5 Factors to Keep in Mind When Hiring a Freelance Translator

You’ve probably noticed that more businesses are scurrying toward globalization than freelance translationever before. Technology has allowed e-commerce to reach every corner of the world. But did you know that over 90 percent of internet users reside outside of North America?  And that 75 percent of them search for products and services in a language other than English?

If your business hasn’t yet expanded into other countries, these percentages represent an enormous untapped market. However, international communication can be challenging. If you’ve decided it’s time to broaden the reach of your business to a foreign market, you’ll naturally want to find a professional translation agency or a freelance translator to assist you.

Whether you need specialist legal translation, audio translation or market research translation, before you hire a freelance translator for your project, here are a few important factors to consider:

1. Specialization

Just as writers specialize in different areas of interest, professional translators have areas of focus in which they excel. You can find freelancers providing translation services for marketing, business, health, technology, and many other areas. Finding a good translation freelancer who specializes in your industry can provide a seamless experience when you need to translate documents or multimedia into another language.

2. Technological Expertise

Translation companies use numerous technologies and these are crucial to achieving high-quality results. CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools include various software platforms and apps that aid in producing accurate translations. A good freelancer will not only be familiar with these tools, but proficient at using them.

While using CAT tools enhances the speed and accuracy of the translation,  note that these technologies are interactive and intended to be used by a human translator. Machine translation is not at a point yet where you can rely on it, especially for professional purposes. Have you ever used Google to translate a page for you from another language? The results are rudimentary at best, and a far cry from the accuracy required for a business document.

There’s no denying that auto-translation apps have come a long way, but they are no substitute for the services of a professional translator. Indeed, they have the potential to cause embarrassing and potentially costly blunders if you rely on them alone.

3. Multi-Media Translation

If you’re looking for someone to assist you with video or audio translation, the translator will have to both transcribe and translate the entire file. There are plenty of freelance professionals who are adept at working on these more complex and time-consuming projects.

If this is the area of focus that you need, be sure to choose a freelancer who is familiar with time stamping, subtitling, and all the tools and technologies used to accomplish these tasks.

4. Localization Services

While translation services convert information from one language to another, localization goes a step further and should always be considered as part of your translation strategy. Localization adapts the content to the culture of the target audience. Content that is tailored to your demographic in this way immediately establishes trust by illustrating that you are committed to understanding your audience.

Even in places where a language is shared, regional dialogues, accents and slang will vary. This can be observed within the US and all over the world. A website localization expert with first-hand knowledge of the customs and culture of your target audience can refine these variables and help create a pleasant experience. Perhaps even more importantly, they will ensure you don’t accidentally offend potential customers.

In 2014, the Common Sense Advisory surveyed 3,200 people in 10 different countries. It found that the majority of respondents preferred to read content in their mother tongue. A full 56 % of these people said that this was more important to them than the price of a product! People are simply more comfortable making a purchase or conducting a business deal online when they are confident that they will fully understand the information and that the company will be sensitive to, and understanding of, their needs.

5. Expectations and Deadlines

Lastly, it’s important to be precise about your needs and ensure that you and your translation expert are on the same page regarding deadlines, milestones and the scope of your project. Frustrations are often the results of unclear expectations and can be avoided by asking the right questions before you get started for greater clarity. Speed, price and availability should be something you and your potential freelance translator come to terms with before hiring.

Getting onboard with the explosive growth of global e-commerce will require translating your media into the preferred language of your target market. A translation agency or freelance translator with solid specialized, technical and localization skills will provide an invaluable boost in your emerging overseas business market.

Louise Taylor

Writer at Tomedes
Louise Taylor is a professional writer with a flair for languages. She is head of content for Tomedes, a translation agency specializing in business translation and localization services.
Louise Taylor

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