Reading Time: 3 mins
You have taken the momentous decision to have your content translated for your Spanish audience. Well done! According to the Eurobarometer survey, 90% of European Internet users prefer to browse the web in their own language. Common Sense Advisory’s report on global consumer buying preferences, descriptively entitled “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites”, draws similar conclusions.
But now the question you may be asking yourself is how do you find a good translator. Well, the are several approaches – you can type in Google “good Spanish translator” and work your way down the list (not an approach I’d recommend!), you can go to one of the many translators/freelancers hiring sites or you can ask your contacts for referrals. Whichever approach you chose, you will still be faced with the same problem – how to qualify translators when you cannot speak Spanish and evaluate the quality of the work they produce?
Finding and hiring a translator is indeed a daunting task, especially if you do not speak the language, but there are some checks you can carry out before deciding who to entrust with your English material. These checks will not necessarily guarantee the success of your translation project, but they will ensure that:
- You take an informed decision when selecting a translator, and
- You hire a trustworthy professional who is most likely to produce a good translation.
CHECK 1 – Is your candidate translator a native speaker of Spanish?
This is an essential prerequisite. Those hilarious translation errors doing the rounds online are for the most part due to non-native speakers attempting translation. Professional translators translate only into their native language. If you need translation into English, you need to hire a translator who is a native speaker of English; if you need translation into Spanish, you need to hire a native speaker of Spanish.
CHECK 2 – Is your candidate qualified?
Translation is a specialised skill – it has to be learnt and practised. Simply speaking two languages is not enough. You should hire someone who has a degree or postgraduate degree in translation, or a similar regulated qualification.
CHECK 3 – Is your candidate a member of a professional body?
Membership of a professional body signals commitment to high professional standards. The rigorous admissions criteria ensure only top translators make the cut. The two main UK professional bodies are the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and the Chartered Institute of Linguists. Both have searchable member directories that are free to use:
- Institute of Translation and Interpreting – https://www.iti.org.uk/component/itisearch/?view=translators
- Chartered Institute of Linguists – http://www.ciol.org.uk/find-a-linguist
By hiring a translator who is a member of one of these organizations, you’ll go a long way towards ensuring the quality and success of your translation project.
CHECK 4 – Does your candidate have an online presence? And what does this say about them?
Once you have identified some candidates, spend some time reviewing their online presence. Visit their website and find out more information about them – specializations, work carried out, interests, etc. Most translators’ web sites are straightforward and present their qualifications, experience and fields for specialization. If you have done your homework, you may already have all this information about your candidates, but a web site will nonetheless tell you something about how each translator works.
Checking their profiles in social media is also a good idea – what do they post about? Do they keep up with industry developments? Are they well connected? Are there any publicly available reviews of their work? Do they show attention to detail in their posts? If they have typos, errors, etc, that probably tells you something about them.
These 4 simple checks will help you chose a professional translator and ensure the success of your translation project even before translation starts.