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Five tips for hiring a translator

There are many different translation agencies out there today, and for UK businesses seeking a translator, the amount of choice can be overwhelming. It’s important not to rush the choice though, as there can be a vast amount of difference between a document which has been professionally and accurately translated, and one which is substandard.

Here we provide you with five handy tips for selecting a translator for your project.

Pick a native speaker

There are many translators out there who are highly fluent in languages that are not their own. But in many cases it is of great benefit to utilise the skills of someone who is a native speaker in the target language for your translation. As well as ensuring that the translation is wholly accurate on the surface level, a native speaker can make sure that it sounds right at a cultural level and compensate for any difference in national attitudes.

Make sure your translator understands your industry

In the case of many more complex documents, particularly those relating to medicine, law or science, there is in fact a third language involved in the translation – the specialist terminology and concepts of the industry. Using a translator who is unfamiliar with your industry may result in sections of text which become unreadable or nonsensical when translated.

Go for experience

Anyone with basic knowledge of a second language could call themselves a translator. But there can be a world of difference between a translator who has just started out and one who has been established for many years. That’s not to say that inexperienced translators will do a bad job, but by hiring a translator with many years of experience you immediately know that they must have a consistent track record to have stayed in business.

Ask if they use software to analyse the source text

If you ask a number of UK translation agencies for quotes, the prices given can vary greatly. This is in part because many documents (such as legal contracts) contain repetitions of phrases. While some translators will charge you based on the number of overall words in the document, others will use specialist software to identify repetitions and eliminate the need to translate them. The result is a more cost-effective translation which may be completed sooner.

Check that they are capable of meeting your deadlines

Time is highly relevant in many industries. A perfectly translated document can often be of little use if it is delivered late. So as well as ensuring that the translation agency you hire is capable of precision and accuracy, you should also investigate their ability to consistently meet your deadlines. If you have constantly changing and unpredictable translation needs then it may be advisable to recruit the services of a UK translation agency which operates around the clock and on all days of the week. Then if you get a document on Friday which needs to be urgently translated, it can be waiting in your inbox for you on Monday morning.

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