How to Find the Right Translator

Translation… Transcreation… Localisation... Copywriting… It is just a text in a foreign language, right?

 

So your company decided to expand in to other countries and is planning to offer your goods or services overseas, for example in Germany, France, Russia, etc. You have done a thorough market research, got experts on board and ready to go. The only remaining barrier is the foreign language, but the solution is seemingly clear -

 

You need a translator. So far so easy, it seems.

 

What many people do not know, is that hiring language experts is like hiring a lawyer - for family affairs you will less likely choose to work with corporate lawyer, although both of them are “into law”. So how to choose the right expert with the right skill set for your company’s needs?

 

First, decide on the language you need.

If you are expanding to Spain, ask yourself, do you need only Spanish or also Catalan? If you are going to offer your products in Switzerland, please consider, that this country has four (4!) official languages, and, for example, the written German used there is slightly different from the German in Germany and Austria (to say nothing about the spoken language).

 

Second, clearly define what you need the translation for.

This is often neglected, so let me give you a short overview of different language products and the respective experts.

 

Anything what is related to contracts, you might want to work with a legal translator, someone who underwent training in law. Sworn translators are usually familiar with legal matters, however, it depends a lot on the country’s specific requirements for sworn translators.

Make sure that the translator works with an editor, preferably also specialized in law, who would double check every single detail (a maker checker approach). Excellent translators and serious translation agencies usually aware and this service is included. It is crucial for legal texts and will give you a peace of mind. This particularly applies, when neither you nor any of your colleagues speak the target language.

 

On the other hand, if it is a business letter, an invoice or a project proposal (unless very technical) that you have to send to your foreign partners, then you need a translator. The same applies for product documentation. If it is a technical project description, then you should seek technical translator’s services. Make sure that the translator has worked in that field before and ask them for respective references. Also, if you have any internal style guides and/or glossaries, send them to the translator. This is how you can assure the consistency of the translated texts.

 

If you want your app translated - then a localiser is the best option. Localisation means that the text is going to be fitted into the cultural context of the target audience. Translators specialised in localisation are the ones who understand how to make the usability feel natural, especially regarding the length of the words.

 

As for marketing material or blog posts in another language you should consider hiring a transcreator.  Transcreation is a text written by a native speaker, with expertise in the source language. The transcreated text ideally will provoke the same effect on the target audience as the original text on the primary audience. The transcreation specialist will adopt the text the way that it will feels “natural” or "not alienated" to the target audience. For example, maybe your products have a certain feature which needs to be highlighted more in the target country you are expanding to... A good transcreator can address that!

 

A copywriter might be an excellent partner for you if you want to create content from the scratch without a clear equivalence in your language. But, what about websites? Usually, the navigation is translated by a localiser, but as for articles, about us pages etc. a transcreator or copywriter with SEO expertise would be the best choice.

 

As you can see there is a whole variety of language specialists (and the list is not exhaustive) and more or less all of them are usually referred to as “translators”. Many translators have several skills out of the mentioned above. Remember, if in doubt about what type of language product you need and what your language expert needs to have an expertise in, drop me a line. 

 

Feel free to contact me for more information. Here to help!