A guide to always get good translations by professionals, who know your industry, won’t change the meaning of your texts but also won’t cost you much, is ready for you, on the blog of AtYourService.
Find out, among other things, what to ask a translator, how to evaluate his skills, how much he will cost you but also all the important things you should know for a service with such great demand.
Most of us have had a text translated that looked like it was almost done by Google Translate or an automated translating service. Furthermore, we’ve all heard of expressions that when translated they totally lost their meaning.
A funny translation once given to me, had to do with the phrase “every single worker” which was translated from English to Greek, to something like “every unmarried worker”.
So, as you can imagine, the cost of a mistake in a translation can be from funny to very crucial if we are talking about your business documents, such as your brochures or your press releases.
Thus, the biggest issue for all of us when seeking for a good translator is that there is no frame for this specific profession. Or better, there so many types of translators that you have to search really well in order to get the right one to completely cover your needs, or in our case, a correct translation.
Just because someone is bilingual this doesn’t necessarily make him a translator. On the other hand, someone with no certifications and degrees, but who has a great talent in writing and with a good knowledge of the languages you need, might do a better job.
So, since the factors are numerous, the most difficult part is to spot them because let’s be honest, none of us is looking so much into the details of every service we are about to use. Of course, this is what AtYourService is here for.
Instead of searching yourself, we are presenting all the crucial factors below. As soon as you see what works for your case, it will be easier to spot the best professional for the specific job you need.
But let’s take a further look on the points which will determine who the best translator for you is:
In many cases, a translator who has the education, certifications, years of service and experience and most importantly, an expertise in your field, is a good start for a successful cooperation.
However, all the above are not essential for all cases. A simple document with no terminology and plain language, or a text that is meant for personal use as for example a letter, doesn’t take diplomas to be translated.
So, if you want to save yourself from extra costs and time when seeking for a good translator, you may assign your easy translations to anyone interested, as long as they have a good review rate and without bothering to ask for any other credentials.
They say, that when the target language of your text is the translator’s mother tongue, you will get the best translation there is. For example, if you want to translate a text from any other language to French, you will get the best results if your translator is a native French.
Besides, most professional translators mainly prefer to translate to their native language. However, again the importance and the use of the text will define the above factor.
There are big differences in what each translator can do. Just think that a translator who can perfectly translate literature books will probably need much longer to translate a medical research or an academic text. He might even reject such projects!
So, this profession is not as the one of a plumber for instance, that demands specific studies, specific qualifications and maybe some little expertise and experience.
Here, you need too many clarifications in order to find the appropriate professional, not only related to his knowledge of the language but also the sector, the level and the full knowledge of the terminology of the texts you need translated.
Of course, have also in mind that the more qualified the translator, the more it will cost you. A professional, who exclusively translates legal texts from Russian to Greek, will obviously cost you more.
However, the advantages of specialization are many. First, you get a correct and safe to use text that you will be proud to present anywhere. Secondly, the delivery time will be half of the rest, because he won’t need any research on the correct terminology, plus he will even take into account the country intended, and thus, its laws, legislation etc.
To get an idea, the types of text that are most frequently translated belong to the following categories:
• Scientific (medical, legal, technological, historical etc.)
• Commercial (business correspondence, technical essays, reports etc.)
• Of general use (contracts, certificates, diplomas, contracts, agreements, transcripts etc.)
• Clerical (personal correspondence, banking documents, brokerage, user manuals, etc.)
• Advertising-Journalistic (advertising texts, journalistic texts, systems descriptions, EU directives, etc.)
By now, it must be clear to you how hard it would be for a person to know all this range of topics and terminology of at least two languages in order to deliver a perfect translation. And besides this, there one more thing. Check below.
His talent in words
Even if he has all the qualifications as above, there is a chance your translator cannot deliver when texts have higher demands. A translation is not something automated and mechanical. Especially for the more literary or advertising texts, if he is not good at expressing himself with words and generally in writing, the text you’ll get, although correct, will lack of pace and interest.
A translator with a talent in writing, loves words and struggles with them as much as it needs, to manage not to change the meaning of the text, to find the appropriate expressions for each language, the correct rhythm, the author’s tone and voice and in general, the feeling that this is a text first written in the language you are reading it now.
If for example, you want to translate an advertising brochure, it is important to ask yourself if his knowledge in copywriting is adequate, in order to be able to play with words the way original advertising copy does.
Also, is he a salesman? In other words, you have to wonder if the advertising text he is about to translate will continue to be as effective in sales as its prototype and if it will keep the pace and correct rhythm, in order to address and motivate your target group to make purchases.
The call to action line “subscribe now” has many ways to be translated in Greek and so, the right translator will know which one is the best to use.
The number of languages he translates
It makes sense that, with some exceptions of course, the more languages someone speaks and translates, the less the quality of his work.
It certainly depends on the type of text and its use, however the fewer languages someone speaks the biggest his translating experience will be.
Up to 3-4 languages is fine. For more, you may need to ask for references and credentials.
Who will do the translation
A professional translator
He is the most common professional, but with so many offers, you might not know what to expect regarding the price, the delivery time, or the extra services you might need. Also, there are is no comparison and no pros and cons, since each case is unique.
A professional translator for technical manuals does something completely different than a professional translator for romance novels. So, it is very difficult to evaluate the work of two different translators and thus, you can rarely have a general price, time and quality frame.
As a result, everything depends on your evaluation, if you make a good team but mainly if you have done a good and thouroug research on his level of services for your specific industry.
Sometimes, two or more professional translators combine powers and knowledge to establish a small agency, which provides a wider range of basic services, though.
This is a very good solution if you are looking more options but without affecting your cost or quality of services. Maybe, the delivery times will be slower due to the increased amount of work but still, this is something you may negotiate/agree from the start.
As for the price, it depends on the specialization and the range of languages they can translate. In general, this is an affordable and reliable solution.
Translation services company
Usually, these are huge companies that cooperate with freelancers all around the globe, offering translations to almost every language, industry and any type of text.
So, their advantages mainly come down to the very competitive pricing and the wide range of services so you that you don’t have to waste any time searching, especially if you needa text translated to a language that is not so common, as for instance, Chinese.
The disadvantages however, have mostly to do with the culture of mass production. Impersonal relationships, often medium results and also, the translators change all the time, something you don’t want if you are looking for a person who will know you and your business needs, especially if you are looking for a long time cooperation.
Usually, these translators are college students or people who can do the job but don’t have the time, the credentials or/and the working experience to do it professionally or full time.
So, they translate occasionally by project, usually the easier texts or the ones on their field of expertise, just to add to their income or gain pocket money. The translation you’ll get, can be from perfect to very bad. This is because everything depends on your research.
A medical student for example, is the perfect case for low cost medical translations but if we are talking about a specialized medical book to be used for the treatment of your patients, maybe a bit more expensive, yet professional translator with an expertise in medical texts might offer you a safer book. :)
How much will it cost you
You might be charged per word, hourly, per page or per project. In any case though, and judging by the prices seen online, one can conclude that there is no specific price for these services.
For a text of 250 words for instance, the charges can range from as low as 6 Euros in total and as high as 35 Euros.
This is a very wide price range but not without a reason. You see, the abilities of each translator (beyond knowledge and skills) are subjective. The time one needs, how difficult it is for him, how much he evaluates his time, his work and himself in general, etc..
I have a friend who is a professional translator and who can type by using the touch typing method. This, allows him to work a lot faster than his competitors and so, he can take a lot more projects. Also, this fact alone, allows him to charge less which is something his competitors can’t do.
Another characteristic phenomenon of our digital era, which will determine the price, is the country your translator lives in. A text let’s say, from Indian to English that will be translated by an Indian translator who lives and works in India, or by a huge multinational company that pays peanuts to her translators over the globe, will cost you a lot less than when hiring a German citizen pro who speaks these languages.
So, before asking for a price, you should first ask as many translators as possible and give them as much information as you can. They should either take a look at your text to estimate the cost or if it’s confidential, you must tell them all the essential details.
E.g.: I need to translate a literary text of 2.000 words in 3 days, from Norwegian to Italian, which demands some knowledge of architecture terminology.
It is good to know that translators belong to one of those professions that are globalizing at a very fast pace. So, in case you wish to expand your business abroad, such as in Asia, Africa or Latin America and especially in places where very can few understand English (which undoubtedly is the global business language), now, more than ever, it is easier to find a native speaker to help you.
The value of AtYourService :)
So, coming to the point when you look for a translator and you have asked more than 10 recommended professionals, “friends”, companies and college students, it is very possible that you will get a very wide range of prices.
But besides this, you don’t know who will offer you the best value for your money. Also, if the language is not so common or you have a more technical text, your choices limit and get much more expensive.
So, through AtYourService, your offer requests have the opportunity to reach an audience of thousands while you receive many more price options. And most importantly, offers are made by professionals who have already been reviewed and rated by people seeking the exact same services. There is a good reason for AtYourService’s popularity!
So... What are you looking for?