Choosing the right translator: how hard can it be?

In our line of work, a faultless process ensures timely delivery and quality. The deadlines are strict. Projects often involve dozens of languages. But a successful translation project starts with something else: choosing the right translator for you. And finding a fit involves more than just looking for the right language pair.

When choosing the right translator, we look at your business vertical…

Translation and localization experts tend to specialize in a few areas over time. Partly, it’s a matter of personal preference. But the real reason is that specialization allows the translator to tap quickly into the industry-specific terminology. The narrower the niche, the more necessary it is to find the right translator with the right background.

This is a general rule. And rules are meant to be broken—if you have the right reasons. Keep on reading.

… but the type of content might warrant looking beyond industry expertise.

Even if your business is aviation engineering, it doesn’t mean you produce only industry-specific technical content. Think about marketing collateral or your annual report. If the content’s nature steers towards creativity rather than technicalities, we’ll select a translator skilled in copywriting and copyediting. Even if it means stretching out of our industry-specific pool of experts.

Have no fear: your terminology will be respected. After all, that’s why we build glossaries and translation memories with you. But while terms can be learned, assembling them creatively requires a personal flair.

Choosing the right translator is a start. Here’s how you can be an active contributor, too.

Choosing the right translators is essential, but grooming them is even more important. The fact that a translator “gets your business and your audience” is not a coincidence. It’s a matter of careful selection and building a relationship with your linguists. If you want to boost the chemistry even further, here are a few tips for you:

  • Give feedback. It’s the most potent element in speeding up the learning curve.
  • Optimize your source content for translation. Not sure how? Here are a few tips.
  • Share your editorial style guide. If you need help with localizing it, you know who to turn to.



How to become a successful translator

Becoming a successful translator requires a lot of patience, skill and practice. It is a field on the rise, providing many opportunities to work with different types of people and to learn new things. It is an essential service that you will be providing; you will be helping people communicate better with each other. Below are some steps you can follow to become a successful translator.

  • Learn another language and become fluent in it. Learn how to have a conversation and learn the meanings of several words in the language. In addition, brush up on your own language to understand it more and know how foreigners view it.
  • It is one thing to learn a language and it is another thing to know how to write it. To be a successful translator it is beneficial to learn how to write the language into which you are translating.
  • Apart from learning a new language, it will also be a good idea for you to enroll for translation and interpreting classes as this will go a long way to help you understand factors such as culture, context and audience when translating.
  • This may be a bit difficult, especially as it may require some measure of finance and time, but to get a proper grasp of the language you are learning you may want to travel to a country where it is an official language. Ensure you spend time with the locals and not visitors or foreigners like yourself.
  • While not mandatory, it will still be advantageous for you to become certified, as this will make it much easier for you to find employment. Most employers believe people who are certified have the required expertise and skills to move their organization forward.
  • To further boost your profile you can take language proficiency tests to show potential employers and clients that you are truly proficient in your chosen language. This also gives them the opportunity to rate your skills and see for themselves that you are right for the job.
  • When it comes time to job hunt, you can do this by registering on various websites and getting freelance jobs, which could be what you need to kickstart your career. Some of these sites may require a registration fee while others may not.
  • You can also find a paid or unpaid internship, which will provide you with another opportunity to build up the required experience you need to forge ahead in your career. At the end of the program if you prove yourself you may find yourself with a full time position.
  • Considering that most translators are freelancers, you will have to market yourself well by choosing a subject-matter niche that you know very well, as this will make it easier for you to get jobs.
  • Do some research and acquire for yourself a copy of the right software to benefit your specific workflow. Also, ensure you are translating from your target language into your native language and not the other way around; not only will this be easier, but it also happens to be the standard industry-wide procedure. This way, should you come across an unfamiliar word when working on a job, it will be easier to research it in your native language to be sure you’ve chosen the right term.