What Makes a Great Document Translation from English to Spanish?

The demand for translation has increased dramatically, doubling over the years, especially with the rise of gig culture encouraging translators to take up a freelance career. If you’re studying to become an English-Spanish translator, document translation services are one service out there that you can provide, as it’s versatile in almost any field.

In today’s discussion, we look into what makes a great document translation different from poor-quality ones? The common problems you’ll face for English Spanish translations of documents and how to overcome them.

If you want to learn more about this, keep reading to find out!

What is the Document Translation?

To understand what makes high-quality document translation different from poor quality, we must define it first.

Document translation is translation specializing in translating documents from one language to another. The translated documents can be used for law, business, science, government, medicine, and more.

Because of the professional nature of this type of translation, translators specializing in document translation services are required to be accredited by local and international translation organizations, like the American Translators Association (ATA) and the International Organization of Standardization (ISO).

Tip: If you’re planning to provide document translation services, take tests and be accredited by these governing bodies to enhance your credibility as a translator.

Qualities Found in a Great Document Translation

Even if you’re proficient in both English and Spanish, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your translation skills and identify what makes up a great translation in documents.

One of the telltale signs of a great translation is that it sounds and looks natural like it came from a local Spanish speaker. The translator can use phrases and words that native speakers would commonly use so the text can flow naturally.

Document translation services should be accurate and clear other than sounding natural. Accuracy is crucial because, as mentioned, you could deal with fields wherein any mistranslation could negatively affect your clients’ transactions. 

Most documents that need professional English Spanish translations need to follow the original document’s format or official format being used in the target country you’re using it for.

Tip: We advise you to research this before translating your document. Some documents, especially legal and government ones, must be certified by certain governing bodies before they can be accepted as a translation of the original text.  

What Common Problems You Will Face When It Comes to English Spanish Translations?

Now, if you’re planning to become a translator but still mastering a second language, it’s understandable that you’ll struggle as you study to become a professional translator. We’ve written some common problems that translators encounter under English Spanish translations:

  • Lexical-Semantic Translation – In translation, you will need to understand the meaning of the text, which involves the cultural, social, and linguistic nuances. You can overcome this issue through reading dictionaries, thesaurus, and even by consulting experts of the field and/or culture you’re not familiar with.
  • Syntax and Grammatical Problems – Because each language has its own syntactic and grammatical rules, it’s understandable that translating from one language to another can be very difficult. The only way translators can solve this issue is by the
  • Understanding Your Target Audience’s Expectations – For translators, this is crucial because if you don’t clearly understand your target readers’ expectations of your translation, it can detrimentally affect the quality of the translation and lead to some misunderstandings.

Tip: Practice makes perfect! Fail several times when you study and practice English Spanish translations. It’s because by learning from your mistakes, you can improve on your weak areas to become a better translator.

7 Tips From Document Translation Services to Improve Your Translator Career

To gather more insights on enhancing your translation skills, we interviewed Ofer Tirosh, the CEO of Tomedes, a remote-first company specializing in document translation services through the use of advanced technology and global teams of expert linguists specializing in different fields and hundreds of languages worldwide.

From our interview with Tirosh, we listed below some of his tips to improve your document translation skills.

Tip #1 – Strong Cultural Understanding of Your Target Language

As mentioned, understanding the text’s message and the expectations of your target readers is essential. For document translation services, you, as the translator, have a good grasp of the cultural, historical, social, and linguistic nuances of the language pairs you specialize in.

You will have to ask yourself three simple questions:

  • What is this text about?
  • What is the purpose of this document translation?
  • What will your target language speakers be expecting from this translated text?

Tirosh advised that you need to do in-depth research to gain more knowledge and information on your target language’s culture, historical, and social aspects. He suggested that you watch films and documentaries in your free time, read classic literature of your target language, and look at previous document translations that your clients liked. 

Tip #2 – Build Up Your Vocabulary and Idioms

Tirosh advised that building your vocabulary and idioms for the language you’ll specialize in, like English Spanish translation, will help you become a better translator because words and phrases come to you more naturally. It also helps you gain more mastery over the language pair you will work on. 

As mentioned, you can use dictionaries, thesauruses, and other language materials to develop your vocabulary, like Word Magic Soft’s free dictionary.

Tip #3 – Develop an Organized System for Research and Translating

Tirosh explained that from his experience working on several projects for document translation services, developing a systematic process for your translation will save you time and help you improve your overall productivity. His advice for freelance translators starting their careers is to outline their projects and allocate time separately for researching and translating.

Tip #4 – Try Out Different Fields before Specializing and Get Accredited

Another way to enhance your Spanish English translation skill is by trying out different fields. As previously mentioned, document translation is versatile and is needed in almost any industry.

Tirosh suggested that if you want to specialize in a certain field, later on, it would be wise to work on projects in various fields to get an idea of what projects you’re comfortable working on. Some would say that by specializing, you’re limiting yourself to certain projects. However, specializing in certain industries for the document translation services you’ll be providing makes it easier for your clients to tap you for certain fields based on your experience.   

Tip #5 – Speak and Think in Your Target Language

One of the best ways to become more fluent in another language is through constant use and practice. What makes languages so unique is studies show it affects our thought process. For example, if you’re a native English speaker, speaking and thinking in Spanish allows you to subconsciously develop your Spanish language skills.

Tirosh suggested that inserting your target language into your daily tasks, like counting numbers and sending messages in Spanish, will help you speak and think more like a native Spanish speaker. 

Tip #6 – Continuously Improve Your Style and Technique

When we asked Tirosh what translators can do to have great document translation, he stated that it could only be achieved through continuous improvement style and technique. He suggested that translators be up-to-date on different translation theories and techniques to improve their style and translation process continuously. You can’t fully translate word for word as it could change the message and intent of the original text to your target audience, which is why you should frequently develop your translation skills.

Tip #7 – Great Translation Demands an Attention to Detail

Since document translation is all about accuracy, attention to detail is crucial. Because of this, Tirosh emphasized the importance of translators thoroughly checking and rechecking the translated document for any errors, like the grammar, syntax of structure, and changes in the text’s meaning. You have to think that once your document is sent back to your client, you can never change the content, so it’s vital that everything in the document is correct.


One of the most common language pairs is the English Spanish translations. However, despite being a common pair, English and Spanish follow different syntactic and grammatical rules, so mastery of these two languages requires a lot of study and practice. So, for developing the skill set to provide great document translation services, expect that it will be a never-ending learning process in your career. If you want to become a translator, it will require you to have a passion for human connection and communication.

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