4 Questions to Ask Translators before Hiring Them

If you’re in need of a translator for your business, you should probably take the time you need to make sure that you are hiring the best professional for the job. There are many things that you should take into consideration before taking the final decision and actually hiring the person, but if you’re new in this you might not know what you should look out for.

When you are interviewing a potential employee for a translation position, there are some things that you can ask them which will help you decide if they are the right choice for your company. Here are a few questions you should always ask a translator before hiring them.

  1. What is your native language?

While this might be one of the things that many people consider something that is essential for every translator, you won’t easily find translators who are native in more than one language. This happens because many professional translators have learnt their second language either while they were in school or during their university years.

The ones who are native are less likely to seek independent work and usually prefer to join various translation companies as they believe that without a degree, their skills will be put to better use there. In any case, it would still be best for you to work with a bilingual native speaker as they will be able to translate all the native phrases and words in order for them to make perfect sense to the native speakers.

  1. What language do you think in?

While a translator might be perfectly fluent in one language, they will definitely have a mother language in which they will be most likely be thinking in. While that is perfectly normal and understandable, this might not benefit your blog or your creative articles in the long run.

A person who thinks in their mother tongue will find it a lot more difficult to stick to translating native words and phrases accurately and they might make simple mistakes which will be noticeable by the natives. It would be best if your translator thinks in the language they are trying to translate in as they will make the least amount of mistakes.

  1. Have you worked in this industry before?

If your company is running a blog for a particular niche and you wish to find a translator who will be able to keep up with difficult types of texts and technical terms such as medical terms and vocabulary, you should probably not forget to check if your potential employee has worked in this field before.

Even though the translator might be an experienced one, you should make sure that they have experience in your particular field as this will not only help them produce good quality translations but they will also be able to get the job done a lot quicker and more efficiently.

  1. Would you be able to start working right away?

This is a question that can truly help you see in a translator is actually experienced and knows what he’s doing. The only answer you should be expecting at this point is for them to want to take a look at the proposed text and let you know.

A translator who is experienced will know that there are quite a few things to take into consideration before accepting a job, like the complexity of the text and the amount of technical terms in it. You would be better off working with a person who knows what they should look into before accepting a job.

Finding the right professional for your business

Hiring a translator can be difficult if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. If your business is still new and you’re still experimenting with promoting your content to other markets abroad, you won’t have to be looking for strict professionals and you could definitely start working with a translator with a lower rate who probably has less experience.

The more expanded your business is and the more difficult the niche, you will have to keep in mind that working with a professional translator will not only help you make the content that you translate more appealing to the local markets, but you will also be able to keep your content looking professional, free of simple mistakes and as appealing to your customers as possible. The questions mentioned in this article will help you get a better sense of the person you are intending to hire and help you make that final decision.

Top Tips to Master Simultaneous Interpreting

Simultaneous interpreting – a.k.a. the art of orally translating at the same time as someone is speaking. Crucial at conferences and courtrooms, this is likely the most difficult translation skill to master.

Typical translators have a text in front of them and use countless dictionaries and references to provide an accurate text. Simultaneous interpreters, on the other hand, need to listen and translate orally in the next second.

If you want to perfect your simultaneous interpreting skills, here are some tips that might be able to help you out.

  1. Anticipate

Translators aren’t exactly mind readers – but sadly, interpreters have to be. An interpreter has to listen and interpret what the other person is saying – and in this case, the ability to anticipate may come very much in handy.

No one can anticipate right off the bat – but with time, you will get much better at it. Plus, it’s a skill that you can hone even when you are outside of work. Whenever someone is speaking, listen closely to what they are saying – and see if you can anticipate what they are going to say next.

If you are already familiar with the speaker, this can get much easier – but it also depends on how prepared you are on the topic. Before entering a conference or a courtroom, make sure you familiarize yourself with what’s going to be tackled there.

  1. Keep a Sharp Brain

Interpreters don’t have the luxury of zoning off, because if they miss just a single word, they risk not knowing how to interpret the whole thing. Pay close attention to what people are saying and exercise your memory – along with your ability to multitask.

For example, try listening to a speech while you are working on another task – even something as simple as creating your grocery list. Once that is done with, check how much you can remember. It may not be perfect at first, but with time, you will be able to exercise your brain.

  1. Control Your Voice

When you are interpreting, it is crucial that you control the volume of your voice. For instance, if it’s too low, then the people won’t be able to hear you. On the other hand, if it’s too loud, then the original speaker might be overshadowed.

You may be interpreting, but people also need to hear the speaker as well. This way, they will know from their tone whether the speaker is agitated, relaxed, or intense – which can be very important while delivering a speech.

Use a manner of speaking that makes you comfortable – just as long as it’s not too loud or too low. In most cases, practice makes perfect, so it might not hurt to randomly interpret a foreign movie scene every now and again.

  1. Keep Calm

This may be a given, but we can’t repeat this enough times: no matter what the speaker may be saying, you should keep your calm. They may start shouting, speaking too fast, or talking about something that you do not agree with; however, you must remember that your job is to interpret, not to judge.

Stay focused and try to provide a translation that is as accurate as possible. You don’t have to translate it word by word; you just have to deliver the main message, hanging on to the important details.

Still, you might not want to skip whole sentences, just because you don’t feel they are really that important. The speaker added it into the speech for a reason, so cutting off important parts might be seen as a sign of disrespect – and may even cause the people to misinterpret their message.

If the speaker goes on a tangent, don’t let it frustrate you or interrupt your flow. You’ll just be falling behind for no reason, in a circumstance which you could normally easily control.

  1. Understand the Culture

Sure, it’s important to understand the language – but when it comes to interpreting, understanding the culture is just as important. Each culture has its own particular phrases which only their people would understand – so make sure that you are prepared for what’s to come.

If you are studying to become an interpreter, the chances are that you are already interested in language and culture – so this might actually be a fun challenge for you. Look up all the colloquial phrases before your interpreting session, and make sure that your interpretation is as accurate as possible.

Final Thoughts

Being an interpreter can be a lot of work – but at the same time, it is also something that will keep your brain active. It won’t be easy to master the skills; however, with time, you should be able to do it flawlessly. You’ll need a decent amount of practice and a sharp mind – but with this, you’ll be able to deliver the perfect interpretation.

5 Tips for Project Price Negotiation

Negotiating the price range for your work as a writer or a translator comes down to several factors. It’s very difficult to determine what the perfectly reasonable price point is for particular projects.

However, holding onto several ground rules of price negotiation will help you determine the perfect middle ground between your expectations and your client’s resources. Without further ado, I’d like to talk about several tips and pointers for project price negotiation and how you can use them to your benefit as a professional writer.

  1. Set personal expectations

The truth is that no two clients are alike in any regard. Some people have small firms and very limited budgets but high amount of knowledge about the industry. Others might be prepared to pay a fortune for a good copy but don’t have the first clue about what they really need.

This means that you need to manage your expectations per-project basis. Don’t compare clients or projects with what you face today. Create an internal system that works for you personally and stick to it.

Prepare for every client meeting by doing some basic research about them and their recent practices and reviews. This will give you ample ammunition for price negotiation once you sit down and talk.

  1. Ask casual industry questions

It’s often a good idea to break the proverbial ice by chatting about the industry you both work in. Don’t be too direct or pushy but make sure to get a good pulse on how knowledgeable your client really is.

If they are popular and trustworthy in their niche you should be careful not to overestimate your abilities and charge more than you should. However, if they only have a vague idea of what content writing is, you can present yourself as a fair professional with a price point that suits their needs accordingly. It all depends on the scope and complexity of the task at hand, which in turn depends on the expertise of your client and the scope of their brief.

  1. Don’t oversell or undersell

Self-reflection and personal development plays a huge role in the success of a writer. Just like any other predominantly freelance profession, writers need to know how to sell their knowledge to the clients.

Your inner salesperson will have a field day with every client that comes your way since the final price will never turn out the way you expect. Some clients will be ready to pay more while others will do whatever they can to lower your price point to absurdity. Set a personal lower barrier which you are uncomfortable with crossing and refuse anything less than that.

It’s sometimes better to lose a client than to bury yourself with unappreciated work with very little payoff. The same rule applies for overselling your abilities and delivering a half-baked final draft that doesn’t reflect your initial promises. Find the golden middle and stick to it as you develop your writing career.

  1. Talk about the budget – openly

Writers are introverts with polite and calm behavior as a result of their choice of work. However, as difficult as it may seem, your client’s exact budget is an important factor to discuss.

You should talk about the budget your client has allocated for your writing from the get-go before working out the details of your content. There is no point in discussing further cooperation if your client isn’t willing to pay for the work they are asking you to do.

After all, your livelihood and monthly revenue directly relates to how much you make from each writing project. Be polite and professional but ask about the budget before you start putting in the hours.

  1. Per hour VS per project

The general consensus of whether you should charge per hour or per project often falls on the latter choice. However, it all depends on how much work there really is when it comes to a specific project.

Copywriting projects tend to take less time but make far more money for your clients than article pieces would. In contrast, the very same articles take far more time to write but should be charged for per hour or per word due to their complexity.

If you sense that there are a lot of hours needed to finish a project properly you can charge your client per hour. Otherwise, stick to per project pricing model and set clear budgets from the get go.

Every word matters (Conclusion)

It can be easy to devalue your own work when it comes to writing, design or other creative niches. However, don’t lose sight of your expertise, professional development and personal dedication to the industry. Every project you finish effectively raises your ability to charge more for your work. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you.