MacPherson Language Institute

Not sure if this is for you?

Give it a shot for free!

One of our professional teachers will come to you and let you see first-hand how much fun learning a language can be! Sign up now!

Free Trial

On Point: Hiring A Translator

Category: Translation | 2017-02-23

5 Things You Need To Know When Hiring A Translator

Michael Jordan is most likely the best basketball player the world will ever see. However, I would never hire him to write code for my website. The same logic should stand to reason when hiring a translator. The most important thing of all, is having the right person for the job.

The right translator needs to check certain boxes before you invest your money to hire them. Firstly, they absolutely need to be a native speaker in the target language, no ifs ands or buts about it! Furthermore, they need to have a working knowledge of the content. And finally, they need to have training and experience in the field. 



hiring a translator, check mark, MacPherson Language Institute

Find out these 5 things before hiring a translator:


1. What type of text do you need to translate?

Are you translating your website? Is it an internal document meant only for a handful of employees? Or is it a marketing text aimed at the public? This is a key point to consider when choosing a translation service. Perhaps the team that translated your previous technical handbook did a great job. That does not mean they are qualified to look after your website. The last thing you want is an engineer working on your legal documents.

You need to be aware of what type of text you want translated and who will be taking care of your message. For creative texts like web copy or marketing projects, you need a translator who is comfortable leaving the direct translation behind. The idioms, puns and catchy phrases of one language almost certainly do not work in another. The translator will have to be willing and able to exercise their creative license to send the right message.

2. Does the translator have knowledge in the topic?

This is also extremely important to consider when hiring a translator. Here, experience is the key. Have they worked in the industry? Have they translated texts on this topic before? Any given word can have a number of “accurate” translations. Take, for example, the German word “sicher”. You could easily translate this as “safe”, “secure”, “sure” or “certain”. But, as you know, these are not all the exactly the same thing. A translator must have a working knowledge of the subject to communicate the message properly. This includes a firm grasp on the industry-specific jargon needed to get the idea across clearly and concisely. A great translation does not simply translate the words from one text to another. It completely recreates the message, its feel and all the nuance that comes with it.

3. Who do you intend to reach with your text?

Here, the question is regarding the audience. Is this a “for information” text, or is it “for publication”? Or more simply put, is it for in-house or the public? This is a major factor when deciding what type of translator to choose. If the text is for in-house use, the quality may be sacrificed a little to save on money. However, if it is for public use, this will affect the public profile and perception of the company. Everyone knows that when you read an advertisement or website with obvious spelling or grammar mistakes, respect for the company is lost. Don’t let a few extra dollars in the translation budget change the minds of all your website traffic!

4. Will someone actually look at my translation?

Despite all the advances being made in IT these days, one area that is still lacking is the translation field. You know this. You have typed something into Google translate and seen what came out. It isn’t always pretty! Most professional translating software isn’t much better. The companies that are offering 20 000 words over night at €0,01/word never look at the text with human eyes. And the final product reflects this. Computer translations are indeed fast, cheap and easy. But, like a fine woman, a translation should be none of these things! It is worth the time and money to invest in a quality product.

A good product will need some time, be sure to take it. Ask yourself, how long did it take to produce the original text? This question is one that is almost always overlooked. People spend days, weeks or months creating a great website. Then they expect it translated perfectly in two days. A great translator needs time with the text to capture the mood and the message completely.

5. What is your budget?

Now we get to the heart of the matter… money! For most people, this will, unfortunately be the deciding factor in which translation service they choose. The questions to ask yourself are fairly simple. What is this text worth to you and your business? Will poor quality work affect your bottom line? If you are trying to sell your product the text has to be clear. If the audience has to work to understand the message, or there are mistakes, you will lose sales. Hiring a translator, MacPherson Language Institute

Often people will settle on a happy medium by picking a translator whose prices are in the middle of the pack. Unfortunately, this often results in the worst of both worlds. Low quality and still expensive. Very few, if any, quality translators are willing to drop their prices below the standard because of the time they put into the work. Simply put, if the text is important to you, pay the money and reap the rewards of a quality text.

Where do you go from here?

When you need a translation, remember these questions and look at what is most important. Then, take the time to find the right people for the job. Get a translation service that can provide a native speaker with experience in the relevant field. As a result, your business and reputation will both benefit from this investment.

If you have questions about translation services, contact us on our site at The MacPherson Language Institute. We would love to discuss your concerns and help you find a solution that is right for you.

Let’s hear from you

What are your experiences with translations? Do you rely on google and leo? What is important to you when hiring a translator? Let us know what you think in the comment section below. Is there a topic you would like us to write about next week? We want to hear from you!

If you like what you see and read, please sign up for our monthly newsletter. You will receive our blogs, learning tips, as well as exclusive deals available for members only.


2 thoughts on "On Point: Hiring A Translator"

  1. Great web site you have here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

MacPherson Language Institute

+49 (0) 177 6304469

Free Trial

Translation Services