Accuracy is Paramount in High-Stakes Translations

It’s a truism that accurate written translations are critical to communication. We’ve all encountered translations that were unintelligible to some degree, usually the product of a computer program or an individual with limited proficiency in the target language or in translating per se. This is especially frustrating when one is trying to follow complex assembly instructions to put together a piece of furniture! Examples abound of “funny” English translations on menus (“natural flavors” becomes “flavors identical to natural”), on signs (“toilet under repair” becomes “this toilet is being bad”), and in movie subtitles (“he’s certifiable” becomes “he’s certified”).

Writing Tools - paper pen laptop In these examples, poor translations are typically not considered “high stakes,” since one’s life is not in peril. However, in legal and medical settings poor translations can result in serious injury or loss of freedom. This occurs when a bad translation of patient instructions in a hospital causes medication to be taken incorrectly, or when a letter written by a family member to a judge explaining mitigating circumstances is rendered useless by a distorted translation. For these reasons, courts are obliged to demand high standards of translation and interpretation. Although the medical setting lags far behind the courts, more and more translators and interpreters in the healthcare industry must also  demonstrate minimum standards of competence.

Here at NCI we take accuracy seriously and offer quality translations in Spanish and a wide variety of other languages. Our corps of translators are experienced and competent and provide a certificate of accuracy with each translation. We are also fortunate that Dr. Sonia Colina, our director, has wide experience in the translation field as a practitioner, author, and instructor.  The former Director of the Spanish Translation Certificate program at Arizona State University, Dr. Colina is currently a Professor of Hispanic Linguistics in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona specializing in Translation Studies and Applied Linguistics. As Director of NCI, she brings her expertise in translation pedagogy and translation quality assessment and leads the way in overseeing our translation projects, which also enables NCI to apply her research interests to translation quality assessment and translator training and testing.

If you need a quality translation from our highly trained and experienced personnel, please visit the translation link on NCI’s website to see our services and rates. You may also upload a document to receive a quote for a translation in any language.  NCI also offers translation training workshops, either by group request or as a regular listing on our workshop schedule.