Whether you require French translation of software, documents, or online material, you need a French translator with the requisite education, accreditation, professional development, and technical skills for the job. Every project makes different demands on a translator, from technical terminology to tight deadlines. For this reason, it is critical to understand what qualifications are required for French translators, and their relative importance.
Educational requirements vary, but most professional French translators have at least a Bachelor's degree and many have earned their Master's degrees. French translators who specialize in a field such as pharmaceuticals or law usually possess additional educational or professional experience in that field.
Different countries have different accreditation programs. In the United States, the American Translators Association offers one accreditation program. It is important to remember that although a French translator may not have formal accreditation, he/she may still have the experience and education to be a highly-skilled, professional translator.
Perhaps even more so than during their education, successful French translators need to develop specialized translation skills in the course of their careers. The more professional experience a French translator has, the more likely he or she is to have mastered specialized terminology (telecommunications, for example), approaches to subject matter research, and the ability to maintain efficiency and accuracy under tight deadlines. Exposure to a wide variety of clients and project types also increases a French translator's skill set.
Beyond pure linguistic talents, modern translators need to have proficiency with translation memory (TM) tools such as Trados, Déjà Vu, or Catalyst. Such tools assist translators in managing terminology and repurposing repeated text for added consistency and efficiency. In addition to TM tools, it is helpful if French translators have a working knowledge of desktop publishing applications.
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