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How to select a translator?

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

What better way to bridge the gap between languages than to hire yourself a translator that'll get the job done for you?

Well, choosing a translator isn't as simple as picking the next individual that's fluent in multiple languages—there's more to it than that. When you're choosing a translator, you'll want to select a professional that's able to provide you with quality and accurate output.

So, in your hunt for your translator, here's what you need to look into and consider to make sure you find the perfect fit.

1. What expertise and how much experience is required?

Based on the document that you'll need translated, you'll find yourself better off with someone who's well versed and experienced in the particular subject matter. Consider the area of specialty that you're searching for. If the outlined project specifications fall within the legal field, of course, you'd want to select a translator that has experience in that, rather than someone who's spent their career translating medical transcripts.

With that in mind, it's good to take note that with experience, comes the ability to accurately interpret the subject matter and apply context where necessary. A professional who has translated a multitude of documents within their area of specialty will be able to complete the job for you without much questions asked. High chances are, they'll know exactly what you need, and how to get it done quickly.

Man with headset in a rich-brown  long-sleeved turtleneck looking at the screen on his laptop.

2. How fluent are they in the target language?

Fluency varies, depending on how the language was learnt and how regularly it is practiced. There's a key difference between, let's say, a Singaporean translator who traveled to Japan for their education and a U.S. translator who officially studied Japanese as a second language and has a Masters degree in translation, right? Of course, the latter would be a much better option!

Or even better, find a translator whose native language is the language that you'll be translating your final product into. If you need a document translated into French, find a native French speaker, and you'll be golden.

A pair of hands typing at a laptop.

3. What is the scale of your project?

Is the document that you're having translated a one-off project, or is it a large-scaled project that consists of a variety of different segments and almost hundreds of thousands words that most certainly calls for a bunch of translators to work together on?

When the job is voluminous, you may need to seek translators that can complete slightly more beyond their job scope of just translating. Sometimes, you may need to find those that are able to handle aspects such as project management, especially when the task in hand is far too big for a one-man show. It's handy to hire translators that are able to manage the project as a whole, rather than someone who'd translate the document, deliver it to you, and call it a day.

It's a plus if they're able to work with software that can boost efficiency, such as Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools that are designed to cut down workloads and to keep terminologies consistent throughout.

The truth is, not all translators are made equal. It's best to match the job to the right professionals with the required skills and abilities to prevent mismatch and unsatisfactory qualities of work.

Now that you know how to select a translator, don't forget that you too, have got to make sure to come prepared with the project specifications so that it'll be a smooth and seamless experience for both parties.

As you're searching for your translator, identify key details in advance such as the language translation that you'll need, word count, file formats, among others, so it'll be easier to find the one that you need.

As always, if you need any help in this, we're here to bridge the language talent gap for you!

Contact us for a quote. Or follow us on LinkedIn!

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