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20 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Good Translator

October 30, 2021

There are currently 7,139 languages in the world today, although there are only over 20 languages that can be classified as global languages. But 20 or 7,000, nobody can learn all of these languages, which means that there may be cases when you will need to turn to professional translators for assistance.

How Do You Select a Professional Translator?

First things first. There is a big difference between translation and interpretation. If you have a written document, you need a translator. However, if your real need is to talk to another person and understand them, then what you need is an interpreter. We are going to focus on the things to look for when choosing a translator for the scope of this article.

When you need professional translation services to translate between two different languages, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Do you have to translate everything? Take a close look at what you need to translate. Sometimes documents can be reduced, and this makes them more affordable.
  2. Keep an international perspective. Remember that it is not only the words that need to be translated but also the surrounding elements, such as telephone numbers, images with cultural references, and allusions to products, which often need to be adapted.
  3. How much does a translation cost? The most expensive translator is not always the best, but you should not skimp on expenses either. Bear in mind that, if the original document is often difficult to write, the translation will not be any easier. Invest in what is necessary, so that your text does not lose strength and importance when it crosses the border.
  4. Importance of the translation style. Avoid entrusting the translation to a non-professional. Only a qualified translator will be able to rewrite the text while maintaining the style, tone, and purpose.
  5. Four eyes see more than two. A good translation includes editing by another professional translator.
  6. Finish the text before translating it. Make sure that the version you send to the translator is the final one, as modifications can make the process more difficult, cause delays and make the work more expensive.
  7. Machine translation. It is not advisable to trust automatic translators, especially those offered on the Internet for free. They can create texts full of errors that require more time and money to fix than a translation done by a human translator.
  8. Talk to the translator. You will get better results if you can clarify any difficult aspect of the text with the translators.
  9. Be cautious about using a friend who knows languages. Sometimes, what seems cheap can be expensive. Just because a person knows languages doesn’t mean he or she is qualified to translate to a professional standard.
  10. Find a professional translator who translates between the source language and their mother tongue. When you want to translate a document into French, the best thing to do is to look for a French translator. This is a good rule of thumb with all languages. You should not trust those who say they are bilingual if you are not sure of their capabilities.
  11. What language do your readers speak? Consult your foreign partners or the translator to ensure that the text meets the needs of your readers.
  12. It is good for the translator to ask questions. A translator reads the original text carefully, so it can be good for them to be in touch to help you identify potential problems in your documents. Also, there are times when a clarification from you will make the translator’s job easier.
  13. Consider a specialized translator for your sector. The best translators are those who know the industry and the vocabulary of the subject matter. Specialization is important in many cases.
  14. Contract proofreading with the translator. You can also ask one of your business partners in the country in question to proofread the final text, if they are willing and qualified to do so.
  15. Not all languages have the same typographical rules. The typographical rules of all languages must be known and respected. This is part of the specialization of a good translator.
  16. Translation of technical documents. A good technical translator uses terminology accurately. A collaboration between you, the translator, and the engineers greatly enrich the translation.
  17. Choose the right translator. Don’t just look at the resume. Talk to the translator and, if you can, look at some of the work he or she has done.
  18. Don’t wait until the last minute. Look for a qualified translator as soon as you decide to translate your documents. Make sure they have enough time to work. With the help of your translators and employees, you can also prepare bilingual glossaries with the company’s terminology, this will facilitate future translations.
  19. Define your needs. Make sure you have the right person for each project to get the best result.
  20. Participate in the process. Give your translator the necessary instructions and always be available to answer his or her questions.

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