Formal reports are reports that answer tough questions or solve challenging problems. Investigation is essential to thinking, and because of this any document you have ever written and translated required some sort of analysis. Consider a simple summary that you may have written, it required a thorough investigation of a larger file to identify important points. An e-mail marketing message might demand a comprehensive review of the intended recipient’s list and the optimal message and offer to use. With a formal report, your analysis might influence a major decision. For instance, a Portuguese translator in Miami received the following assignment from a large Non-Government Agency (NGO): Identify and locate information from African trade journals concerning the expansion of new agricultural techniques being successfully implemented in Angola.
Obviously, the completion of this job is going to require much more than a simple trip to the branch of your local library. Because large funding initiatives and strategies will be based on your results, you will need to locate, translate and interpret all data essential in making the optimal recommendations. This is where a translator must apply the research activity discussed in and where you face your greatest reporting challenge.
In the next several blog posts, we will be examining the role of conducting research by translation professionals.