Certified Translations Can Connect the World

Published on March 30, 2022

As the CEO of The Spanish Group LLC, Salvador Ordorica knows a successful certified translation, whether personal, professional, or legal, hinges on the specific needs of the message and the resulting connection.

“It depends on the subject matter,” Ordorica said. “Translating legal documents is not an art, for example. You have to put in the correct legal term and there is only one correct legal term. When you’re translating creative pieces, such as a novel or marketing materials, you have to make sure you are on the same page and you have to define success with the client.”

With each language, there can be innumerable nuances. The use of masculine and feminine pronouns is a simple example.

“If you’re a professional, or an author, you don’t want to take those risks and upset your audience,” Ordorica said, saying some online, automated translation services will guess at the correct pronoun, creating an awkward translation. “And that’s just in Spanish. In German, there is male, female, and neutral. If you don’t get them right when you’re translating, it just sounds off.”

Focus on the message

The proper certified translation services provided by the proper translator depend on the clients’ needs, the reason for the translation request, the destination of the translation, and more.

Globalization is pushing a significant increase in the demand for certified translation services, Ordorica said, and he predicts the need will continue, and become more specialized. His company, The Spanish Group, is a certified translation service with 65 full time employees, more than 500 contractors, and an extensive client list in all corners of the globe.

“Ten years ago, it was really common for translators to focus on translating everything,” Ordorica said. “Nowadays, the focus is on specialization. That’s something we look for when we hire. If you’re not aware of the correct terms … and what the correct translation is, you won’t do the job well and you will produce a faulty translation.”

Specialized translators can also produce an industry-appropriate document more quickly, Ordorica said, because of their familiarity with the industry and knowledge of the terminology.

“We work with a lot of law firms,” Ordorica said. “Every word has to be correct in a legal document. If even one word is off, it might be that one pivotal word that everything leans on. Their case may get thrown out and it is their client who suffers.”

The idea of expertise

The idea of a certified translation establishes a paper trail detailing the knowledge and expertise of the person providing the translation.  The process also documents the subsequent steps – proofreading, handling, etc. – before the final product was delivered to the customer.

“Certification addresses the legitimacy and the accuracy of the translation,” Ordorica said. “That’s what elevates the translation to a legal document.”

“We excel at providing clients the specific type of service that they need. Because we are international, we are aware that different countries have different, nuanced types of translations and types of certifications. It seems like a relatively straightforward industry, but in reality there are hundreds of different kinds of certifications.”

A history of languages

Ordorica is a first-generation American. Both of his parents were born in Mexico. He grew up in Orange County, California, with family in Baja and Mexico. Many of his childhood friends were also bilingual and bicultural.

“That is probably what really made me sort of internationally minded, always going back and forth to Mexico,” Ordorica said. “That, and living in Saudi Arabia. That made me realize there really is an entire world out there. It was radically different [and] it really was a good experience. It made me want to understand why things are so different.”

Oddly enough, he didn’t pick up much of the Arabic language as the family followed his father’s employment. They ended up living in an American military compound.

“Without some sort of formal training, [Arabic] is really difficult unless you are fully immersed in the language,” Ordorica said. “But, I got to understand the culture.”

A cultural connection

Culture is at the center of his business model. For example, The Spanish Group’s client listing is changing significantly as a result of COVID. They are also seeing an increase in the number of digital nomads using the service. For example, Germany offers a digital nomad visa if an applicant can prove they have employment which can be completed online.

“We’ll support them with translation of their biographical documents, like their birth certificate,” Ordorica said. “[Germany] requires a certified translation of those types of documents.”

Building a business

Bringing together all of these experiences, Ordorica saw an opportunity to combine his interest in languages and cultures to solve a problem.

“I used to not consider myself an entrepreneur when I was just starting out,” he said. “That has changed over the years. An entrepreneur is someone who recognizes an opportunity and seizes upon it. It’s about priorities. If I don’t make this a priority, nothing is ever going to happen. Too busy? Too tired? Too stressed? It’s always going to be that way. You have to learn to understand what is important to you [and] you need to make time for that.”

Despite his avoidance of the term, his first entrepreneurial effort has gone global. He didn’t have an ‘aha’ moment as he was starting the business. He does remember reading the transcript of Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, where tech icon posited the past influences the future but the connections are only seen in retrospect.

“I realized at that point that everything had prepared me for what I was doing right now,” Ordorica said, citing his travels, his family history, and his study of languages.

“There is no possible career path, no possible job opportunity that I could have had that would have been better suited to me than this one that I have created.”

“It has become much, much larger than just me, just what I want, just a job,” Ordorica said. “It has become an international business that supports hundreds of families around the world on a daily basis. That’s what keeps me going. I’m in the business of building a system that is here to better the lives of people, to help further our mission of connecting people.”

Gary Schuetz is a Columnist at Grit Daily. He brings more than a decade of experience as an editor and correspondent for a weekly community newspaper. His focus is on distilling complex ideas and interesting personalities into clear, straightforward, accurate narratives. Gary has served as a news correspondent for a news publishing company and was the producer, on-camera personality and writer for a community lifestyle television program, Talk of the Trollway. Bachelor of Arts, Journalism, University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

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