Certified translation services are vital when the cost of errors may be severe.

In 1980, an 18-year-old man became a quadriplegic because of a mistranslated word.

In 2012, a veteran interpreter and an experienced translator came together to write a fascinating book on how translation and interpretation shape and affect all aspects of our lives, sometimes gravely. This book contains some remarkable stories about how language service providers can save lives and livelihoods. One of the true incidents they recount pertains to the tragic case of Willie Ramirez.

Language services can sometimes be life-giving

Willie’s Spanish speaking relatives brought him to a hospital in Florida in a comatose state, saying he was intoxicado. A bilingual healthcare professional treated him for a drug overdose, without realizing that in the Spanish context, the word was problematic as it was also used for “poisoning.” The simple mistranslation of one word caused the teenager to be wrongly diagnosed and treated, with disastrous consequences for the young man and his family.

That word, intoxicado, is known in translation circles as the $71 million word because that was the amount awarded as malpractice settlement to the victim.

High bilingual proficiency does not guarantee professional translation accuracy. Just like any other professional expertise, language translations require specialized skills developed through years of experience.

We live in a world where ideas, information, technologies, and populations are migrating faster and wider than ever before. This widening scope means that some human activities can alter the world in fundamental ways. 

Some industries that benefit greatly from certified translations services are:

Legal translations can be dense, complex, open to interpretation, and have serious consequences

The translator, like the witness called to trial, should be compelled to raise his hand and swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Legal language is often dense, difficult, and dependent on contextual reading. This intricacy increases exponentially when a multitude of languages and legal provisions are involved. The niche domain of legal translation is extremely challenging and is fraught with high stakes and extraordinary risks. Legal translation is thus a challenging task that should best be assigned to linguistic experts with appropriate legal acumen.

Language services in this domain can take a variety of forms ranging from written document translation and localization to oral court interpretation. The omission, mistranslation, or misinterpretation of a single word can be potentially devastating for parties involved in legal proceedings.

Just like witnesses who must swear that their testimonies are true, the legal translator must also be willing to attest to the quality of the translation and be able to certify its accuracy.

Certified translation services act as insurance for insurance services

As insurance companies expand their footprint to various parts of the world, their multilingual and multicultural clientele poses a problem when insurance-related documents are translated and claims are verified. Additionally, the complex terminology used in the insurance industry makes the translation of this content highly nuanced.

The certified services of experienced linguists specializing in the insurance industry can ensure the provision of timely, error-free, and localized translations that mitigate the risk of losses.

Banking and financial services require highly specialized translators

The U.S. dollar dropped sharply after a poor English translation of a Chinese article went viral on the Internet.

Financial services are the lifeblood of the global economy and any disruption to such services can be catastrophic. This sector is also in constant flux and is affected by innumerable regulations that vary from nation to nation. Hence, an accurate understanding of foreign regulations and precise, clear communication with foreign clients are key to their survival as companies expand beyond their immediate borders. Professional language service providers specializing in the finance industry can bridge this linguistic and contextual gap between a company and its foreign clientele.

Certified translation services help in the creation and application of global disaster prevention and protection programs.

Institutions involved in governance, both state actors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) often operate in geographical and linguistic domains far beyond their own borders. The immense geographical span of their activities makes translation and interpretation services pivotal to their work.

For instance, a considerable portion of the work performed by NGOs is aimed at driving change at the grassroots level. This requires NGOs to engage and communicate with local populations, initiate significant outreach and awareness drives, and make their work accessible to local populations. Further, NGOs must also project their accountability wherever they operate. Therefore, for such bodies to function smoothly, press releases, newsletters, operational guidelines, outreach programs, financial reports, and a myriad of other documents and multimedia material require translation and localization. Professional translation services can ease this burden on NGOs and allow them to become effective crusaders for social change.

Ingenious translation solutions can make our world safer

A global public health intelligence network called GPHIN in short, was developed after the bird flu epidemic of 1997 by two physicians from the Canadian federal health department in partnership with the World Health Organization. This system translates local news into 9 languages in real-time, helping to detect outbreaks and to trigger a fast international response. It can capture and disseminate information about deadly viral epidemics, animal and plant diseases, as well as biological, chemical and radioactive incidents. As proof that it works, both the swine flu and SARS epidemics were first detected by GPHIN. In both instances, the alerts launched a process of response and containment that significantly decreased the severity of the outbreaks.

In a similar vein, translation services devised for natural or man-made disasters help save countless lives, and interpreters working with 911 emergency services or hospitals can assist in preventing or mitigating international catastrophes.

Protranslating’s professional translation and interpretation services come with guaranteed quality.

With over 45 years of experience, efficient workflows, a network of over 5,000 linguistic and industry experts, and the most secure technology in the language services market, Protranslating offers its clients expert, accurate, timely, and certified translation and localization services in over 200 languages. Years of attention to precision and excellence in products and processes have earned the company ISO 9001 and 17001 certifications. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our global clientele or about the industries we serve.

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