Does your business need to use a professional translator? If so, you’ll need to apply some time and energy to finding the perfect linguist to meet your needs. This article details five areas to consider, to ensure that you end up with the ideal translator. Let’s dive in.

Professional translation is about more than language

If you’re looking for a translator, it’s obviously essential that they speak the language pairing that you need. It’s also important that they come from the right region.

If you have a document in English, for example, and need a Spanish translation, it’s not sufficient to simply hire a Spanish translator. You need to be sure that the version of Spanish they speak is the same as the one you need for your translation. That means using a translator based in Spain if you need European Spanish or a translator based in the relevant Latin American country if you need Latin American Spanish.

It’s also important to consider your translator’s sector-specific knowledge. Finding a translator with experience of your particular industry or niche can ensure that they are up to speed with any specialist terminology that you may use. This can not only speed up the translation process but also enhance the quality of the translation.

Finally, consider any additional skills that you are likely to need from your translator. Do you need a localization service as well as a translation service? What about desktop publishing? Factor all of this in at an early stage to ensure you have the ideal linguist to meet all of your requirements.

Should you use a translation company or a freelancer?

How do I find a translator? There are various ways that you can go about doing so. In addition to asking your peers for recommendations, you can seek out translators through both agencies and freelancing job sites.

If you’re planning to use a translation agency, be sure to opt for one that has a long-established history of successful translation and plenty of happy clients. Do some Googling to check up on their credentials, as well as grilling the agency’s staff on their expertise.

Alternatively, if you intend to hire a freelancer, look carefully at their reputation on the freelancing platform, not only in terms of the quality of their translation work, but also in terms of adherence to timescales, level of customer service, and so forth.

What will your translation service cost you?

Cost is likely to play a key role in your decision as to which translator to hire. As such, it’s important to know what you might expect to pay.

How much is it to hire a translator? Some translators charge an hourly rate, while others charge based on the number of words that they translate. In the case of the latter, be sure to establish whether that’s the number of words in the source language or the target language. Differences in how many words different languages use to say the same thing can be significant so it could have quite an impact on your budget.

What is the hourly rate for translators? According to Payscale, it stands at £14.93, though this can, of course, vary considerably depending on the language pairing and any translation specialisms (such as legal or medical translation) that you happen to need.

Is machine translation a good idea?

Machine translation can seem like a tempting option when you’re working to a budget. It’s free and fast – what more could you need? In reality, a lot more. Machine translation is not as accurate as human translation. Machines these days can certainly translate many languages well enough that the reader can understand the gist of the text. However, that’s not good enough for a professional corporate environment.

Based on data presented by Grand Review Research, the global machine translation market size is expected to reach US$983.3 million by 2022. Plenty of large tech companies are investing in trying to crack machine translation and several have made breakthroughs in recent years. However, when it comes to translation quality, humans still win over machines. So if quality is more important to your business than cost, human translation is the way forward.

Think about additional language services

You may just need translation services at the moment, but is your business likely to need any additional language services in the future? If so, it’s a good idea to map out what those might be. Could interpretation services help you to break into foreign markets, for example, or might a well thought out multilingual blogging strategy help to build up your brand’s global reputation?

Whichever professional language services you need, it makes sense to purchase them all through one agency. That way, you won’t have to find another language services provider further down the line and go through the process of bringing them up to speed with your business all over again.

Clearly, you might not know at this stage that you will need a Korean translator or a Finnish interpreter in a year’s time. However, having an awareness of the likely long-term direction of travel of your business in terms of international expansion can certainly feed into such considerations. And to cover all your bases, you can opt for a translation agency that provides as extensive a range of translation services as possible.

Hiring a professional translator can be an exciting step in the development of your business. Perhaps you are about to forge a new international partnership or start selling your goods or services overseas. Whatever the reasons behind the need for translation, finding the right person is key. The right translator can smoothly and efficiently help you to achieve your business goals. They can take care of your foreign language needs while leaving you free to focus on the company’s core operations. As such, be sure to put sufficient time and effort into recruiting the right professional translator. Doing so will pay off in the long-run and likely in the short-term too!