When our client retains our services, he’s hiring not only a translator – many other people are involved in the work done by a translation company. All of them play an important role in adding value to our services so that we are not mere intermediaries.

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We have come to realize that clients, more often than not, ignore much of the jargon we use in the translation industry, and that may lead to significant misunderstandings. Sometimes, for instance, even though a client thinks he needs a translator, what he actually needs is an interpreter. Similarly, sometimes a client suggests he needs to have a text proofread and actually what he needs is to have it edited.

It is important to make sure that both the translator and the client agree on what exactly the translation company is hired to do in order to avoid wasting anyone’s time and money.

Let’s shed some light on some of these key terms:

TRANSLATOR
A professional whose job is to render a written text into another language.

CERTIFIED TRANSLATOR
A professional translator duly licensed to provide his professional services. In the United States it is not necessary to be certified or licensed in order to provide a certified translation for official use, whereas in Argentina it is required by a specific law (i.e., Argentine Law 20,305).

INTERPRETER
A person who translates the words that someone is speaking into a different language (including sign language).

PROOFREADER
A person in charge of reading the translation and correcting mistakes (typos, spelling, punctuation, and obvious errors).

COPYEDITOR
A person in charge of preparing a text to be published or used. It takes more time than proofreading because it includes looking for grammatical errors and style consistency.

EDITOR
A person in charge of examining a text with the intention of improving the flow and quality of writing.

PROJECT LEADER
The person who facilitates, manages and monitors the progress of a translation project. In some translation companies, it is referred to as Project Manager.

GLOSSATOR
The compiler of glossaries used in each translation project. Glossaries are essential to maintain consistency when more than one translator is involved in a translation project, which is usually the case.

TRANSCRIBER
A person who makes a written copy of what someone else is saying. In court, there’s always a transcriber who makes a record of the testimony.

TRANSLITERATOR
A person who transcribes a text in one alphabet into corresponding letters of another alphabet.

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