11 Ways to identify Professional Translators
Like any recruitment decision, evaluating the qualifications and the skills of online translators is very important. So, how can you evaluate the abilities of professional translators without speaking several languages yourself? After all, that is why you are hiring a freelance translation expert: to have your text accurately and appropriately translated for you. Being fluent in both the source language and target language is the most obvious trait a translator should have, but there are other traits that professional translators should demonstrate too. It is also important to remember that requirements, especially industry specialisms, can vary significantly by project. Below we discuss 11 considerations to make when choosing professional translators to work with.
Professional Translators’ Language Proficiency
- Native Speakers: Professional translators must be able to fully understand the context in the source language. Otherwise, linguistic slip-ups and mistranslations are more likely. Therefore, translators should always be native speakers, translating into their strongest language or mother tongue.
- Education: Professional translators should ideally hold a degree in translation and languages, or other equivalent qualifications.
- Skills Assessments: It is common for language service providers to verify the skills of their translators. Typically, the translator must pass a translation test prior to employment. Choosing freelance translation providers that require their online translators to pass a skills assessment helps to ensure a quality product.
- Experience: Real life project experience is another thing to look for when hiring professional translators. Many translation agencies require translators to have a minimum amount of professional experience and will detail their minimum standards on their websites.
- Writing Talent & Style: Good writing goes beyond just the technical understanding of vocabulary and grammar, especially when translating between languages. Ideally, a professional translator will write translations that match the tone and other requirements of the project. Ask for writing samples in a language you read and write well. This will help you assess the overall writing talent, tone of voice, and style.
- Professional Affiliations: Many professional translators are members of professional translation associations. This includes the Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI), Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) and American Translators Association (ATA).
- References: When in doubt ask for references that have worked with the translator on a similar project in the past. Finding out whether a client would work with the translator again can tell you a lot about their skills, as well as their business practices.
- Soft Skills: Sometimes soft skills and even personality can be deciding factors when choosing online translators for your unique needs.
- Cultural Intelligence: As discussed above, professional translators must be native speakers of the target language. The person working on your project should understand the cultural nuances of your target audience. This is even more important if your freelance translation project requires localisation or transcreation.
- Subject Matter Expertise: Understanding industry-specific terminology is the difference between a good translator and a professional translator. For example, a general translator should never translate medical, scientific or legal documents without having experience in these industries. Professional translators with subject matter expertise often charge more for their services, but if your document requires specialisation, it is important to hire a knowledgable translator.
- Technology: Translation technology has advanced; some professional translators are skilled in using various translation memory software tools harmoniously alongside human translation. Using translation memory tools ensures fast and accurate content output. When translating large projects, these digital tools can decrease costs and can help to ensure the consistency of translations. However, we recommend leaving translation software to the professionals, as it is best used in conjunction with a human touch.
In summary, partnering with professional translators is more than just providing content for translation. Working with a freelance translation partner who provide excellent communication, time management and customer service will improve your overall experience. You can often assess the skills of online translators while you are in the contracting phase. Ask yourself:
- How quickly do they respond to your requests?
- Do they listen carefully to understand all your requirements?
- Are their responses complete and easy to understand?
- Do they seem credible and trustworthy to complete your project to your satisfaction?
- Have they offered clear information on the project cost and delivery dates?
Renaissance Translations’ Professional Translators
Choosing the right translation partner for your important projects is a big decision. Consider the above criteria will help to ensure that you choose not only a highly skilled translator, but the right one for your individual project. We recommend working with a highly rated and respected translation agency, so that they can do the vetting for you.
At Renaissance Translations, we hold our online translators to the high standards detailed above. We only work with professional translators who have passed our translation skills test, have the relevant qualifications, and have at least five years of relevant experience. With a team of over 5000 freelance translation experts, Renaissance Translations are poised to your translation needs, no matter what language combination. Get in touch to discuss your upcoming project.