If you’ve ever faced the need to translate a document, website, or app, then you may have already typed the query “How to find a good translator” into a search engine.
This is quite an effective way, because today the search for a suitable translator with the appropriate specialization, knowledge and skills has become much easier thanks to the Internet.
However, due to the large volume of offers available on the market, it is becoming more and more difficult to make a choice in favor of one or another specialist or company. In pursuit of “successful” slogans and new clients, they all promise high quality translations, short deadlines and low prices. But you probably remember the famous “Fast-Quality-Cheap” design triangle: choose only two options.
How to find a suitable translator?
There are many resources online today to help you find the right professional. At the same time, there are both general websites where you can find anyone from a plumber to a crisis manager, and highly specialized resources created exclusively for finding interpreters and translators.
Translation orders are usually entrusted to translators who are native speakers or fluent in the target language. Native translators are the conventional standard in the translation industry, as native speakers have a so-called language sense.
They are considered to provide better translation than those whose target language is not their first language.
But there are also exceptions to the rule. In certain cases, a specialist translating into a non-native language better understands the specifics, style and turns of speech of the source text and, accordingly, can better translate them into a foreign language.
Experience and specialization
Of course, one of the main criteria that is taken into account when looking for any performer is work experience. It is logical to assume that the longer the experience of an interpreter, the better the quality of his services.
However, this is not an axiom: great translation experience does not mean that this particular translator is the best choice for your project. When choosing an interpreter, you should take into account not only his experience, but also his specialization.
If you need to translate a technical manual for a CNC machine, and you turn to a literary translator, the users of the machine will not thank you for a text that is excellent in terms of style, but absolutely meaningless in terms of technology.
As you already understood, each field of knowledge has its own characteristics, including the style of speech, terminology and other specific aspects. As a rule, professional translators prefer to work in certain areas of knowledge, improving their skills in this area to achieve the best results.
Therefore, in order to choose a good translator, you need to take into account his specialization and experience in translating texts on a certain subject.
Translator profile, portfolio and testimonials
If you are still not sure about your choice, there is one more verification criterion: it is the completeness of the profile or the availability of a personal website for the translator.
If a translator takes their job seriously, their profile on the translation portal or website will look the same.
Pay attention to the feedback the translator has received from other clients. They will help you form an idea about the work of this specialist.
Look in the translator’s portfolio for projects related to the topic of your text.
Ultimately, you can ask the translator to send you a copy of the letter of recommendation. A professional translator will surely have at least one such letter either from a previous job or from a direct customer.
For obvious reasons, not every person will be able to check the quality of a test translation, even if he knows a foreign language. Often, a second translator is involved to check test translations, but even in this case it is difficult to avoid purely taste corrections and achieve an objective assessment.
Usually a test translation is about one page (250 words). This is enough to determine if the translation is good.
On the other hand, test translation is not always an indicator of quality, since in some cases the translator needs more than 250 words to correctly determine the context.
As a rule, test translation is used by translation agencies when hiring specialists, but a private customer can do without it.