What are language services?
Well, nearly everything that has to do with any kind of language. Here are a few examples:
- writing letters / filling in forms
- tour guiding
Let’s have a closer look to all of this.
You have an English text and need to have it in German. That is a translation, plain and simple. Usually you give the original text to the translator and he translates it into your desired language. Translations should always be done by native speakers. I am German; therefore, I translate into German.
Maybe you speak German yourself and have written something in German, but are not sure, if it is correct. I can have a thorough read, maybe change a few things here and there. That is proofreading. It is different from translating as the main work is already done but the text needs a bit of a tidy up.
A lot of people think that translating and interpreting is the same. It is not. With a translation you have the written word in front of you, while with interpreting is in real time. Maybe you have heard in the news that sometimes politicians or tv stars are sitting there with a button in their ear and when they talk you can hear the voice-over in your own language. As an example, the person who needs the translator is German and he is on British television but does not speak English. The Interpreter talks to him in German and translates everything what is said in English to him in German. If the person speaks, the Interpreter translates everything from German to English. This is quite difficult as you can imagine and usually only done by highly skilled people.
Writing Letters/Filling in Form
Maybe your friend is German but his or her English is very basic? Or you need to write to somebody else in German and want to avoid that things get lost in translation? Instead of Google translate it might be an idea to ask someone who know what he/she is doing
When I translate a text or a website it is very important to transport the message over in the target language, which is German in my case, obviously. Some sayings or jokes in English are impossible to translate into German. A good translator would know the German equivalent to that. Let me give you two examples. In English you say, “you hit the nail on the head” and in German “du triffst den Nagel auf den Kopf”. Funny enough, this both means the same. But “are you pulling my leg” means in German “du führst mich wohl an der Nase herum” (to lead someone by the nose, like a bull with a ring through its nose). Totally different.
Another example, when I translate direction from A to B they are usually in miles. A lot of Germans don’t know how many kilometres are in a mile. So, when I translate it, I give them kilometres, which is easier for them and their route planning.
I was working as a tour guide with the Western Isles Tour Guide Association for a few years, but won’t do much nowadays, as I have difficulties walking. I was conducting English, German and Dutch tours and worked together with interpreters. It was great fun.