When you buy a new computer, you don’t choose one blindly. And for translations, the same applies! For translation projects, the stakes can be very high. A poor translation can threaten the reputation of your company.
When you’re looking for a translator, what do you do? You type “English French translation” in Google. After all, when you look for an electrician, you’ll just type “electrician” and call the first 3, right? Why shouldn’t it be the same with a translator?
3 reasons why you should change your translator search strategy:
1. Would you let a robot write your scientific article?
You would certainly not. So why would you let a robot translate it? The first results on Google will actually be automatic translation websites. If you just need to translate a couple of words, that’s fine! These websites have greatly improved over the last decade but if you need to translate a clinical trial for a lung cancer drug, they won’t be a good fit.
2. Would you pay your dentist USD 30/hour?
With a such a low rate, you can’t expect a professional work. You’ve heard of translation companies. You’ll ask them for a quote and pick up the cheapest one. Ok, this might be a good strategy but you have to be aware of how some translation agencies work. Most of them work with external resources (translators and reviewers) to be able to meet the increasing demand. Nothing bad in that. Except when they expect translators to apply low rates. Translators willing to take on low rate-projects are not the best ones or not the most experienced ones. If you want to call on a translation agency, I would recommend you to make a targeted search to find the agency specialized in your specific area of work (e. g. finance, pharmacology, legal) and ask them about the experience of their translators and the fairness of their rate policy. Some translation agencies are very open to discussion when it comes to rates and value the experience of their translators. They’re the ones you want to work with.
3. Would you walk in the dark if you could use a flashlight?
It’s ok to be lost if you’ve never had to buy a translation. Let me guide you through it. Translating is actually a real job and there are translators’ federations. Just like in other professions, translators can be part of a federation. Such federations generally have a directory on their websites, like the Société française des traducteurs and the American Translators Association. You can search the directory to find the perfect professional for your translation job. The Société Française des Traducteurs has produced a short booklet called Translation, getting it right – A guide to buying translations, which is a gold mine of useful things to know before looking for a translator.
What’s your strategy when you have a translation job to get done? Does someone from your company do it or do you ask a professional translator? In any case, don’t hesitate to contact me for more advice about finding the right translator at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to help.
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