We don’t hire someone because that person speaks Amharic or any other African per say any other language . Our answer is no. There are companies who are claiming they provide Amharic (any language ) translation service because they learn a broken Amharic here and there and feeling they are native Amharic speakers.
Amharic is one of the most sophisticated and hard to learn language in the world. Even people who grow up speaking Amharic have a hard time to understand someone who is from outside their province but speaks Amharic. At Ethioptrans we just don’t translate but also we localize the language. Meaning? well we want to give a product understandable by the end user. We do not butcher the language but we nurture our language because we have a big steak on the development and growth of our language.
At Ethioptrans we understand both the client’s and end user’s request. We know there is no a thing called “One fits all”. That is an assumption we hear from most translation companies, big or small. Most are taking an assignment from their client just to make money but they deliver a shameful work for their client. Since most clients are not reading the language (Amharic and other African languages) the only people who will be suffering from the translation will be the end users.
One of few examples are the California State Driver’s License Amharic test question. We do not have any idea who translated the document but that translation is very hard/BAD to be understood by a typical Amharic speaker . People told us in numerous occasions they rather understand well the English version that their native language. Also we see several companies claiming they offer Amharic language translation services because 1. They know some one who speaks Amharic or they simply know little readinf and speaking Amharic. We believe that does not qualify them to be a translator. Amharic has several sophisticated idioms, wax and gold, locale based phrases, expressions, dialects and other bells and whistles.
We are not saying all these without any proof and evidence. We keep hearing this complain from doctors, lawyers, teachers, and other clients. We have people lost their cases because the language interpretation was not interpreted by the right person. Some companies send a translator because that translator said he/she speaks that language. They never ask from what part of Ethiopia this translator is and from what part of Ethiopia the end user is. They assume all Amharic speaker are qualified to be a translator. That will be just playing on the end user’s life. This will cause mis-diagnostics will cause a wrong medication or treatment also losing a court case , loosing wages for workers compensation benefits and several others. We get calls from several doctor’s and lawyer’s office because they had problem in their case in the past.
In most cases some translation companies give false promise for their clients just to win a bid. They will claim they have all African language speakers in their team. But they are deceiving their clients. Hoping they will not get any request for Amharic and other African languages. When they get a call to provide Amharic translation they frantically search for Amharic speaker (not Amharic translator or interpreter). Then, they just call random people from their database or searching from the web, since they do not have any idea how to verify the quality of the translators skill they just simply assign the project. Who suffers? Well, the end user.
When this unqualified interpreter goes to the assignment, he/she will try to interpreter the language partially, sometimes by guessing, sometimes by skipping the end users speech. In that scenario the communication mechanism will be breakdown and the client will get half of the information. In most cases that will have a life time impact on client’s life.
This is a common trend on the translation industry, but nobody cares to speak about it. But we do! Because we want to serve both the client and the end user perfectly. For us Amharic and other languages are too personal. We want to deliver a services that will have an impact, to do that we use native and fluent translators ! In most cases we hand picked out translators ahead of time .