You may be tempted to select the cheapest translator you can find. Although understandable, this approach may cost you more in the long term – or even prove fatal to your image. As with everything else in business and in life, try to get the best your budget allows.
Here are some questions to ask and criteria to keep in mind while looking for the right professional:
· Is the translator able to fully understand the source text and render it accurately and idiomatically in the target language? It is a sad fact that some overestimate their linguistic fluency. Ideally, a translator must have lived and worked in both the source and target language countries and translate into his or her dominant language.
· Does the translator have the required expertise? Is the subject matter listed among his or her specialty fields? Has he or she worked on similar projects before? Does he or she have access to the appropriate resources and to experts in that field who would be able to help with terminology or at least explain the concepts?
· Is the translator detail-oriented? It may seem obvious, but many problems often stem from simple lack of attention to detail. Everyone makes mistakes once in a while, but beware of a translator who sends out correspondence or marketing materials with typos.
· Is the translator able to meet your deadline? Do you get prompt answers to your e-mails? Are you able to get in touch with her/him by phone? If your project is quite large, you may want to set up a translation schedule and request progress reports at set points.
· Do not hesitate to request samples of previous work or client references. Most translators will also gladly agree to perform a short (up to 150 words) sample translation, but since this is done in their spare time, it can take a while for busy professionals.
· Last but not least – do you feel comfortable communicating with the translator? Do you feel that he or she is listening to your needs and trying to help you solve your problems? Are his or her correspondence, marketing materials and general demeanor showing a professional loving his or her work and dedicated to his or her clients?
· After the work was completed, did the translator willingly provide “after-sales” service – answering your questions, collaborating with you to settle any concerns and generally being available for any fine-tuning of the translated document?