Need to find a professional translator but don’t know how to choose the best one? Here are 5 quick tips to help you find a translator or translation company that is right for you.
There are hundreds of thousands of professional translators and translation companies in the world. So, how do you sort through all of them to find the best one for you?
- Start by asking a friend
Odds are, you’ve already asked a friend or two (or maybe your entire list of Facebook pals) if they know of a good translator. As with hairdressers, mechanics, dentists, and doctors, personal recommendations from acquaintances (i.e. word-of-mouth) continues to outrank all other modern advances in marketing as a means for customers to find a translator/translation company is right for them. While this is a good starting point to help filter down your search, there are other steps you should take to make sure you will get quality work.
- Do a little background check on the qualification of the translation company or translator.
No, you don’t need to know the person’s criminal record, but you should have some idea about a translator’s training and experience in order for you to reach the right decision. A professional translator will be happy to let you know about their training, so feel free to ask.
In the U.S., there are many forms of qualifications specific to translation, ranging from graduate studies in Translation, certification from the American Translator’s Association (ATA), or state or federal court certifications. A master’s or Ph.D. in Translation and the ATA Certification are very good indicators that the translator will do a professional job. It is important to note that ATA membership and ATA certification are two different things.
You can use the ATA Directory online to find out who is an active member certified by them.
- Experience also counts
There are some extremely good translators out there who have honed their craft without the need for training and certification. And that is perfectly fine, too. Most likely, the curriculum vitae of translators with years of experience speaks volumes to the kind of work they have done and the clients they have worked with. Again, don’t be afraid to ask them for their CV or any samples of their work you can look at.
- Don’t use Google Translate. DO google your translator.
If the translator has an online presence, you may find 90% of the above information by just googling them. Check out their LinkedIn page or their listing on PROZ, an online community for translators. Most likely, their very own website will describe their qualifications and experience.
- Ask Key Questions
So, you have now used the first four tips to filter down to some very good translators. You can still find a professional translator who is right for you by asking some key questions. First, ask them about their quality control process. Choose translators who have a strict quality control process that either involves another translator editing the work or—in the case of solo translators—those who at least schedule enough time to review their work properly before turning it over to the client.
Also, ask them about their specializations. Some translators are very good at legal translation or medical translation but not necessarily literary translation, and vice versa. Find out what the specializations of your prospective translator are in order to make sure they are a good fit for the project you need translated.
One characteristic of professional translators is that they are not afraid to let you know they are NOT the best person for a specific project if it is beyond their area of expertise. More often than not, they will gladly point you in the right direction of a colleague who is qualified in the subject matter you need.
If you have more questions about finding the best translators, inbox a message to us and we will happily answer them for you, or call 787-800-9903 anytime.