How to get the best from your translator

Time-saving preliminary checks and observed best practice by my customers

1. Check your translator is:

  • a native-speaker in the target language (= the language they are translating into)
  • a qualified professional with appropriate work status
  • competent to work on texts relating to your field.

2. Find the right provider for your purposes.

  • Will you go to one provider for all your translation needs or use several (for different language combinations or types of document)?
  • Do you share the same values?
  • Will the provider be able to fit in with your work patterns (volumes, schedules, validations, tools, environments)?

3. Plan ahead

Let your translation provider know in advance when they will be receiving work − and keep them up to date with changes to the the schedule.

Allow enough time for the job. It’s not always possible to gauge exactly how long a translation will take, because of the need to research terms, but your provider should be able to tell you roughly how many words they can translate per day, depending on the type of work involved.

4. Agree on a fair price in advance.

This may not be as easy as it sounds. Customers generally want their translation provider to quote a fixed amount or a rate based on the number of words or characters in the source text, but translators can’t always tell in advance how long a job will take. An hourly or daily rate may be the fairest solution − you could actually end up paying less than if you insist on a quote for a fixed amount.

5. Respond to queries

If the translator asks you a question, it’s because either they can’t finish the job without the answer, or the translation will be better if they get an answer. If you can’t answer it yourself, put the translator in touch with someone in your organization who can or let them know that they will have to make the decision themselves.

6. Let the provider know you have received the translation.

If you always acknowledge receipt of translations, your regular providers will notice when you don’t and help iron out any problems with delivery.

7. Pay on time.

Obvious, isn’t it? No one enjoys chasing up payment, and late payment can create serious cash flow problems for freelances, so providers are likely to be more obliging with prompt payers.