Before you start working with translators there are several things you should think about.
Have realistic expectations regarding price and deadline
Many clients contact a translator stating the price they’re willing to pay and when they need the translation. But, to quote a price and set a deadline for a translation, the translator needs to see the document to be translated first. Clients often offer rates of €0.03 per word for translation and €0.01 per word for proofreading or editing. Such rates are unrealistic in many western countries.
Many potential clients believe that it’s realistic to expect a translator to produce 10,000 words per day of complex marketing or financial text. Translation memory tools have indeed enabled translators to work faster. However, 3000 words per day is often a more realistic target when producing the quality professional translators aim for.
Understand what you need
Knowing why you need a translator is key to making sure you get the right service.
Are you printing a list of upcoming events in your in-house newsletter? A gist translation providing a summary of the original text is often sufficient.
Are you sending the translation of your annual report to potential investors? Then a polished translation that uses the correct terminology and structure in the appropriate language is required.
Is your hotel trying to attract guests from other countries? Then your website needs to be localised. This involves adapting a translation to a specific country or region, so your would-be guests are comfortable using your website.
Provide the translator with as much information as possible before they start work
Sending your translator a request stating “2000-word legal text for translation from Spanish into English” doesn’t provide enough information. What type of document is the text: a contract, a court deposition? Who will be reading the text: lawyers, their clients, judges? Why do they need the translation: for information purposes, for legal proceedings? The answers to these questions will dictate how and by whom your text is translated. If it isn’t possible for you to answer all these questions, ask your translator to look at the text. They should be able to help you or suggest someone who can.
Following these steps while working with translators will help them to make sure their service meets your exact needs.