Professional translations: Six tips for customers and clients

What you should take into account when you commission a translation for your company.


1. Use a person, not a machine

Machine translation of texts was not invented by a certain well-known search engine operator. Computational linguistics, as the underlying science is known, can be traced back to the 1960s. The major breakthrough, however, is yet to be achieved, and the programmes that are currently available are at best only suitable as an aid to understanding for those who struggle with foreign languages, or a source of linguistic amusement in dull moments. If you want to make a good impression with your customers , you still need to use the skilled language services of a professional flesh and blood translator.


2. Use professional translators or agencies that only work with professional translators

A professional translator is not just a person who can speak two (or more) languages. Professional translators are authors who produce high-quality texts in the target language. Of course, they are also proficient in their foreign language(s). Yet first and foremost they act as effective bridge builders between the languages they work with. Professional translators are trained and experienced in translating the meaning and the message of a text into their native language using both the appropriate style and accurate terminology.


3. Specify the purpose of your translation

Every text fulfils a specific purpose and is aimed as a specific audience. This information is important for professional translators so that they use the right tone in their translation to have the greatest impact on the target audience.


4. Translators should be native speakers

A professional translator only ever translates into their native language. Translators who break this simple rule will probably disregard other important quality requirements as well. So if you have a text that needs to be translated into German or English, make sure that the translator is a native German or English speaker.


5. Give the supplier enough time

Of course, a professional translator can translate a text into their native language in a relatively short time. However, in order to produce a text that is as high-quality, stylistically pleasing, and persuasive as possible, the translator has to be set a realistic deadline. There are actually companies who invest weeks in producing a highly expressive document, but then expect the translator to come up with an equally expressive translation in a single day.

6. Put together a glossary

It is recommended that you put a glossary together internally and provide the professional translator with it, especially for very technical documents. This ensures that the terminology is consistent in all your texts and documents. In this respect, also consider how valuable it is to build up a long-term relationship with a translator or a translation agency, since the more familiar the translator is with your company and the aims and requirements of your texts, the better the quality of the texts the translator produces for you will be.


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