Key things to look out for
As a company active on the international stage, you know that translating contracts, annual reports, websites, brochures, and so on, is part and parcel of corporate life. The marketplace is flooded with freelance translators and translation agencies. What’s more, because the profession of “translator” is not legally protected, and there’s no standardised training, anyone can give themselves the title. So how can you make sure you find the right people for the job, people who will deliver a professional and highly accurate translation? What criteria do you need to pay attention to?
Pre-Scriptum (PS): If you’re short of time and aren’t going to read to the end: yes, choosing a translator can be a tricky business. But rest assured, we won’t let you down. Our all-inclusive service delivers top quality on time, every time.
However, if you can spare five minutes, we suggest you read on and discover just what separates the best from the rest.
Not just talented, but multi-talented: a linguistically trained native-speaker who combines cultural awareness, specialist knowledge and experience High demands are placed on translators. They need to be native speakers of the translation’s target language and to master at least one other language. But good knowledge of languages on its own does not suffice. Translators also need to have in-depth knowledge of the respective culture and characteristics of both their source and target languages. This is particularly the case for languages that are spoken in various countries or regions, such as Spanish or Arabic.
Anyone who’s ever used Google Translate or stumbled upon a questionable translation knows that texts generally resist literal translation. A translator has to learn, as part of their training, how to adapt a translation to a certain culture or region (known as localisation), and whether they can translate freely or need to stick more closely to the source text.
Last but not least, there’s the question of experience and expertise in specialist areas. Even native speakers of a language often struggle with its legal or medical terminology, unless they’re trained in the field, so it’s essential for translators to acquire such knowledge – either because they studied the subject, or through additional training – to be able to produce accurate translations in specialist subjects.
From project and quality management to the use of technology, it’s all about offering professional service Obviously, there’s no translation without a translator, but particularly when it comes to larger projects there’s a lot to be said for the benefits of a professional agency structure. Having a specific contact person means you know who to reach out to if you have questions or want to discuss the progress of a project.
Even the best translators are human and make the occasional mistake, but thorough internal quality control and the use of the best computer-aided translation tools ensures that terminology is consistent and all work is performed as efficiently as possible, without compromising quality.
And just like you don’t order wine in a good restaurant without sampling it first, you should have the option of a non-binding sample translation to establish confidence in the service being provided.
Data protection: the importance of discretion and confidentiality Every day, translators handle confidential documents, personal data and texts that have yet to be published, which is why translation agencies need to go the extra mile to prevent the loss or theft of data. Make sure you know what data protection measures an agency has in place before you entrust them with your data!
Cutting costs often means cutting corners As a rule, you get what you pay for. Quality translation and professional service comes at a price. If you receive an offer that’s significantly cheaper than the competition, it usually means corners are being cut, and the quality suffers. At the same time, no one wants to be ripped off. Quotes should be transparent and show you just where the money is going.
Because we’ve been in the business a long time, we know what’s required, and we deliver on it: impeccable translations, professional service, a working relationship built on trust, and excellent value for money. Order a sample translation and see for yourself!
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