We all know a good translator should be proficient in the source language and the target language, but having strong language skills doesn’t guarantee that the translator is competent for your job. Following are qualities and skills that you may expect the translator to have before handing your documents to the translator.
Have abundant experience in the relevant industry
Translators have their expertise, and years of experience in an industry can help the translator deliver quality translation that contains the most accurate phrasing and expression. There may be couple of ways to translate a sentence into a different language, but the selection of words and expressions decides the overall quality of it. 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 good translator can save you much time, as you may not need to provide a full glossary or style guide. A translator who is familiar with the industry can select the right wording and translating style without much guidance or explanation from you.
Be acquainted with the culture
Spending several years in a country where the language is spoken may not even be adequate; a quality translator should keep following the latest trend in that culture. For translation of business and localization materials, it is important that the person stays tuned to the latest trends and selects expressions that may be attractive to the readers. The use of outdated expression may negatively affect the effectiveness of your business material.
Pay attention to the format of the translated document
Most of the people using translation services would expect the translation to be in the same format as the original document. Depends on how complicated the original format is, this may be very time-consuming or sometimes even not possible; however, even for documents with complicated formatting, good translators have the goal of delivering 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 deal with the formatting of the translated documents.
Be detail-oriented to avoid any typo
Most of the time, the person in need of translation does not understand the other language, so it is very hard for the person to examine the translation after receiving it from the translator. It is the translator’s responsibility to carefully read the translation and compare it to the original document to ensure the translation is accurate and nothing is missing from it. Running the spellchecker after finishing the translation is helpful, but sometimes there may be errors the 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
Although this is not required, but for large-volume projects, if the translator knows how to work with the latest computer-assisted tool and translation memory system, the 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 it is a small or large project, the bottom line is that the translator needs to ensure the final translation to be delivered to you is accurate and consistent.
Meet the deadline and be ethical
Last but not least, even a 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. You need to make sure all your important personal or financial documents would only be used for translation, and they wouldn’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 translator that you know you can trust.