How much do you know about the job of a translator? Test your knowledge with our quiz!

1. Translators will one day be replaced by computers.

False. Machine translation has made impressive progress recently, but any translator will tell you that an automatically generated text requires a great deal of editing to get it up to standards. Translation is part art, part mechanics, and the technology just cannot exercise this discernment.

2. A well-read translator is a good translator.

 True.  Great translators are usually avid readers. They love to learn and understand the world around them. And this generally leads to an increased ability to grasp the nuances of the written material to be translated. Of course, they also need proper training and experience.

3. You shouldn’t be able to recognize that it’s a translation.

True. A good translation reads like the original text. If something seems off – or worse, if you need to refer to the original to understand the meaning – then the text needs more polishing.

4. Translators can work in both directions in their language pair.

 False. Some thoroughly bilingual translators can, but most translate in only one direction – English to French, but not French to English, for instance. After all, becoming a great translator requires in-depth knowledge of an entire language. That’s demanding enough as it is!

5. Translation and interpretation are the same thing.

False. Translators deal with the written word, while interpreters translate spoken material in a live setting. Interpreters need nerves of steel, while translators require amazing attention to detail. Both professions are part of the language industry, but require different training, experience and skills.