The definition of translation is the process of translating words or text from one language into another. It can be simply understood that someone with proficiency in two different languages should be able to do the work of a translator, or an interpreter. However, things are far more complex from that.
That simplified understanding of translation, unfortunately, is considered by many people to be the absolute. It almost feels like the translation job is taken a little bit too lightly; for a person who has experienced the actual work, translation and interpretation are not so simple. Language proficiency will only provide the basis part for the job, and if that is all you have, you will find yourself having to learn the ropes to translation.
In Vietnam, there is no official status for a translator or interpreter. Universities do not provide education for translators & interpreters, thus there is no official degree for them. The majority of Vietnamese translators & interpreters come from a Foreign Language Bachelor degree background. The reality of a translation job however, requires much more than that. These are the top reasons why professional training in translation industry is important:
- Understanding of foreign culture
Each language represents an unique ethnic culture. Languages are spoken in different ways, not only in grammar, but in their deliveries. For example, within a minute a presenter in English speaks about 150-170 words, but in the same span of time, a Vietnamese speaks on average only 110-130 words. This can be understood in many ways, either the language delivery in Vietnamese is slower, or with fewer words the Vietnamese language could deliver the same weight of content. It is crucial to understand and make use of this, especially if you are an interpreter. Word-by-word translation from pure language proficiency can backfire you; not only does it make the translation unnecessary long or short, but it will create difficulties in understanding for the audience & readers, sometimes even misunderstandings.
- Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) Tools and other new technology trends
SDL Trados, memoQ and Wordfast might be familiar names for those who are acquainted with the translation industry. For a newly introduced ex-university student however, these popular CAT Tools might sound like computer games or typing trainer programs to them. No official professional training for translators means that those who are new to the industry must learn to use these programs for a start. This is a minor setback for those who are quick to learn technologies, but as a whole the lack of training about technology uses in translation could create a general unawareness for translators in Vietnam. With so many new technology trends in translation emerging, they could find themselves in a passive position as the industry changes overtime.
- Field specializations
The nature of translation is to support the communication across languages for other fields and industries to thrive. It creates a crucial part of the bridge towards the age of globalization. Translation, therefore, is completely different to other industries, since in most of other fields, people tend to have deep knowledge and understanding about their realm of business. A translator or interpreter often finds him/herself working for another professional field of business, which requires specialized knowledge to do the job. It is almost impossible to be adept at any field of industry that requires translation, but a professional translator can be, for the best, specialized in one or two fields which make him/her most efficient for the job. The lack of field specialization training is a major disadvantage of not having professional training for translators in Vietnam, and is what professional training for translators & interpreters in institutions such as SK Talent Academy are aiming for.
- Soft skills
If you are new to the job as a translator or interpreter, you will lack actual field experience for sure, especially if you are an interpreter. Fortunately, in Vietnam exists a relatively deep tradition in translation, with capable and excellent people in the industry for over many decades. As far as it goes, Vietnamese people do not lack talent in translation and interpretation. The passing of experience, however, is currently very limited to a few numbers of institutions and individuals genuinely interested in a career in this industry. Professional interpreter training programs always give good attention to the development of soft skills, which will surely help young interpreters overcome difficulties at the beginning.
Nowadays, many LSPs in Vietnam provide their newly recruited translators & interpreters an opportunity to go through a training program. Many experienced people in the industry such as Mr. Nguyen Dang Khue, a prominent interpreter certified in Europe, has utilized their knowledge into establishing training institutions. SK Talent Academy under the monitor of Mr. Khue is one of the leading institutions, with a variety of professional training programs for translators & interpretations in English and Korean. With the academy as a foundation, SK Translate as an LSP provides a strong beautiful structure of a family organization. It might still be long way until producing professional translators & interpreters in Vietnam is generally well noticed, but the existence of institutions such as SK Talent Academy is being a big source of encouragement for Vietnam’s translation industry.
Professional translation & interpretation require more than just pure talent. Likewise to other professions, professional training and education are needed in order to produce excellent personnels in the industry. So what are the benchmarks of quality for professional translation & interpretation training in Vietnam? And where can language enthusiasts find orientation for their future? We hope this article will be able to answer some of your questions.
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