise and familiarity with publication strategies; it often involves close collaboration with authors during the writing process. The term proofreading is also used to describe this type of editing, especially when the texts being revised are university term papers and theses, even though it originally referred solely to checking of galley proofs just before publication.


In simple terms, translation means rewriting a text in another language: changing a source text into a target text. So if you have a written text and you need it in a different language, you will need a translator.

Contracting translation services can be daunting for a first-time buyer, but a professional translator will be able to guide you through the process and find the best solution for you. Translators have many talents: they are excellent writers, subject experts, and cultural insiders. If you hire a professional translator, you should receive a stylish, specialist, and culturally attuned text that will help you achieve your goal, whether that means attracting more business or reaching a wider audience.

For legal translations, authorities in some jurisdictions appoint sworn translators. These authorities may only accept translations (of evidentiary material and other documents) produced by a sworn translator, i.e. a legal translation specialist who is registered with the relevant authority. Policies vary among countries and even within countries, from court to court, and depending on the type of document. In Spain, for example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation appoints sworn translators and interpreters and lists them on its website. Note that not every project calls for a sworn translation. Moreover, many legal translation specialists are not sworn translators. Nonetheless, they are still experts in their field with noteworthy legal-translation experience. To know what rules apply for your case, check with the authority – which may provide a list of approved translators should one exist – and double-check with your translator.

For business translations, if you want to target a foreign market, a translator’s cultural insight will help you make the right impression. There are two main approaches: first, subtly adapting the content to accommodate target readers, but keeping the same meaning (sometimes called "localization"); and second, copywriting across cultures and recreating the text in the target culture (sometimes called "transcreation"). In either case, be clear what your aim is and discuss your plan with your translator.

If you need a quick turnaround, some translators offer "for-information" work, meaning an accurate translation suitable for internal communications. For external communications, where style is paramount (marketing texts, for example), "for-publication" translation is recommended. It is well worth the extra time and effort when your reputation is on the line.

Other services related to translation

Language professionals can also work with previously translated texts, to improve the quality and style and make sure the target text does what you want it to do. There are four main services:
  • Revision: ensuring that the translation is fit for purpose and checking that the target text agrees with the source text
  • Review: ensuring that the target text is fit for purpose
  • Proofreading: checking the typeset copy before publication
  • Back-translation: translating a translated text back into its original language, to check that meaning has been maintained. This service is important, for example, when questionnaires are used to gather data in different cultures.
Choose the one that best suits your needs. If you are not sure which to go for, tell the translator exactly what the text is for and they will recommend the best type of service.


Interpreters listen to a speaker (or watch a person signing in a sign language) and convey the message in another spoken (or signed) language. Spoken or signed communication needs to be mediated from one language into another in all types of settings, from high-level political conferences, scientific symposia, and business negotiations to medical visits and welfare applications.

There are two main forms of interpreting: simultaneous and sequential. In simultaneous interpreting, the audience listens through headphones while the speaker talks, with only a slight lag. In sequential interpreting (including consecutive interpreting), the interpreter begins to speak only when the speaker stops; this takes longer, but it allows the audience to hear the speaker as well as the interpreter.

Different assignments require different levels of training, subject knowledge, general knowledge, people skills, and experience. Simultaneous interpreting requires special equipment and teams of at least two interpreters. Consultant interpreters put together teams with the right languages and skills, and can help clients hire the right equipment.


While a translator renders text into a new language and an editor improves a text prior to use, there are times when the best communication strategy is to employ a writer. A writer, when given explicit instructions, gathers relevant information and synthesizes it into an effective original text that meets the client’s needs and expectations in terms of content, style, and format. Because this language service requires familiarity with the structure and form of the intended document type, writers often specialize in a type of document, such as grant or funding applications, drug authorization requests, web content, company annual reports, and marketing materials.

In scholarly communication, the use of a writer is often considered inappropriate because of issues of intellectual responsibility. A writer may be hired to facilitate the communication of a complex scientific study (especially medical research), but this contribution must be acknowledged. Language professionals who offer these services are familiar with, and adhere to, the guidelines about writing services in the academic field in which they work.

Training in English-language communication

Some language consultants help their clients learn to give well-delivered oral presentations or produce effective communication materials in English. Hiring a trainer is an investment that can help you improve your professional English. The training provided is a personalized service designed to meet the needs of an individual or a group (e.g. business colleagues). Examples of types of training include coaching in public speaking, consulting on publication strategies (e.g. for research teams or for journals and their publishers), and teaching of academic writing.

Characteristics of English-language consultants

Language professionals produce top-quality work, have a strong sense of business ethics, and operate as well-organized businesses. From the client’s point of view, the outcome of language consulting should be a high-quality product and a transparent, reliable process. Below are five features to look for in a language professional and his or her output.

A consistently satisfactory product

Professionals agree to take on a job only when they have the skills required to provide a high-quality product or service. They respect schedules, exhibit good interpersonal skills, and deliver the same high quality again and again. Some language professionals provide a satisfaction guarantee for their work, remaining available to make any requested revisions once the client has received and reviewed the work.

 If a satisfaction guarantee is important for your job, ask that this extra service be included in the initial quote.

Multilingualism and multiculturalism

Seamless, stress-free communication is a fundamental part of a high-quality consultancy service. At MET, we believe that being able to communicate with our clients in their native tongue or normal working language, whichever they prefer, is the key to client satisfaction. We also believe that having extensive personal knowledge of our clients’ socioeconomic environment makes us better able to recognize – and deal effectively and sensitively with – our clients’ cultural and style preferences. A language professional who is multilingual and multicultural will generally provide a more satisfactory service than a consultant without these skills.

 A language professional who speaks your language and is familiar with your cultural and business settings can tailor the services to your specific requirements.

Ethical conduct

Language professionals practise discretion: they respect the confidentiality of their clients and the material they are entrusted with. They are also familiar with the ethical issues surrounding the production of communication materials. In particular, they recognize and seek to avoid unethical behaviour such as plagiarism, ghostwriting, biased and fraudulent reporting, and redundant scientific publication. They also assist and educate their clients in avoiding these problems by being familiar with the latest international standards. For example, they may help a client clarify a conflict of interest and they may notice the unauthorized copying of texts and thus save the client from being accused of plagiarism. And, to ensure greater transparency regarding authorship, many language professionals will request that their contributions to documents be acknowledged.

 If confidentiality is critical for your job, ask your language consultant to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Engagement with the profession

Professionals engage in continuing professional development in order to hone their skills and stay up to date. Staying up to date is important because of the continual evolution of modern languages, communication standards, publishing technologies, and ethical issues, for example.

 To find out if your language consultant is up to date with the best practices in your field, enquire about association membership and attendance at conferences and training events.

Professional business practices

Self-employed language consultants, whether freelancers or entrepreneurs coordinating the activities of several operators, demonstrate their professional attitude to business by adhering to the laws of the land. These may include registration as a business, collection and payment of VAT, and proper invoicing.

 If you expect a high-quality service, expect also to contract a regular business agreement covering billing and payment schedules.

FAQs about choosing and working with a language consultant


What should I consider when hiring a language consultant?

High-quality communication can boost the success of your product, service, or career, so choose a language professional carefully. Think about the following:
  • Language service required – editing, translating (and related services), interpreting, writing, or training
  • Specialist subject area and type of communication materials to be produced
  • Languages in which written or spoken proficiency is required
  • Time frame and budget
 For any project, discuss your needs frankly and openly with a language professional.

Can a single language professional provide my organization with all the language services that we require to work internationally?

Some consultants specialize in only one type of language service, while others may combine several roles in a unique blend. Because these services require specialist skills and knowledge, a single consultant is unlikely to be able to translate, edit, interpret, and train others all at a high level. Some language professionals coordinate projects and engage other consultants; the advantage is that you have one point of contact and know that someone is overseeing the quality of the work and making sure that deadlines are respected.

 If your organization needs various high-quality communication services, different language professionals are needed.

 Some language professionals work in teams in order to provide a range of services. Ask if they can coordinate a team effort for your project.

Do I need a language consultant specialized in my particular field?

Yes. Language consultants usually specialize in certain subjects (e.g. biomedical sciences, law, engineering, sociology) according to their education and prior work experiences and as a result of continuing professional training in a field. They also tend to specialize in certain types of communication products relevant for that field (e.g. research papers, web content, international business meetings, company promotional literature).

 Hiring a specialist means that the end product will be more likely to meet end-users’ expectations in terms of quality, style, organization, and terminology.

Do I need a native speaker of English?

There is no simple answer. It really depends on the service you require. For language professionals who deal with written content (editors, translators, and writers), the answer is generally ‘yes’, because the quality of writing produced by native speakers is usually better than that of people who learned the language later in life. Nonetheless, a few non-native speakers achieve near-native proficiency and expertise or, indeed, may surpass that of native speakers. Still there are two further considerations here:
  • First, for the editing or translation of highly technical documents, a non-native (or near-native) speaker who has subject expertise may be a better option than a native speaker who does not.
  • Second, many professionals only work into their mother tongue. What’s more, some professional translator associations stipulate that members only work into their native language. However, do bear in mind that speakers of rarer languages often work into and out of their mother tongue.

The situation for interpreters is slightly different. Since most interpreting assignments require two-way communication between speakers of different languages, many interpreters work into a non-native language as well as their native tongue. However, for important meetings or events, native speaking capabilities or even particular regional accents can make a big difference. Will your meeting and your audience require perfect grammar and pronunciation and an extensive native vocabulary in every language used? Are you more particular about everything sounding ‘just right’ in one of the languages? State what you need and feel free to ask about the qualifications of each interpreter in a suggested team.

For trainers of English-language communication, the most important feature to look for is specialist knowledge combined with teaching skills. For speech-based activities (e.g. public speaking), a trainer who is also a native or near-native speaker of English may be better qualified to impart certain features of oral communication. For text-based activities, native and non-native speakers can be equally effective teachers.

 The right language professional for your job will have an appropriate balance of English proficiency and specialist knowledge and skills.

 When your image is at stake and you want to make the best impression by using natural, nuanced and culturally attuned language, opt for a native speaker.

How long should a job take and how much should it cost?

Discuss your specific job frankly with your potential language consultant. Professionals are able to assess how much time they need for a particular job. However, since at any one point in time they are probably working on multiple projects, language professionals provide clients with an estimate of both costs and delivery time.

Always allow plenty of lead-time when planning a language project. A single job is not necessarily carried out in a continuous time period but may be worked on at different times spread out over several days or longer. This interrupted way of working is actually advantageous in that it gives language consultants time to think over the job and find better solutions than if the job were rushed to completion within a shorter, unbroken period of time.

We can’t tell you how much your job will cost but a language professional can. Different consultants express their quotes in different units, but certain factors are always taken into consideration: length (e.g. number of pages, words or characters of text, or hours of work); the specific field or industry and the complexity of the material to be worked on; the type of language service requested; and the language combination (for translators and interpreters).

 When requesting a quote, be prepared to provide the consultant with all the information needed for an accurate assessment: this may mean showing the text to be translated or edited, providing your meeting agenda and expected language breakdown for interpreting services, or answering questions about timing.

 For urgent assignments, don’t merely expect to pay more for extra effort: urgency may mean the consultant will share the job with a colleague, with added costs for quality control and revision for consistency.

 One point about pricing is clear: our work can be cheap and fast, or fast and good, or even cheap and good, but it cannot be cheap, fast and good.

What references or evidence of good work can I ask for?

For text-based services, language consultants may provide samples of completed work upon request. Because editors, translators, and writers are often acknowledged by their clients on the completed documents, you may also be able to find examples of their work in the published literature. For interpreting and training, consultants may provide names of satisfied clients. Language professionals are often members of professional organizations and may hold specific university degrees or certifications.

 When working with a language professional for the first time, we recommend that you start by commissioning a small or relatively simple job. Assess the quality of the service and your ability to work together before proposing more complex tasks.

 If you’d like to know more about a language professional’s experience, ask to see samples from his or her portfolio.

My organization is launching a major multilingual communication project: who can help us with the planning?

Because many communication projects require more than one type of specialist, some language consultants operate as project managers by selecting and coordinating a team of other professionals. For example, project managers may handle multilingual translations of a source document for international use, they may coordinate the communication aspects (scientific, administrative, or public) of large or international research projects, or they may handle quality control on large translation projects. Consultant interpreters act as project managers (coordinating teams of interpreters) as a matter of course, but might also arrange for a reference glossary to be produced or even commission written translations for the meeting.

 If you have a large communication project, start by looking for a language consultant who has experience managing such projects and can recruit the various professional figures needed.

Do I need a language professional based in my own city?

Some language services, namely interpreting and training, require the consultant to be on site; consultants who offer such services will travel to the workplace. Text-based activities, in contrast, are commonly done at a distance, for convenience and to contain costs. Indeed, editors, translators and writers typically interact with clients by email, phone and internet telephony rather than in person, and they almost always receive and send their work electronically. Therefore, for these activities, clients can search for a language professional in a geographical area beyond their own city (within their own country or abroad). 

 If you require an on-site service but there is no ideal candidate in your city, you can hire from the wider area and pay the consultant to travel.

Can MET help me find an English-language consultant?

MET is not an agency that puts clients in contact with language consultants. Clients who wish to hire MET members can search the online database of members who make their profiles public. For long-term consultant positions, MET may post an announcement on its internal mailing list. Publishers and communications companies who share our interests are encouraged to become institutional members and to attend our conferences and workshops, where they’ll meet many consultants engaged in their own continuing professional development. Watch the MET website for meeting announcements.

 Contact MET’s Membership Chair to enquire about advertising a job vacancy or about becoming an institutional member.


About MET
MET is a not-for-profit association of language and communication experts. Our members provide English-language support for cross-cultural projects, serving a wide range of clients in different fields. We concentrate on needs in Mediterranean cultures, facilitating communication mainly in English. MET organizes continuing professional development opportunities for its members; it does not provide translation or editing services.

All negotiations between MET members and their clients are personal and extraneous to MET. As a membership association that provides training opportunities for its members, MET is not responsible for the outcome of such negotiations and will not mediate in the event of disagreement, nor can it be held accountable for the quality of the work produced by its members. Advice given in this document is meant to guide clients in choosing consultants wisely.

Second, revised edition coordinated by Valerie Matarese with contributions from (in alphabetical order) Helen Casas, Mary Fons i Fleming, Marije de Jager, Felicity Neilson, Helen Oclee-Brown, and the MET Council. The first edition was drafted by Joy Burrough-Boenisch, Valerie Matarese, and Felicity Neilson, and revised by the MET Council incorporating contributions from numerous MET members.

MET CC BY-SA 3.0  You may copy, distribute, and display this document and derivative works based upon it provided that authorship is attributed to "MET Mediterranean Editors and Translators". Document created 27 March 2008. Revised 10 September 2015.

Glossary of terms for the language profession - MET

Author editing Editing of manuscripts before they are submitted to a publisher for publication (as distinct from editing of documents already accepted for publication). The purpose of author editing is to bring the manuscript to a standard where it is likely to be accepted for publication. Author editing does not include translation.
Authors’ editor An authors’ editor works with authors (usually academic authors, researchers and scientists) to make draft texts fit for purpose, whether the purpose be publication in a scholarly journal or book or submission of a grant proposal.
Back-translation The practice of translating a target text back into the source language, without reference to the source text. The back-translated text can then be compared with the source text in order to detect any discrepancies that might indicate inaccuracy, ambiguity or error in the translation.
Back-translation can be useful for sensitive or high-risk information, where conceptual and cultural correspondence of source and target is vital to the validity of the results obtained. Examples include questionnaires for cross-cultural surveys, market research questionnaires, medical forms and focus group transcripts.
Certified translator See sworn translator
Community interpreting Interpreting performed to facilitate communication with public or basic services (such as police, healthcare providers, or welfare services). Also known as public-service interpreting, and frequently referred to according to its institutional setting (e.g. police interpreting, court interpreting, medical interpreting). Informal interpreting provided by friends, acquaintances or family members is sometimes classified as community interpreting, but may raise ethical issues in public-service contexts.
Conference interpreting Interpreting at conferences, seminars, lectures, or similarly structured events in which most speaking turns are long and complex. Most trained conference interpreters are able to interpret in both simultaneous mode and consecutive mode, but simultaneous is currently the prevailing mode and some training schools no longer teach consecutive.
Consecutive interpreting A type of sequential interpreting in which the interpreter usually takes notes so that the speaker has enough time (up to 3-5 minutes) to flesh out a concept, structure a complex thought, or even deliver a whole speech before pausing. Longer speaking turns allow speakers to collect their thoughts and speak more eloquently and also enable interpreters to deliver the message more effectively; but they require interpreters with good note-taking skills and memory. Some professionals speak of consecutive interpreting to refer to sequential interpreting of any kind, and refer to the above-described practice as long consecutive interpreting.
Copy-editing Editing of a written text to improve formatting, style and accuracy. The purpose of copy-editing is to make a written text ready for distribution, whether in print or electronically. Copy-editors who work in academic publishing sometimes refer to themselves as manuscript editors.
Copywriting Writing of marketing and promotional texts. “Copy” is the text in brochures, billboards, websites, emails, advertisements, etc. A copywriter’s job is to persuade and to influence people’s behaviour through words.
Developmental editing Editing of a text, in collaboration with the author, during the initial drafting or in a redrafting phase. A developmental editor will help the author plan the overall structure and outline of the text, although the author retains responsibility for the content.
Editor A language facilitator who makes improvements to a written text to make it fit for its intended purpose. See editing for the types of work this can involve.
Editing Making improvements to a written text to make it fit for its intended purpose. There are many different types of editing, including author editing, developmental editing, substantive editing, copy-editing and language editing.
Faithfulness See fidelity
Fidelity Tendency of a translated text to follow the source text closely in form and style, so as to create an accurate target-language copy of the original. Fidelity is often contrasted with liberty.
First language A person’s first language is the language in which the person is most proficient. For some people this will be the language they learned first; for others it may be a language they learned second or third; but for most it will be the language they have learned longest.
For-information A for-information translation will convey the gist of the source text without meeting the usual translation standards. It may be suitable for personal use or for internal communication, but will not be suitable for presentations or documents intended for a wider audience.
For-publication A for-publication translation will be fit for publication in all respects, including presentation, accuracy, completeness, style and readability.
Fit for publication A text that is fit for publication is suited in all ways to the purpose for which it is intended. It will be easily read and understood and will convey the desired message.
Ghostwriting Writing of books, manuscripts, reports and other texts on behalf of another person, who is credited as the author. Although widely accepted in some areas of publishing, such as celebrity memoirs, in the field of scientific research, ghostwriting may be considered unethical.
Interpreter A language professional who renders speech in one language (including sign language) into speech in another language (or into a sign language). Interpreting is oral or signed, whereas translation deals with written texts.
Language editing Editing of a written text to improve its style and linguistic correctness, as opposed to the meaning or argument.
Language professional A person who spends a major part of their working time carrying out activities in which their language skills are central.
Legal translation Translation of documents in the field of law. The term is sometimes used in a more restricted sense to refer to the translation of documents (e.g. certificates, court papers, contracts) for legal purposes. For such a translation to have legal force, it must be certified by a suitably authorised translator. See Sworn translation.
Liaison interpreting Sequential interpreting involving conversational exchanges with brief speaking turns among a limited number of parties. Little or no note taking is required, though jotting down names or figures may be helpful. The difficulty level is expected to be such that little or no prior studying or terminology research is required. Community interpreting is frequently liaison interpreting.
Liberty Tendency of a translated text to depart from the source text in form, style and content, so as to more effectively reproduce qualities of the original that would otherwise be lost.
Localization Adaptation of a product or service to the language and culture of a target market or locale. Localization will involve translation but may also involve adapting content and presentation, so as to make the product culturally and technically, as well as linguistically, appropriate to the target locale.
Medical interpreting Usually, the term medical interpreting refers to community interpreting in a medical setting, but clients and interpreters involved in the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) industry may have medical conference interpreting in mind. Different skillsets are needed, so it is important to clarify what is required.
Non-disclosure agreement, or NDA A contract, or part of a contract, in which at least one party undertakes not to disclose certain types of information or use them inappropriately. A client may reasonably require a language professional to sign an NDA to protect proprietary information, but should state so up front, particularly if the language professional is to act as a contractor and hire others. The language professional may also seek reasonable exclusions; for instance, disclosure of information legitimately obtained from other sources, including public ones, is typically allowable. An NDA is an appropriate document for clients to stipulate any special IT security requirements, such as encryption or noncloud storage. Some companies include other types of provisions in their standard NDA. Language professionals are likely to examine the terms very carefully (for instance, non-compete clauses are often viewed as excessive unless they have reasonable exclusions).
Plagiarism The unacknowledged use of other people's words or ideas. Different cultures have different understandings of what constitutes plagiarism, and many cases of plagiarism are unintentional and inadvertent. An English-language professional may notice a problem of this type in the text and suggest ways to address it to meet the standards of the English-speaking world.
Proofreading Proofreading originally referred only to the act of checking galley proofs for errors. At this stage, corrections are expected to be few, usually involving typos, formatting errors such as misplaced italics, or at most, missing text lost when typesetting. However, the term is also used by many to refer to what we term author editing. When making arrangements with language professionals, it is important to clarify exactly what meaning is intended.
Public-service interpreting See community interpreting.
Sequential interpreting Any form of interpreting in which the interpreter's words do not overlap with the speaker's. Consecutive and liaison interpreting are sequential modes.
Sight translation The oral rendering of a written text into a different language with little or no advance preparation. It may be considered an extreme form of for-information translation, but is most typically performed by interpreters in the context of interpreting work.
Simultaneous interpreting Interpreting that is performed while the speaker is speaking. Interpreters sit in sound-insulated booths, speakers must use microphones even if the room is small, and specific sound equipment is required (interpreter consoles that have headphones to hear the speeches and microphones for interpreting output; radiator units to broadcast the output; and headsets for participants to hear the output).
Source language Language in which the source text is written.
Source text Text a translator is given to translate into another language.
Substantive editing Editing of a written text, often in consultation with the author, to make the meaning and argument clear. Substantive editing addresses the substance of the text, not just the style or presentation.
Sworn translation In many countries, an officially accepted translation produced by a translator who is authorised for that purpose by the relevant body in the translator’s country (see sworn translator). A sworn translation will reproduce every feature of the source text, including signatures and stamps, as they appear on the original. A sworn translation is needed when the translated document (e.g. birth certificate, medical report, contract) is to be presented to an official body or authority or is to have legal force.
In the UK, a translation may be sworn before a legal professional, but the certifying or swearing has no bearing on the quality of the translation. It merely serves to identify the translator and her qualifications, so that she is accountable.
Sworn translators frequently work into a language other than their first language.
Sworn translator In many countries, a translator who has passed an examination and is registered as a sworn translator with the relevant authority; in some countries, the translator must swear an oath before a court.
A sworn translator is authorized to produce translations that have legal force. Each such translation will bear a declaration of completeness and correctness and will be certified by the translator’s signature and official stamp.
Not all legal translation requires the services of a sworn translator. A sworn translator may be needed if the translated document is to be presented to an official body or authority.
Target language Language into which the source document is rendered.
Target text Final translated document.
Telephone interpreting Interpreting performed using a phone line to communicate with one or more parties. Standard telephone sound quality is not suitable for reliable simultaneous interpreting, so sequential interpreting is usually preferable, at least for the portions of the conversation the interpreter hears over the phone.
Transcreation Copywriting across cultures, usually aimed at developing advertising copy that will communicate the client’s brand message effectively in the target culture. Although transcreation may start from a translation of a source text, it often involves developing a completely new text that will re-implement the creative concept for the target audience.
Translating for legal equivalence Producing translations that are the legal equivalent of the source text and that are accepted by the courts and authorities of the target jurisdiction. In many countries, such a translation can only be produced by a sworn translator.
Translation editing Editing of a translated text to improve accuracy and style, usually with reference to the original language version. Translation editing is not synonymous with proofreading, although a translation editor may provide proofreading services.
Translation review According to the EN 15038 European Quality Standard for Translation Service Providers, review is a monolingual check of a translated text to assess the suitability of the final translation for the agreed purpose. It involves reading and editing the translated text without consulting the original, with a view to improving clarity, flow and technical accuracy. It is usually done by a subject expert.
Translation revision According to the EN 15038 European Quality Standard for Translation Service Providers, translation revision is a quality assurance process that involves comparing the source and target text to ensure terminological consistency, language register, style and completeness, and making any necessary changes. It is usually done by a translator.
Translator A language professional who renders written text in one language into written text in another language. Translation deals with written texts, whereas interpreting is oral or signed.
Whispered interpreting A mode that is similar to simultaneous interpreting but is performed without equipment for a maximum of two or three listeners who must be physically close to the interpreter. Whispered interpreting may inconvenience non-listening participants and speakers, and poor acoustic conditions may have a significant impact on the interpreter's ability to follow speakers.