Professional translation services are very useful in getting your books published in foreign languages. They help you enter new markets, and increase your readership. Many of such services are available online.
But whether you choose to work with someone you know or you hire someone based on their advertisement online, there are some tried and tested rules you should keep in mind. These rules will protect your work from theft and generally ensure that the final product is exactly as you want it to be.
If you’re requesting translations to a language you don’t understand, it can be very difficult to gauge how professional the translators are. That’s why you must ask yourself a few questions before you proceed with hiring.
1. Are the translators native speakers?
The first thing that you should look for in your translator is whether or not they are native speakers. A native speaker grows up speaking the language as a first language, without having to learn it at school. Fluent but non-native speakers may not be able to spot errors that natives can. This doesn’t mean non-native speakers can’t do a good job. They can often suffice, and they will charge you a lower rate too. But make sure that if you’re hiring a non-native speaker, they’ve lived in the country where they speak the language for at least ten years.
2. Do they have experience?
Look for a translator with at least three years of experience in the field. Resumes don’t always give you the complete picture.
So ask for recommendations as well. Recommendations are the best way of evaluating translators. What you want to look for is a translator who is known to deliver work on time and offers accurate translations. Since you probably don’t speak the language you need a translator for, recommendations from satisfied customers will give you an added boost of confidence in the translator, while helping you weed out the low quality services.
4. Should you choose a translation company or an individual?
This is a question that doesn’t always have an easy answer. Many people will recommend choosing a translation company rather than an individual from off the Internet. There are advantages to this choice.
A good translation company will typically have a tried and tested system for regulating all their translation work.
They are more likely to have effective systems in place to find errors. They may have a lot of experience in offering their services to clients in your country as well. Many companies use sophisticated translation software. It’s a good idea to find out what software your target company uses, as well as how well the translators understand your native tongue.
5. What is the best way to manage projects and enjoy cost savings?
Any translation project will need some planning, especially if it is a large and labor intensive project. Both you, as the client, and the translator will need to discuss your requirements and expectations. Make sure that the quality of the original document to be translated is high, or the intensive efforts of translation will have been wasted. Output that is poor quality can be difficult to rectify. Instead, make sure to encourage questions about the material from the translator. Invite clarifications.
When working with technical documents or other documents with repeated phrases and sentences, many translators with experience will typically store these elements in a “translation memory” and speed up future translations.
The points listed above are important to consider when you’re using translation services. It’s easy to find a translation service online. But it’s not so easy to vet them for quality. How do you know that a translator is a skilled and experienced expert and not an unprofessional dabbler? You can’t really tell unless you ask the right questions.