Definition: Non-native

Translation is much more than having a perfect command of a language. Even people who have been raised as bilinguals are sometimes poor translators. They just aren’t capable of taking a text in one language and creating an equivalent in the other language.

People are sometimes forced to engage translators who don’t translate into their native language. For example, if there are no native speakers available, non-native translators must meet very strict requirements:

  • The translator will have preferably studied a foreign language or linguistics and achieved a near native level in the target language.
  • The translator must have a realistic view of the flaws that still form a part of his/her second language.
  • The translator must have a native-level command of one of the languages and an advanced level of the other.

In both cases, the translator must be able to produce an adequate translation, but it’s preferable to have the text proofread and fine-tuned by a native speaker.


Mariana Mellor
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