Do you know how to tell the difference between a second-rate translator and a true linguistic expert? If you-or the corporation that you're representing-isn't exactly fluent in the language your translator is translating, then how can you tell the difference between excellent and slipshod work? To be sure, professional translation is more than meets the eye, ear, or lips. If you're stuck in this particular situation, then read on. This article will outline key indicators on whether or not the translation service you've gotten is the best one possible.
There are a multitude of important factors you need to first consider when seeking translation services. Whether you're looking for a Korean or Japanese translator, the choices available will undoubtedly overwhelm you. There is no lack of human translation companies out there. Simply typing "Japanese translator" on a search bar is enough to get you a comprehensive list of leads of professional translation groups and individuals all over the globe.
Native Speaker versus Non-Native Speaker
In any case, the first factor you need to consider is whether or not your human translation expert is a native speaker of the language. It may be a bad idea to get someone who speaks, say, Esperanto as a third language when you need to translate something from Esperanto, lest you want your translations to look like it was done by a service like Yahoo's Babel Fish.
On that note, make sure you get a human translator first before checking if he or she is a native speaker. A company that's mostly dependent on machine translation and hardly fluent employees is never a good company to hire. You want to get a speaker who not only grew up speaking the language or is a fluent speaker of your native tongue (presumably English), you also want to have someone can easily spot errors and can maintain the context and meaning of a work when finally translated.
Sometimes, a non-native speaker's services will suffice, and you can even get a cheaper rate out of them to boot. However, they should at least live in the country whose language they're translating into for at least a decade, and they should provide recommendations about their translating abilities as well. Always keep in mind that you can find talented translators from non-native speakers too.
Work experience is also vital when looking for a competent translator. That's par for the course, but it's a lot more complicated than it seems. For instance, you can get a couple of translator types to pick from depending on their experience level. For all intents and purposes, pick individual translators with at least three years of work experience or choose a translation company to reduce the risk of getting a not-so-capable-or-proficient linguist in the first place. A reputable organization with a tried-and-proven system of quality control and translation programs is your best bet.
To ensure the quality of the translation service you'll be availing, ask the translator you're hiring the following relevant questions: What translation programs do they utilize? How much experience do their employees have with the languages they supposedly know? How many customers from your native country have they helped? How do they look for errors, and what system do they use to control the quality of their work? By doing all these things as your preliminary safeguard in ensuring translation quality, you'll be sure to hire true professional translators to do your translation work.
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