Signal Newspaper Article
July 14, 1999
MORE THAN MEETS THE EAR
Language proficiency is just one requirement for Valencia firm’s interpreters and translators.
The hundreds of people that have worked for America Translating Services, Inc. have been fluent in over 150 languages and dialects and have come from all over the world.
America Translating Services, Inc. employs people throughout the nation and countries around the world to translate documents and manuals, according to company owner Rosa Steventon.
Steventon started the firm in 1982. She is fluent in two languages herself but does not believe bilingualism alone is enough to become an interpreter or translator.
“It is a very difficult profession”, Stevenson said. “Not many people know how intricate it is”.
Steventon got the idea for the company after working for a psychiatric clinic in which she was asked to interpret for Spanish speaking patients. Realizing the need, she began to market her services to law firms in the San Fernando Valley and eventually opened her own full-service interpreting, translating and narration agency.
Today Steventon’s clients range from the federal courts and the Internal Revenue Service to the State of California and various prisons, to Fortune 500 companies, convention centers, filmmakers, tour companies, insurance and investigators.
Steventon and her office staff are responsible for finding interpreters who are called to interpret at trials, depositions, conferences and meetings. Translators are selected according to their educational background to translate business documents, contracts, catalogs, patents and technical manuals from their source language to the target languages, Steventon said.
The translation is edited by editors and proofreaders before it goes to final approval for typesetting.The process is not as simple as it might seem.
“When you are translating, you need to be precise,” said Steventon. “It is not a black and white science”.“We have to be religiously, politically and environmentally correct when we do translating and interpreting,” she said.
Not only must the interpreters and translators be proficient in at least two languages, they need to be educated in the subject matter they are translating. Moreover, translators must be lettered and interpreters must be well spoken, Steventon said.
To translate an engineering brochure, for example, the translator would have to be not only proficient in the source and target languages, but also schooled in engineering, Steventon said.
The job also requires the translator to be knowledgeable in the political, social, cultural and religious aspects of the country of origin, because phrases are used differently and words can have varied meanings in different places, Steventon said.
As recently as five years ago, most of Steventon’s business entailed interpreting. Now they get many requests for translating services, including requests from companies that want their websites translated into foreign languages.
It was this need throughout the world that caused her business to double in the last year. Steventon said.