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Why native speakers?

Why should you have your translations done by native speakers? It is often regarded as normal that translators translate both into their mother tongue and into a foreign language. Often the only reason given for this is that it there are very few native-speaker translators into foreign languages available in a particular country. But when you read English texts that have been translated by someone whose mother tongue is not English, they "sound strange", in places do not make sense, and are sometimes even amusing. You are instinctively tempted to re-phrase them into "proper English". Typical grammar and spelling mistakes, and in particular the style of the text, betray the fact that it is a translation, and the trained eye can even detect which source language it was translated from.

Although there is no universally accepted definition of the term "native speaker", in general it can be said that native speakers typically acquire their language "naturally" in their childhood and their youth, rather than by learning it at a language course. Because of the unique nature of each person's life story, it is not always possible to say, for people who grow up speaking two or more languages, which of them is their mother tongue. This is why the term "native speaker competence" is often used.

Translators with native speaker competence have an extensive vocabulary at their disposal, are capable of expressing themselves in many different ways, can call on many different word combinations, turns of phrase, and sayings, and have the feel for the language that is necessary in order to use all these elements correctly. In addition, they are familiar with the cultural situation in their country and can adapt their translations to conform to it where necessary. With very few exceptions, it is only native speakers who can guarantee in their translation not just a correct rendering of the meaning of the original but also a perfect and varied presentation in the target language.

Of course, native speakers also need professional training, experience, and specialist knowledge of the field they are translating in. But it is the acquisition of their language through their upbringing, education, and social and cultural environment which forms the basis for a convincing translation that will have the desired effect on its readers.

This is why E-Maze only works with translators who translate into their mother tongue. Naturally, they all have professional training or experience and the specialist knowledge required for the type of text they are translating as well. But it is the combination of this with their ability to express themselves perfectly in their mother tongue which is the guarantee of a quality translation.


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