International translation expert Aída Ramos is the founder of Thinking Side Language Services. She is passionate about languages and specialises in Transcreation for brands. She speaks Spanish, English, French and Portuguese, has some knowledge of Basque, German and Swedish (which she learned during her exchange year in Scandinavia) and is currently studying Italian.
Here, Aída shares her top tips on how to hire a translator, to ensure you get the very best from the services you use.
I bet you’d like to know, right? Well…
I’m sorry to break it to you, but I’m afraid that’s not really possible!
In my experience (15+ years), there is no way you can get all three:
However, I can give you some helpful tips on how to hire a translator to ensure all your language goals are met seamlessly – listen up!
The business translation market is a big one, and the price range is huge. As is often the case with any other market, high prices don’t necessarily guarantee high quality. But if you go below a certain level, you’ll need to wonder whether the text you receive will do credit to your brand/service/product.
In Spain, for example, prices can vary greatly, but it’s probably safe to say the standard range for non-specialised, non-sworn texts is €0.08 to €0.15 per word.
To begin with, you should be looking at qualified native speakers of the target language, that is, the language you need to translate your documents into. For example, if you are a British business owner looking to launch your products in the Spanish market, you will need a native Spanish speaker. You’ll also want to make sure they work with ES-ES (Spanish from Spain) as opposed to other varieties of the language spoken in Latin America.
Notice I also mentioned the word ‘qualified’. By this, I mean people who have the training, skills and relevant experience for the job at hand. Social proof is always handy (maybe check their LinkedIn profile?), but the old ‘word of mouth’ is also a winner!
Also, what I mean by ‘relevant experience’ is that they should be experts in the field. Maybe your sister who works in a big pharma company can give you the details of a great translator she used for their latest clinical trial. However, if you work in advertising and you need someone who can make a really witty and catchy slogan work in a different market, they might not be the right fit for you!
You’ve found someone you are happy with? Great!
Here’s the basic information they’ll need to start working:
Some people might panic slightly if their chosen translator starts asking questions, but that’s actually a great sign! You probably knew full well what you meant when you wrote the text, but a good translator doesn’t make any assumptions. Also, translators are very close readers and might be able to point out potential errors you might have missed entirely or parts of the text that might not be all that clear to the reader. Always welcome questions, they are a sign of professionalism!
Always. You might have a sound procedure in place, but last-minute additions by non-linguists can sabotage an otherwise effective document. Be sure to have a language-sensitive native speaker on hand to vet any final fiddling. Also, don’t finalise changes to foreign texts by telephone as it can be really risky!
Did you find this useful? I really hope so! If you need more information, you can always download Getting it Right, a great guide put together by the American Translators’ Association which aims to reduce stress and help you get the most out of your translation budget.
Read more about Aída’s services as a translation and transcreation expert.