Tips on Hiring a Translator If You Want to Develop Your Business Internationally

Photo of author

By Jacob Maslow

When you run a successful company, it’s a natural thing to start wondering whether you should expand it internationally. If you come to the conclusion that you indeed should think about other markets, you need to decide which ones. There are ways to determine which foreign markets have more financial potential for you than others. After that, you will probably hit the wall. For example, you’re an US-based company and you discover that you should expand to Southern America, but nobody in your company speaks Spanish or Portuguese. It’s not enough to prepare your business to operate worldwide – you need to somehow communicate with your potential partners and customers. That’s why, if you have such plans, a translator becomes a necessity for you. But how can you make sure that you hire the right one?


Know your needs


When the need for a translator arises, you have to determine whether it’s better to hire a full-time one, develop a partnership with a translating company or maybe a freelancer will be enough. Consider your projects and make some predictions – how often will you need such a person? How many documents will you be generating to translate into this language? Or maybe you will need a lot of simultaneous translations? If it will be standard, legal paperwork on a regular basis, you probably won’t need the whole team of translators, but if you have hundreds of pages of engineering or medical documentation, it would be best to find a translating company who will get more people to work on it and who have some knowledge in the field.

Know what to look for


It’s hard to assess someone else’s knowledge of the language that you don’t speak yourself, that’s why it’s important to check all possible credentials of a freelancer or a member of the translating company that you consider hiring. Not every bilingual person can be a good translator; you need something more, skills and a deeper understanding of languages and cultures, to be able to translate different texts properly. It’s important to find a person who is a native speaker (or at least highly proficient) of your target language but has a full understanding of your language as well. It’s easier to understand the source text than to put it right and precisely into another language without losing any meaning on the way. What’s more, you will probably look for someone who is educated and has some experience in the field; the area of specialization is crucial too. When you have two Spanish translators, it’s better to hire the one who knows something about your industry, maybe even has some background. Plus, always ask for samples to have an idea about your potential translator’s work.


Be sure to verify information


When you ask for certifications, don’t mistake certified translations with professional translating certification. The first ones are simply translations that a translator swore before a notary are as accurate as he could have made them, while the latter is a rigorous exam of American Translators Association (ATA). If you consider hiring a translation company, always ask about both qualifications of individual translators and company credentials – make sure everything is certified. It won’t give you 100% certainty about translations’ quality, but it will give you some. Plus, inquire about their procedures – what they do to eliminate errors or how they control the workflow.


Keep up with the prices


It’s impossible to get the exact price of translating services before the job is done. Some providers charge by words, others by pages; there are those who price the document or have an hourly rate. The fees can vary depending on the text, the area of specialization, the availability of a translator, the sources, the deadline, the credentials, the overall difficulty of the project, etc. Very often, it’s not possible to know all the answers at the beginning so you will probably only get an estimated price. That’s why it’s important to keep up with financials; you should never agree to pay for an hour, and always verify if it’s more beneficial for you to pay per word or per page. Make sure not to overpay, but also not to underpay – if the price seems too good, a translator is probably inexperienced or an amateur. What’s more, always know what you’re having translated. Analyse your documents and if you can see that a lot of them are similar, ask for a discount, as it also means less work for a translator.


A good translator is essential if you want to succeed globally so make sure you find someone who’s right for the job. You surely don’t want to end up like President Carter who, through his translator, said that he had abandoned the United States for good and asked Polish people about their lusts. It may sound funny, but it won’t bring any profits to your business.

Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos