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Written by Eli Eschler

September 30, 2023

How to Distinguish a Professional Translator

If you’re looking to hire a translation service for the first time, you might have questions about choosing a good translator for your needs. Regardless of your experience working with translators, ensuring your projects are in good hands never hurts. Here’s how to distinguish a professional translator from others:


Excellent Grammar and Writing Skills

Whether you’ve got a marketing translation project or need a certified translation, you’ll need your final product to be free of mistakes. Otherwise, your work will come off as unprofessional, or even worse, your audience might miss the message completely! For example, understanding where commas should go in a sentence is vital. Compare these two sentences:

“It’s time to eat, Grandma!” vs. “It’s time to eat Grandma!”

While both sentences are grammatically correct, we aren’t eating Grandma. The comma separates the sentence into parts, letting readers know that the speaker is inviting their grandmother to eat in the first sentence.


Professional Training

Aside from grammar, professional translators also know that official documents must be impeccable, that instruction manuals are clear and concise, that your marketing campaign needs to resonate with your audience, and that your video game is captivating. To do that, translators need practice.

While a bachelor’s degree ensures that a translator knows the basics of translation, they’ll need experience to offer high-quality services. Through collaboration and constant training, translators level up their skills through lots of experience. For beginner translators, training courses, co-ops, workshops, and certification programs are great ways to develop professional experience while earning a degree.


Expert Understanding of Language and Culture

Translation is more than just substituting words for others. There are aspects of language that are bound to society, and many times, these aspects are difficult to explain to others. For example, a common English phrase like “it’s raining cats and dogs” doesn’t mean the same thing in other languages. In Spanish, the phrase for heavy rain is “it’s raining from clay jugs.” Even if the language is the same, phrases, spellings, and memetics might also change, like the English word “biscuit” in the United States and the United Kingdom.


They Don’t Know Everything

As long as language exists, we’ll need translators. However, one translator can’t have mastery over every language, aspect of language, or field of study. That’s where specializations come in– translators who focus on one field of study are essential for ensuring high-quality translations with accurate information.

Just like physicians, specialized translators spend years training to acquire ample knowledge of a given field to perform their duties. That’s how you get legal translators, medical translators, technical translators, and transcreators. A good translator will also admit when they don’t know something; they’ll research the topic they need to study or ask a subject matter expert for help.


They Set Realistic Due Dates and Rates

The translation process has several stages, from getting initial price quotes to delivery of the end product. Typically, the translation process includes searching for terminology, the actual translation process, proofreading, and editing. Of course, these steps take time, and some take longer than others. It’s impossible to translate 10,000 words and format them correctly overnight.

It is also important to highlight that behind every good translation are years of study and experience. If you are promised a high-volume translation within a short period in exchange for a low payment, think twice before you hire the service because the final result might not be what you expect.


Relationship Between the Client and the Translator

Finally, if you’ve already started working with a translation service provider and the translator asks questions, that’s good! That means the translator is interested in your project and wants to offer you the best service available. In the end, collaboration and good communication can also differentiate between a good translation and a poor one.


Looking for Translators?

If you’re searching for translation services, a translation agency or marketplace is the perfect place to start. Marketplaces like Traduality allow clients to browse professional translators, manage products, make payments, and communicate with project managers all in one place. To learn more, schedule a demo or sign up today!

Updated 9/22/2023.

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