Interpretation of "Professional Level" May Pose Challenges
Our vendor application utilises a webform that encompasses 6 steps, with Step 4 being particularly pivotal due to its role in showcasing expertise. We’ve implemented a 3-tier categorization, namely: Professional, Training, and Interest Levels to differentiate between various fields of expertise.
Nonetheless, absent descriptions for these levels have prompted translators to employ their own metrics when tackling Step 4, sometimes resulting in confusion. Notably, a substantial number of freelance translators broadly interpret Professional Level, asserting they fulfil its requirements across multiple technical domains.
Let’s delve into clarifying the distinctions between Professional and Training Levels within our vendor management system.
Training Level - familiarity to the subject matter
Advancements in translators' editing technologies have allowed for modern translators to leverage their translating performance, both in terms of quality and speed. If a prevalent type of translation project is replete with a well-stocked project kit (including substantial translation memory, term list, reference materials, or expert support), it becomes feasible for most translators to broaden their professional translating prowess into more complex or less common technical fields, especially concerning end-user documents.
Such projects, in my view, constitute the Training Level. This is not to imply that they are straightforward, as managing codes, utilising CAT tool environments, complying with term lists and translation memories, understanding localisation prerequisites, accommodating teamwork, following intricate instructions, and meeting precise quality standards all necessitate professional discipline, experience, and familiarity with the subject.
Professional Level - Expertise in the Subject Matter
For certain, especially technical, translation projects—particularly where the utility of modern editing tools may be constrained or if the project kit is unavailable—a Professional Level understanding of the source and target content becomes critically essential, especially in expert-to-expert documents. There may be occasions where source technical texts contain ambiguous or suboptimal expressions, necessitating "expert understanding" to render a readable target text.
I believe these kinds of projects should fall under the Professional Level. Furthermore, it’s pertinent to remember that attaining a professional level of understanding typically follows higher education, numerous years of work experience, or long-term personal interest in a particular field.
Our project managers evaluate various criteria when assigning a project to the most suitable vendor. Particularly for those scarce projects requiring subject matter expertise and highly specialised translators, such considerations are imperative. If we—project managers and freelance translators—can align on the aforementioned descriptions, it would facilitate our vendor management processes, ensuring our capacity to adhere to quality standards in technically demanding expert-to-expert technical projects.
Author: Volkan Güvenç
Alafranga Language Solutions