A hugely misleading title to this blog post, well on face value it is anyway, because my father most certainly wasn’t a lawyer. It does add great metaphorical value at the end though 🙂
A recent post on the UKTI LinkedIn group asked if there were any grants available to assist in the translation of their website into South American Portuguese. Despite being quite active on this group recently I decided, initially, not to comment on this post for a couple of reasons.
- I didn’t see the post within the first few days of it being published
- Once I did see the post, the comments I read on it prompted me to write this blog post instead.
The question has been posted by someone who, quite clearly, doesn’t know much about the technical skills required for website localization.
It is also very apparent that she has a need for professional advice on this subject matter.
As a result the contributors offered various forms of help, ranging from “I’ve forwarded this to a friend of mine to see if he can help” through to multilingual business managers offering their translation services.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt that somebody who is multilingual would be able to knock up a reasonable translation but it won’t be a professional website localization targeted at the desired audience and including professionally sourced keywords for that locale. And that’s my point. People who have studied linguistics to become a professional translator or interpreter have spent years perfecting their craft in an educational environment. They continue to learn throughout their professional career and they quite often come from a different professional background bringing the skills and expertise they have mastered in that profession into the linguistic world with them. Finally they are extremely passionate about what they do, which is why they are so darn good at it.
In short; there is no substitute for a professionally localized website!
I am pleased that so many people reached out to help the lady who asked the original question but here’s my advise. (which I have since posted in response to the question)
- To find out if there is a grant available for website localization, I would speak to your local UKTI rep. I am fairly certain that there is match funding for such activities but I am no longer involved enough to know for sure.
- And If your website is going to be your international shop window in South America then have it done professionally.
So here’s the metaphor:
Asking someone who has grown up in a multilingual environment but has not received any professional linguistic training to “professionally” translate something for you, is the same as asking someone who grew up in a family of lawyers to defend you in a court of law.
You just wouldn’t!
Trust me I’m an accountant 😉