As more and more businesses are trying to take their products and services global, many are turning to translators to work on their websites, social media campaigns, assist with business documents, etc.
A great human translator can make all the difference when you’re trying to introduce your brand to a new market. However, one part of this process that can be tricky is finding a great translator who will be able to effectively convey your message to your chosen audience. With many unqualified individuals calling themselves translators, how can you find the perfect human translator who will take your international marketing campaign to the next level? Here are a few tips to narrow your search.
Check Their Credentials
It is a common myth that simply being bilingual qualifies someone to work as a translator. Nothing could be further from the truth. You need an expert who writes and speaks well in both English and the language of your target audience—someone who can translate not only your words but also the feeling behind your brand. Think about what you do if you need a piece of excellent copy written in English. You don’t just hire anyone who can speak English well; you hire someone who can write in an engaging and grammatically correct manner—someone who can draw in your desired audience. Why would you lower your standards when you’re reaching out to your new audience? In fact, you should be even more careful since a misunderstanding of culture or even a phrase could create a poor image for your business, in your new market. So, how can you check the credentials of a potential translator? Well, this is where it can get tricky. There is no one set credential for translators, but you can look for certifications from organizations such as the American Translators Association. While these credentials cannot guarantee excellent work, they do at least ensure your translator has a grasp of the langue you want to work with. However, you cannot rely on simple credentials alone, which brings us to the next point.
Ask for Samples of Their Work
A good translator should have a portfolio of their best work available to share with you. You will want to look at samples to see what kind of work they have done before and see if they are familiar with the type of work you need. For example, if you are trying to find someone to translate your website, it is important to not only find an experienced translator, but to find a translator who knows how to write great web copy and optimize it for SEO search terms in the language of your chosen audience. If the translator cannot do this, you will be wasting your time, since the quality of the copy will not matter if no one is reading it, because it is not showing up in search results. The key here is to not just find a translator with experience and samples, but to find one with experience and samples in the type of work you need to be done.
Get a Recommendation
See if your translator has recommendations from previous similar clients. This is important for several reasons. First, it shows that the translator is not only an expert in the language you need, he/she also knows how to work well with clients. Second, if you are trying to launch something like a marketing campaign in another country, this will give you an idea of how much success this translator has had in the past with the type of result you need. Going back to the website example, if you need a website that search engine optimized in the language you need, then you will want to know what kind of results the translator has had before on similar project. Has his or her previous web copy been well ranked in its language? Did the social marketing campaigns he or she translated take off, or fall flat? Knowing these things now can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Explain to Them What Your Goals Are
The last thing to do before hiring a translator for your project is to talk to them honestly about your goals. Are you trying to write an air-tight contract for a business deal? Start a successful social media campaign? Launch a website? Write some great product descriptions in your new market’s language? The first thing you need to do is to figure out exactly what results you are looking for. Then you can describe this to your potential translator and let him/her decide if they feel like they can help you accomplish that goal. If you are not specific in telling a translator exactly what you need, it is not their fault if the project somehow drifts off course.