What do we look for in a good translator?

June 5, 2014 by totalityservices

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When you need translation work done, it's vital that you employ the right person for the job. 

Not only will you require your translation to be done to an impeccable standard, but you need to know that it will be done by the right deadline, as for a great number of projects – for example, financial and legal translation – timeliness is of the utmost importance. 

We understand this, which is why we take great care selecting and monitoring our translators to ensure we have the best possible talent pool at our disposal to entrust with your projects.

Professional skills

It goes without saying that we only use translators with immaculate linguistic skills. Typically, a top-quality translator will only ever translate into a language they would consider to be their mother tongue. It's not enough to translate into one for which they only have an exceptionally high level of proficiency. Sure, they may be able to produce a commendable translation that does not contain any mistakes, but when it comes to word choice, grammar and syntax, there really is no substitute for a native speaker. This may not be as much of an issue for more technical and predefined pieces of work, such as product instruction manuals, but when it comes to more subjective ones, such as literary translation, this is of paramount importance.

Another indication of whether or not a translator will be up to the mark professionally is to consider how much experience they have in the field of translation and what kind of experience that is. If they have a number of years under their belt of translating documents in a particular sector for reputable organisations, this is a good sign they know what they're doing when it comes to the same kind of work.

To this end, we require at least five years of experience from our translators in both the translation industry and the area of expertise for which they are advertising their services. We also ensure that our freelancers are regularly tested to ensure their work remains of a consistently high professional standard.

Personal qualities

Once we are confident that a translator has all of the necessary linguistic and technical competences to carry out the work, we can also look for certain personality traits, which can in fact have as much of an impact on the likelihood of them doing a job well as their language abilities. We are also wary of any warning signs that might reveal a translator is not up to our standards.

When an individual assigns a project to a translator, they will agree on a price and a deadline, among other things. Once this is done, should the translator get back in touch with them a short while later and try to amend any of these variables, they should be wary. This suggests the translator has not reviewed the document in full or that they did not fully consider the task at hand when agreeing to a deadline or price. This would instantly set our alarm bells ringing as it would indicate they are not dedicating the due attention and diligence to a project that it deserves.

Another trait that is vital for a translator is impeccable time management skills. If they are working as a freelancer, as is often the case in the translation profession, chances are they have other projects on the go at the same time. If they are not able to manage their time adequately, this is when they will fall behind or rush jobs. Therefore, another warning sign for us would be if we suspected a translator to be a little scatty or disorganised. By the time they have forgotten a particular project, rushed it and delivered a second-rate job, it would be too late. While they might agree to redo the work, the deadline would have already been missed. All of our translators, therefore, are required to display excellent organisational and time management skills. 

Third-party accreditation

One way of ensuring that your translator ticks all of the boxes is to hear it from someone who has had it proved that they really know what they are talking about. 

At Rosetta Translation, we are accredited with ISO quality assurance and are also a member of the Association of Translation Companies (UK) and American Translators Association (US). What's more, we use freelance translators who are themselves accredited by bodies such as the Institute of Translation & Interpreting – more commonly referred to in the industry as the ITI. 

If they – and we – have been stamped with the seal of approval from recognised and respected industry organisations, you can be certain that your work is in very safe hands indeed.

Written by Chan Sumray

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Andreea Mohan

Taylor Wessing LLP

We are very pleased with the services provided by Rosetta Translations. They always send very prompt responses, transparent prices and deliver their work product at the highest standards.

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Jackie Brook, Sr Product Manager

American Express

Thank you very much for your prompt and efficient service.

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Conor McLarnon

Maximus Crushing and Screening

I have translated multiple projects with Rosetta now and I cannot emphasise how great the service they provide is; quality, turnaround time and pricing is the best I have found yet. The qualities of translations we receive are of the highest standard and communication from the start of a project to the end is consistent.

For a company looking into translations, I would highly recommend Rosetta as first pick, as the support and service they provide is first class.

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