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10 tips to hiring a reliable translator

The smart way to make your first step to opening new markets

You worked hard to grow your business and you feel proud of your achievements.

It is time to make a critical decision. You can either keep your business from reaching foreign markets, or outsource handling documentation and other critical content to translators and linguists and provide more visibility for your products and services in new markets and regions.

It can be a difficult decision to go ahead and bring in translators. After all, you’ve poured yourself into the business and you really don’t want to take a chance on someone else messing it up.

So here are some smart tips to hiring a translator.

1. Understand that building relationship with your translator takes time. You need to get to know your translator and he needs to get to know you to determine if you can work with each other.

2. Ask your colleagues or seek information online before you hire your translator. A great recommendation will go a long way towards insuring that you’re hiring a translator who adds value to your business.

3. Neither being a native speaker nor having a degree in linguistics makes someone a translator. Translation is a profession which needs a special set of skills and experience. Does your potential translator have actual experience working as a translator? A good sign is if he has been working as a full time linguist for at least three years.

4. Do not be tempted to hire a translator because they’re cheap. Initially it will cost more but someone with expertise in the areas you need will benefit you in the long run. Do not forget: if you pay beans, you get monkeys.

5. References will give you lots of information about a translator you are thinking of hiring. Ask the translator for references and also seek recommendations online. If you find great reviews, you are ready for the next step.

6. Check the potential translator’s portfolio and website. If his own site is not up to your standards and does not look professional, chances are, his work will not be either. Ask if he his a website on his own, and also check him on LinkedIn as well as translators’ portals like ProZ and TranslatorsCafé.

ProZ.com is a website targeting freelance translators. Founded in 1999, it is mainly used for posting and responding to translation job offers. The site features a virtual community of translators and registered users are able to broadcast their professional identity as translators.

TranslatorsCafé.com is the second in the segment of translation websites, offering similar services and features as ProZ.com The choice of its name could be a reference to the old joke that translators has an unique metabolism, converting coffee into translated text.

7. Offering a trial project is one good way to tell if a translator is trustworthy. Contract him to do one small project and see how he handles it. If it takes more than expected to finish it and the results are not satisfying, he may not be a good fit. It’s a good sign if he responds within a couple of hours and delivers the test translation within one day.

8. It’s very important that you agree in all terms beforehand. Include the amount he will be paid, allowances for increases in rates later on, a point at which the contract will be re-evaluated and specific instructions on what will happen if either one of you wants out of the agreement. Also, include a confidentiality clause.

9. Excellent communication is necessary for a good relationship with your translator. Make sure that you provide clear instructions and that your translator understands your expectations. If a mistake does happen or there is a miscommunication, review the situation with your translator so that both of you understand what went wrong.

10. You should evaluate all of the translator’s work. The only way you’ll be able to ensure your company’s quality is to review the work yourself (unless, you’ve hired someone to work as a project manager and that person knows exactly what you’re looking for).

Work directly with your professional Hungarian translator!

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