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Multilingual Not Better Than Bilingual

We at Translators USA are very proud of our team of experienced, diligent and knowledgeable language specialists who can work in over 150 languages: Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, … Many of our language specialists are multilingual which means that they can translate and interpret in multiple languages. The majority, however, are bilingual. In addition, they usually work only in one direction, for example from Spanish to English but not vice versa. We understand that multilingual professionals are highly desirable but when it comes to translation and interpretation, more isn't necessarily better. On the contrary, it is better to work with a translator or interpreter who has in-depth knowledge of only two languages than a language specialist who speaks and understands multiple languages less thoroughly.

 

Why Is It So Difficult to Translate/Interpret in Multiple Languages  

Quality translation and interpretation require much more than just knowing the language. In order to provide accurate yet meaningful translation, it is crucial for the translator to have in-depth subject knowledge which includes highly specialized terminology and expressions that are often unfamiliar even to native speakers. Then, there are also cultural subtleties, language variances (variations in language between different countries or/and regions within the same country), colloquial expressions, jargons, idioms, etc.

It is not impossible for a translator to provide the highest quality translation in multiple languages and multiple fields. But such language specialists are extremely rare because it is virtually impossible to cover the entire vocabulary of a single language yet alone multiple ones. For example, English language has more than 1 million words (excluding new ones that are added to the vocabulary on a daily basis), while an average person knows less than one half of all words and uses approximately one tenth of the words they understand. Professionals who work in multiple languages or/and multiple subjects therefore usually have a less thorough knowledge than those who work in two languages, one direction and a limited number of fields.

Just like the majority of translators, most interpreters work in two languages and one direction only. They may have multiple passive languages (languages they understand well but cannot interpret into) but just like multilingual translators, multilingual interpreters are rare. This is due to the fact that besides understanding the source language (language that is interpreted from) perfectly, they must choose words most appropriate to convey the original message in a fraction of a second.

Translation and Interpreting Services in Over 150 Languages and All Fields and Industries

In order to provide Translators USA clients with the highest quality translation and interpreting services, we work only with language specialists with perfect knowledge of their target languages. Some of our professionals are fluent in multiple languages and multiple subjects but the majority are specialists in two languages and a handful fields and industries. But since we can choose from a database of over 9,000 translators and over 1,000 interpreters, we cover over 150 languages and all fields and industries.

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018
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