13/11/2011

5 things to look for in a translator

Things a translator should have
1. Good qualifications
Knowledge of a foreign language is a pre-requisite but not enough to be a professional translator. A good first language degree combined with a specialist degree in translation are essential and another qualification in a technical subject is a plus.

2. Membership of a professional body - e.g. Institute of Translation and Interpreting, Chartered Institute of Linguists
This guarantees the highest standards. Members of professional associations are qualified and experienced translators who are required to abide by a Code of Conduct. They are also encouraged to broaden their skills by undertaking Continuous Professional Development.  

3. Quality control
Unless you've already worked with a translator, it's difficult to assess the quality of their services. The two criteria mentioned above are a good starting point, but you can look for samples of past work, feedback/recommendations from previous clients, and whether the translation will be proofread before submission.

Other things to consider
4. Realistic quote
With temptingly low quotes, the quality of the service is also likely to be low. It's wise to steer clear of translators who will give you a figure - without asking for the document, without discussing your requirements. Think carefully about the work involved: the volume of the assignment, the required background research and expertise, the timeline for completion, using these factors to work out an hourly rate from the quote given. If it sounds reasonable, chances are the quote is realistic. 

5. Translator's attitude 
Signs of professionalism include client focus, reliability, flexibility and accessibility. Don't be put off by translators who ask questions or flag ambiguities or errors in the original document. Attention to detail and adequate communication with the client are key to doing a thorough job.

Why choose me

Professional linguist with 13 years' experience
Translator, teacher & interpreter since 2004
Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists
Member of the International Association of Professional Translators & Interpreters

Translation experience
Certified translation of official documents:
- birth/marriage/divorce certificates
- diplomas, transcripts & references
- legal/medical/insurance documents
Academic articles/literary essays
Business/marketing communications
CRM software

Interpreting experience
Court hearings
Medical and work-related
Edinburgh International Film Festival 2010
Arts/cultural events
'Fixer' for French TV

Teaching experience
Language assistant at prestigious Fettes College
Teacher at 3 leading UK universities
Organised a T&I workshop

Qualifications
First degree in English Studies
MSc in Translation Studies
Professional Graduate Diploma In Secondary Education (French & Spanish)