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.

Translation VS Localization in Today’s Global Market

Content writing has become a pivotal factor in marketing new products and services on the global market. With so many brands and seemingly endless array of choices on the market, customers have a hard time choosing what’s best for them.

When it comes to the marketing side of things, companies usually have two choices at their disposal – translation and localization. Taking into consideration that 90% of Europeans rarely browse pages in languages other than their own (or even make purchases), it’s easy to see the appeal of pushing into a global market.

Choosing one or the other can cause an avalanche of new customers to flock around your brand or for you to lose tremendous amounts of resources and revenue. What exactly is the difference and importance of choice between translation and localization in today’s global and digital market?

What’s the difference?

  • Translation

We are all familiar with the term “translation” by now. In short, translation represents direct interpretation of information in one language and transforming it into another.

There is no room for improvisation, missed information or any additions in translation writing. The writers are not allowed to make any changes, cut any corners or basically “think” while they work on their projects.

This type of writing is viable for technical documentation, legal documents, medical files, engineering sheets, etc. Some niches have particular lingo, phrases and terminology that others don’t and have to be followed through to the letter.

  • Localization

On the other side of the spectrum we have localization – and this is where things get complicated (and interesting). Localization represents a type of interpretation of the original writing without having to translate text word for word.

This means that the writers are able to be more creative and take liberties with their writing (on the condition that they are familiar with the target language’s specific culture). Localization takes local culture, beliefs, moral code and civil history into consideration.

It is a very viable type of translation when it comes to blogs, non-scientific writing, film media subtitling and other non-academic writing forms. Choosing one or the other can have far-reaching consequences on the perception of your business in that specific language.

Which one do you need?

  • Type of content

Before anything else, make sure that you are clear on the type of content you are about to market internationally. If you are translating your company website into other languages, don’t localize anything. If you are pushing through to new markets with your products and expect sales and revenue streams – localize your content.

As you can see, the type of content you are about to push forward directly dictates the type of writing you will have to employ. Use logic and reason as well as the advice of your translation expert or marketing team before making the final call.

  • Specific international regions

No two regions are alike when it comes to the choice of translation VS localization. For example, China has a large demographic with very different set of content expectations in the North as opposed to the South. Japanese people have a very different culture and ideology as opposed to Vietnamese, Korean or Australian audiences.

Don’t generalize regions based on their continents and vicinity of each country to one another. Take cultural factors into consideration as it is often smarter to opt for localization in these circumstances. That way you will ensure that no party is offended or threatened by your product, service or web content due to cultural differences.

  • Target demographic

Translating or localizing your content for youth and millennials isn’t the same as creating content for industry professionals. As you can see, the factors that should be taken into consideration always come back to your own content and what it is you are actually translating or localizing.

Younger generations are far more lenient towards localization mistakes or translation misunderstandings than their older counterparts. If you mistranslate important web content which can cost you clients and support in a certain region, you will have effectively failed in that market.

The bottom line

The choice between translation and localization isn’t an easy one. This is mostly due to the fact that any mistakes usually end up going viral on the internet which can hurt your reputation and standing in the industry.

Pay close attention to your competitors’ choices in this matter and do proper research about the countries you are preparing content for. Rushing into a marketing campaign blindly will likely result in a negative outcome. Choose your content optimization option wisely.

5 Effective Tools for Professional Interpretation

While the market is full of tools for translators which keep improving and expanding all the time, interpreters might be left wondering exactly what of all of these they can use for their own work. Some might say that the interpreting industry has a weird relationship with technology but there are many tools and technologies which are being created in order to help interpreters make their jobs a little easier.

If you’re one of those people who don’t really do well with adding tools and apps into their everyday work but wish to see if there is a way for them to use them to their advantage. Here are some of the simplest yet very effective tools which might just make a professional interpreter’s work just a little easier.

  1. Interplex lite

This simple app allows its users to view the Interplex glossary databases on their iPhones, iPads and even Mac and Windows computers and it offers the user a sample database which comes with Interplex. This app offers a fast and easy to use search feature which allows word searches in many different languages and can help you start learning how to use it fast and efficiently on your computer and then migrate to a mobile device, making it a lot easier to use on the go and in times of need.

  1. Sounds: The pronunciation app

This great tool was created based on the book “Sound Foundations” by pronunciation expert Adrian Underhill and was designed in order to help those who interpret in English. Not only will you be able to study the Phonemic Chart in both UK and US English but you will also be able to record your own pronunciations of words in order to make a comparison and keep improving. There are also plenty or activities like fun quizzes to help you further improve your pronunciation.

  1. Duolingo

No matter how well you know a language, there are always times where you need to practice your skills a little bit and can’t find the best way to do so. This great language app can truly help you learn any language through a plethora of fun activities. The best thing about it is that it will often ask you to pronounce a word or translate a sentence through the microphone, something that can be especially helpful for both translators and interpreters equally.

  1. Word Reference

One of the best and most valuable online databases of multilingual dictionaries definitely has to be Word Reference. Not only does this powerful dictionary provide quick translations of English, Spanish, and Italian words into European and Asian languages, it also offers the possibility for you to get involved in forums on translation and the English language and further expand your skills and knowledge.

  1. Listening Drill

Last but not least, if you’re looking for a foreign language practice drill which will allow you to import all sorts of files, from TED Talks to audio books and find the right subtitles in all sorts of languages and allow you to practice your language skills and listen to the ways certain native words and phrases are translated into other languages. There is a paid and a free version, so you can start slow and then upgrade to the paid version which will allow you to have bilingual subtitles on a video of your choice.

Finding the right tool for your needs

If you are just staring to use more tools and apps for your interpretation needs, or you are new to this industry, these apps and tools will be the best introduction for you and will definitely help you start to understand how you can use technology to your advantage. Translators usually always have both online and offline tools which they use in order to make their job a lot easier and themselves a lot more productive and that can be the case for interpreters too if they use the right tools.

The secret here is to start slow and learn how to use these simple tools in order to get the best results. Whether you need to freshen up your language skills or need to improve your pronunciation, these tools will definitely have your back at any time and help you make your work a lot more professional. Which one of these tools are you most excited to give a try?