Five Important Questions You Should Ask a Translator Before Hiring Them

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“Learning a foreign language, and the culture that goes with it is one of the most useful things we can do to broaden the empathy and imaginative sympathy and cultural outlook of children.” -Michael Gove

While availing of the services of a translation provider is no easy task, selecting a competent one skilled in professional translation services would be even harder—regardless of whether you have had experience in this area or none at all. A lot of your concerns should be adequately addressed prior to finalizing a contract with a potential hire in order to avoid surprises and unforeseen snags in the long run. As a guarantee that you are employing a quality hire, it is best if you asked the right questions. Translation providers who fail to meet your criteria or are unable to respond to your queries should be disqualified. In the same vein, you should sift through your candidates and look for those who you think are qualified for the job. Your questions should be formulated in a way that these providers would be able to prove their worth and persuade you to invest in their services.

As a starting point, here are some of the questions you should include while interviewing potential hires:

1.) Do your services include proofreading by a second translator?

No matter how skilled your translator claims to be, it is imperative to remember that even the most experienced and qualified translators would commit flubs along the way. After all, translators are still humans, and as humans, they are susceptible to making errors. Even if a translator assures you that he or she proofreads his or her work, it is crucial to ensure that there is a second translator who is just as qualified for the job and whose primary task entails reviewing and proofreading the work of the first translator. A second translator is necessary as they would be the fresh eyes and fresh perspective to the translation made by the first one. As a result, you will have a better translation and more authentic results.

2.) Do you charge per page, target word or per source word?

Much like how the services of translation providers differ, so do their charging fees. There are some who would charge per page, while some would opt to charge per word. Should your service provider charge you per word, then you will know exactly what you will be charged. If they charge you per target word, then there is a possibility that this may either be a lot cheaper or more expensive—depending on what languages are involved.

3.) Can you furnish me with references from previous clients?

Ideally, your translator should be able to provide you with two reliable references from clients he or she has had in the past. This is the best way to ensure if your translation provider would provide you with the kind of service you are looking and hoping for. Keep in mind that not all translators may want you to be privy to this sort of information as client confidentiality in the translation industry exists. This protects clients and translators from sharing sensitive information so do not take affront when translators would not readily give you this information.

4.) Who will be doing the actual translation?

Before hiring a translator, it is pivotal that you find out as much as you can about the education, experience, translation certificates of the actual translator who will be taking the brunt of the translation work. If possible, find out whether he or she is actually a native speaker. Take a gander at the kind of documents you need translating. The kind of translator you would require differs on your need. Suppose your documents contain legal and medical translations, then you would need a translator with formal qualifications.

5.) Do your translation works include a certificate of accuracy?

Not all translation providers and services would offer you this service, and you might not be aware of it, but you might actually need it. Translation providers and services that do provide this service, however, do not always include the cost of the certificate in the initial quote they provide you. Normally, it is something you ask for separately from the basic translation work. Apart from this, you may also need to have these translations notarized, and similarly, not all professional translation providers would come equipped with notarization services and will charge separately for that service.

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