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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the difference between a translator and an interpreter?

A. A translator works with written language and an interpreter with spoken language.

Q. What does it mean that a translator is certified and is it important?

A. Certification is given by the American Translators Association (ATA) to translators who have passed a rigorous translation test in a specific language pair (e.g. Arabic into English), and who are thereby judged to be competent translators from the first language into the second. If you want your translation clear and correct, it is essential to use a top-quality translator, and the American Translators Association is the organization in the United States that certifies translators. For more information about their certification process, click here:


Q. Are you a certified Arabic-English translator?

A. Only individuals, not companies, are certified as translators. Jeff Hayes, our president, who does our Arabic-English translation, is an ATA-certified Arabic-English translator. In addition, he is one of only 5 graders in the United States of Arabic-English certification exams.

Q. How do I tell if my translator is good or not?

A. If your translator is certified by the ATA in the language pair you are dealing with, he is good. In addition, if he/she asks you questions about what kind of a translation you want and who your audience is, this is a very good sign. It tells you that your translation will be tailored to the level you want and the readers you want.

Q. I want an English-Arabic translator. How do I find a certified one?

A. At this time, there is no certification program for English into Arabic. The best course of action may be to contact a translator who is certified in Arabic into English and ask if they do English into Arabic. Hayes Consulting & Translation does both.

Q. I know someone that speaks Arabic. Why can't I just use him as my translator?

A. You can, but you risk getting a translation that "sounds funny" or worse, is unintelligible. Translation requires a thorough knowledge of both languages in addition to the art of being able to express the meaning expressed in one language in another language.

Q. What about machine (or computer) translation?

A. The same principles apply as to the previous question, but more so. Machines do not have the ability to think. Most computer-created translations are unintelligible. It is generally easier to translate from scratch than to edit a computer translation.

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