How to hire translators
In an increasingly globalized society, the ability to translate information from one language to another has never been more valuable. If you want to take advantage of greater access to markets across the globe, a translator can help you expand the reach of your marketing collateral.
How to shortlist translation professionals
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台In an increasingly globalized society, the ability to translate information from one language to another has never been more valuable. If you want to take advantage of greater access to markets across the globe, a translator can help you expand the reach of your marketing collateral.
- Industry fit. You want a translator who understands your industry so they can help you figure out how best to reach your target market.
- Communication. You want a translator who can accurately convey your message to your target audience.
- Feeback.Check reviews from past clients for glowing testimonials or red flags that can tell you what it’s like to work with a particular translator.
How to write an effective translator job post
With a clear picture of your ideal translator in mind, it’s time to write that job post. Although you don’t need a full job description as you would when hiring an employee, aim to provide enough detail for a contractor to know if they’re the right fit for the project.
The first thing you should nail down is what you need the translator to do. Be as specific as possible about the project, and try and answer the following questions.
- What are you translating? Be specific about the content you are translating, whether it’s software localization, your website, technical instructions or training manuals, video, or marketing materials.
- Are there any graphics related to your content that needs translation?
- What language combination do you require?
- Define your audience.
- Explain the tone and voice.
- Do you have a glossary or style guide?
- If you’re localizing software, is testing required?
- How will the content be published and distributed? Describe the finished product, including how it will be delivered to the audience—video, PDF, ebook, etc.
- Do you require proofreading?
Then, an effective translation job post should include:
- Scope of work: From transcribing audio files to localizing your website, list all the deliverables you’ll need.
- Project length: Your job post should indicate whether this is a smaller or larger project.
- Background: If you prefer experience working with certain industries, software, or media, mention this here.
- Budget:Set a budget and note your preference for hourly rates vs. fixed-price contracts.
Ready to use translation to expand your business to new markets and cultures? Log in and post your translation job on Upwork today.
What does a translator do?
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台A translator does much more than translate a sentence from one language to another—which is why it’s often necessary to engage a human translator despite advances in automation and natural language processing. It’s rare that a translated document, webpage or even social media post ends up as a mirror image of its source. That’s because more goes into translating than trading out one word for another. These skilled linguists creatively adapt concepts, phrases, and tone, and can make recommendations about layouts, design choices, related keywords, or edits for clarity and relevance.
Why hire translators?
Is your business moving into new markets around the world? Are you localizing your website and content so that it performs better with audiences in other countries? For your translated content to resonate and connect with your new audience, quality is key.
Translators are valuable for a wide range of projects, which can require them to have expertise with more complex topics, regulated industries such as healthcare, law, and finance, and complex technical topics like manufacturing and software development. Often, these types of translations can be so technical that even a professor in that language would be unable to successfully translate the material. It’s all about marrying fluency in a language with fluency in a particular field.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Translators can be critical investments for brands expanding into foreign markets. The skill and expertise of the individual you engage have the potential to directly impact your success. So what can you expect to pay for your project? Let’s break down some key factors to help you more accurately estimate the cost to engage a freelance translator for your business.
How much does it cost to hire a translator?
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台How much should you expect to pay for your translation project? And what if your content is more complex than cut-and-dry, low reading level material? Here’s a framework for determining which level of translator you’ll need and how you can estimate your budget.
Cost Factor #1: Scope of your translation projectThe first contributing factor to the cost of your translation project will be the volume of text you’re having translated. Translation takes time and patience to get right, so if you’re tackling a massive website, a large inventory of product descriptions, or hundreds of articles for a content marketing campaign, be prepared to spend more.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Even if a translation project is seemingly very straightforward—without technical terminology or tricky tone considerations—high-volume projects should be budgeted for and scheduled to allow for extra proofing time.
Tip: With large projects, it helps to go in with a plan and a structure for the translator to label, organize, and submit translated content. It can be arduous to sift through pages of copy, determine text types (headers, footnotes, technical notes, etc.) then reproduce a translated, mirror-image document. Spend the time and effort to create a method or system for the translator to submit the deliverables, so you’re not sorting through them on the back end.
Cost Factor #2: Target language2020欧洲杯体育投注平台It’s no secret that some languages are more widely spoken and understood than others. The most widely spoken languages from some of the largest economies include German, Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Spanish, and Portuguese, to name a few. As a result, there are far more available translators for these languages, and also more accessibility to accurate machine translation which can in some cases preclude the need for a translator. This all leads to widespread availability and more competitive rates.
However, if you need a translation of a rare or particularly difficult language, you might see translators charge higher rates for that specialized expertise. Native language speakers from smaller countries are harder to come by, and smaller populations naturally lead to fewer translators. Because there’s less competition and more demand, these professionals can often charge a higher rate. Not to mention, these languages are also more difficult to apply any level of machine translation to, so almost always require a human.
Cost Factor #3: Specialized experience and expertise requiredMore than any other factor, the skill and experience level your content requires will determine rate. Even for a skilled native speaker, translating highly technical content can be uniquely challenging and require vocabulary specifically related to that subject matter. Expect to budget more for translation of content that’s related to software development, manufacturing, healthcare, legal, or financial industries. In some cases, you might even find a bilingual contractor whose primary profession is within that industry but translates content related to that field as a side business.
Similarly, if you need other experience to supplement your translation project—say, SEO and keyword experience to help you optimize a localized website—that will potentially incur more cost. If you are localizing software or APIs, your translator will need to know how developers interact with your UI so they’re translating the appropriate instructions.
Typical Rates Charged by Translators*
|Type of Translator||Average Hourly Rate|
|Popular Languages (Chinese, Spanish, German, Japanese, etc.)||$15-30+|
|Niche Languages (Swedish, Korean, Finnish, etc.)||$20-35+|
|Specialists (Marketing, Copywriting, Technical, Industry)/More Experienced||$35-45+|
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台*Reflect rates charged by contractors on Upwork in North America with over 1,000 hours and 90% success rate.
10 Common Translation Mistakes to Avoid
Translation can be easy to take for granted these days, with the availability of mobile apps that promise to make communicating in a foreign country a cinch, and Google Translate on hand to automate translation in a click. However, it’s rarely that simple. Translation is an art that skilled translators work hard to acquire
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台If you’re planning to translate content or localize your website, be wary of these 10 common mistakes before you get started.
1. Translating content verbatim from a source language to a target language
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台This is a surefire way to let blunders sneak into your translation. Even though words may be correctly translated, it’s important to know that different languages have different syntax, sentence structure, and subject-object agreement. The key is paying attention to syntactical nuances, the etymology of words, and phraseology between languages.
2. Failing to interpret intent behind language
Missing the intent behind a translation can have big implications. While the translation might be technically correct, the nuance of intent can completely change the meaning of a sentence from one language to another. In some cases, this mistake has escalated tensions between countries bringing them the brink of war, but more often than not it leads to an awkward translation that doesn’t make sense.
3. Assuming english (U.S.) to english (U.K.) is going to be mirror image
The differences may be subtle, but they’re important. For example, large online retailers often have copy departments dedicated to product descriptions just for their U.K. market. Even though you’re essentially speaking the same language, when it comes to reading, there are often spelling differences and phrases that would stand out as starkly American to a British person—words like “favorite/favourite,” and common descriptions like “to the reverse” instead of “at the back.” The devil is in the details, too—some common words (even words to describe parts of an item of clothing) in the U.S. can be offensive slang words across the pond.
4. Not having translated content proofed by a native language speaker
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台The easiest way to comb your translated content for lost intention or awkward phrases is to have a native language speaker proof it. Allowing time in your project for a final proofing phase is a good idea regardless of translation, but when you’re pushing content out into the world in a language you don’t understand, it’s best to be certain it’s not missing the mark.
5. Not creating a glossary or translation memory (TM) database as you go
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Get the most bang for your buck by creating a glossary of translated terms as you go—something your translator can do in addition to their work. Have your translator write down terms that you often use, words that stood out, or phrases that were a bit more complicated to get right. That way, you’re making life easier for future translators, ensuring more consistency, and hopefully reducing room for error.
6. Translating text without paying attention to style or tone
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Imagine how difficult translating a poem would be, and you’re starting to gather how complicated and nuanced nailing tone can be. You might be strictly speaking about the types of words your translator chooses. For example, a casual article shouldn’t be translated with a lot of flourishes, or overly difficult words, a common thing someone who wields a thesaurus too bravely might do. Or, you might be talking about the overall gist of a book or script. How it reads can ultimately be as important as what is being read.
This mistake isn’t limited to marketing content or literary works, either. An entire article can be misinterpreted if the tone is off. Say a casual document speculating about weather trends is translated with a very formal, authoritative tone. All of a sudden, the reader might take the situation to be much dire than it is, and assume a global storm is imminent.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Always mind the tone, and make sure you’re communicating your intent clearly with your translation specialist.
7. Assuming knowledge of the language automatically equals skilled translation
Consider this: Even professors who teach a foreign language for a living can make mistakes translating documents. Knowing how to speak two different languages doesn’t automatically qualify someone to translate between the two, contrary to what you might think. Translation is truly an art form and requires learned creativity and plenty of experience to do well.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台For certain types of translations—highly technical content, medical and scientific translation, or other regulated industries—knowledge of a language is only half of the requirement. You’re also looking for someone skilled in that industry or field. For marketing translation, you might require more cultural knowledge to resonate with that audience—for example, knowing about religious holidays, political news, or pop culture.
8. Thinking languages never change or evolve
New words are added to the dictionary every year—and not just in the English language. Translators are professional students of the languages they learn, staying up to date on new words, trends, and evolutions of language.
9. Ignoring “untranslatable” words or native colloquial sayings
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台This is a common problem when using slang, common sayings, or catchy taglines. They might work in one language, but fall flat in another. Your best bet is to have a native language speaker proof it to make sure your meaning carries over to your target language. Or else, you might end up like HSBC bank whose rebranded tagline “Assume Nothing” becomes “Do Nothing” in another country.
10. Assuming numbers are just numbers, no matter the language
Pay close attention to figures, stats, and any translation of numerical information like currency, dates, times, drug doses, and the metric system (weights, distances, temperatures, etc.). It might seem like numbers are numbers no matter who’s reading them, but their formats can vary from country to country, and the language surrounding them might affect their interpretation.