What makes a good translator?

From our own experience finding the right translators for the LearnWithOliver project was always essential to offer a good flashcard site. Today’s guest post from Language Reach discusses this topic.

Translation Services

In today’s globalising world, language translation and interpreting services are one of the fastest growing industries in business. In 2012 the estimated size of the industry was an astonishing $33.5 billion, and as the international business is continuously growing, consequently the demand for translation services is also increasing and it is expected to reach over $37 billion worth only within the next three years!

Of course, due to some free translation tools such as Google Translate which are now widely available, translation has become somewhat ubiquitous. Nevertheless, any person who is professionally involved with multilingual publishing, marketing, legal, medical or any other niche specific documents which require a language translation, simply cannot underestimate the importance of human translators. Regular users of translation services are aware that the logic and reasoning skills that humans are capable of bringing to their documents and projects,  simply cannot be matched by computer software.

Finding the right translator who is suitable for the job isn’t however always a straightforward task. Can about anyone who speaks two languages fluently translate an official medical document or will a document translated by a person who isn’t certified be authorised in court? Indeed, there is a number of factors which can contribute to choosing the appropriate candidate for translating your project.

Experience:

Of course, there are no rules which state that the longer someone works as a translator the more accurately they will be able to translate a document. Like any other profession however, the majority of translators will become more proficient with time. An inexperienced translator, even if extremely talented, will most certainly come across situations where talent simply isn’t enough and a deeper understanding of the given subject as well as specific knowledge may be essential for an accurate translation.

Endorsements:

If you have never worked with a particular translator before, and you aren’t too sure whether the person is suitable for your project, websites such as the chartered institute for linguists, ITI, Language Reach or Proz.com may help you in making a decision. These are professional bodies in the UK for translators and interpreters which set and maintain high standards of entry and “protect both members and the public”.

Field Expertise:

Let’s face it, due to a specific lingo or jargon, majority of people would most likely not be able to fully understand a conversation between two lawyers or doctors. Now, imagine working with a translator who although speaks your target language, is similarly to you not aware of, for example, any specific medical terms. When working with documents or projects from a specific sector, it is vital that you choose a translator who is not only capable of fluently speaking the language, but also has a first-hand experience within that particular business area, so that any nuances can be accurately interpreted.

Reliability:

Finding a reliable translator can be perhaps most important and essential for persons who translate projects regularly for business or professional reasons. In many cases, for example the legal sector, punctual delivery of the translated documents can be simply fundamental. The safest way of finding a reliable translator for business purposes is working with a professional translation agency such as Translation Services 24. Not only can such agencies guarantee that your documents will be delivered on time, but also accuracy and field expertise.

Reference:

Yet another important aspect to consider when hiring a translator are one’s references. Has the person worked on similar projects before? If so, how did they do? Asking for a CV or a short free sample (although can sometimes be frowned upon by experienced translators), especially when working together for the first time, is always a good way of making sure that the person you choose is capable of delivering an accurately translated document on time.

As you can see, finding the right translator for the job can be, in fact, quite difficult. A number of factors must be taken into the account. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that alike any other profession, or perhaps even more so, translators value their time, knowledge and expertise and so choosing someone based entirely on their price can be a huge mistake, which may save some of your budget in the short term, but can be disastrous in the future.

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