Traits to look for when reviewing a skilled quality translator

quality translator

Traits to look for when reviewing a skilled quality translator

We all know a quality translator should be proficient in the source language and the target language, but having strong language skills doesn’t guarantee that the translator is right for your job. Look for these skills in your translator:

Have abundant experience in the relevant industry

Translators each have an area of expertise, and years of experience in an industry can help the translator deliver a quality translation that contains the most accurate phrasing and expressions. There may be a few ways to “correctly” translate a sentence, but the exact selection of words will determine the overall quality. If you are going to use the document for an important purpose, such as an immigration interview, you need to make sure the wording conforms to the standard, and the translation shouldn’t cause any confusion. 

In addition, working with a skilled translator can save you a lot of time, as you may not need to provide a full glossary or style guide. A translator who is familiar with the intended industry can select the right wording and translating style without much guidance or explanation from you. 

Be acquainted with the culture 

Spending several years or even living full-time in a country where the language is spoken may not be adequate. A quality translator should be following the latest cultural trends. For business and localization materials, it is important that the translator is attuned to the latest trends and selects relevant expressions that may be attractive to your readers. The use of an outdated expression may negatively affect the value of your business material. 

Pay attention to the format of the translated document 

Most people using translation services expect the translation to be returned in the same format as the original document. Depending on how complicated the original format is, this may be very time-consuming or sometimes not even possible. However, even for documents with complicated formatting, good translators aim to deliver the translation in a format close to the original document. This may require the translator to have good computer skills and know-how to use different software to reformat the translated documents. 

Be detail-oriented

Often the person requesting a translation does not understand the other language, making it hard to examine the finished translation. It is the translator’s responsibility to carefully read the translation and compare it to the original document to ensure accuracy and a complete document. Running the finished translation through a spellchecking system is helpful, but there are errors a spellchecker cannot identify and the translator needs to be detail-oriented and examine the translation carefully before submitting it. 

Know how to use the latest translation technology

This is not often required, but for large-volume projects, if the translator knows how to work with the latest computer-assisted tool and translation memory system, your translation turnaround can be largely shortened. For small projects, the capability of using the latest translation technology may not be that important. However, no matter if it is a small or large project, the bottom line is that the translator needs to ensure the final translation is accurate and consistent. 

Meet the deadline and be ethical

Even if the translator is very competent for the job, you still need to make sure the translator is ethical and trustworthy before handing your documents to the person. Be sure all your important, personal, or financial documents are used only for translation, and that won’t be misused or disclosed for any other purposes. 

Moreover, you need to ensure the person can meet the deadline set by you. Missing a deadline may mean severe consequences for you, but it is very hard to hold the translator liable for the damage and cost incurred due to their mistake of missing the deadline. For a time-sensitive project, you should always assign it to a translator you can trust.