Every year Andalucía welcomes thousands of tourists, business people and new residents from other countries. Although many have a good understanding of the Spanish language, at one time or another they will usually all need the services of either a translator, who converts the written word of one language into another, or an interpreter who does the same with the spoken word.
It is commonly thought that translating is a straightforward process of rendering text word-by-word from one language into another. Apart from differences in grammar and syntax of each language, this word-for-word process does not take into consideration the idioms used or the context in which a text is written. Another misconception is believing that if someone knows and speaks a second or third language then that person is able to produce a good translation of a text from one or other of those languages.
Fidelity and transparency are the keynotes of a good translation. A faithful translation is one which accurately renders the meaning of a text into another language, neither adding nor removing anything, or distorting it in any way. Transparency means it should appear correct to a native speaker of the language into which it has been translated, especially with regard to the grammar, syntax and idioms.
Generally speaking a translator should translate into his or her native language. Unless someone has been brought up totally bi-lingual from a very early age, it is rare to have that absolute fluency in a second, or third, language. But even that is not sufficient, a translator also needs to know how to write, and write well in any language.
In this increasingly multi-cultural society of southern Spain, translations of documents are always needed. If you purchase a home here, you may want to know exactly what is in all the documentation relating to the house or apartment. If you set up a branch of a business, where the parent company is domiciled outside Spain, then among other things the Memorandum and Articles of Association will be needed in Spanish. You may also choose to have your website in several languages in order to reach a wider clientele.
However, for any paperwork required for official purposes, such as documents to be produced at court, or certificates of birth, marriage, divorce or death, for example, you will need the services of an ‘Intérprete Jurado’, a highly qualified translator who is recognised as such by the Spanish Foreign Office.