What Makes an Ideal Translator?

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What Makes an Ideal Translator?

This is a reprint of an article, 8 Tips to Become the Ideal Translator, by Lingotek Senior Localization Project Manager, Romina Castroman, that originally appeared in MultiLingual Magazine.

Tips to become the ideal translator

As a senior localization manager, I spend a lot of time finding and hiring translators for my client’s projects. Over the past 15 years, I’ve discovered that the translators who consistently deliver the highest quality adhere to certain helpful and professional business practices. Whether you hire translators or are a professional linguist yourself, whether you are a new translator or one with many years of experience, incorporating these skills will ensure successful and long-lasting partnerships.

Be responsive

I routinely send out translation quote requests for potential jobs to an extensive network of professional linguists, but many times, I receive no response. As a project manager, this can be very frustrating. A lack of response doesn’t give me the feedback I need to understand why a particular job wasn’t of interest.

The ideal translator is responsive. They will let me know if they are interested in the project and when they might be free to work on it. If the project isn’t a match for their skill set, or if they aren’t available due to work on another project, they will still respond to let me know. When my contacts take the time to reply, even if the answer is “no thanks,” it shows that they are professional, courteous and that they are interested in a future working relationship.

Ask questions

When requesting quotes, I send the name of the client, the industry and the type of content to be translated. The ideal translator will always ask additional, follow-up questions to better understand what the project entails. They will ask about delivery dates, word counts ans so on — any information that will help them do a better job. The best will ask if the client has a style guide, any existing translation memories (TM) or glossaries. By asking questions, they will get the information they need in advance to determine if it is a job that they can complete successfully.

Respect deadlines

Translation can be a very deadline-driven business. That’s why translators who respect my deadlines and my client’s deadlines are ideal. As a project manager, I try to give our linguists plenty of time to complete a project. Managing rush jobs and several different delivery dates can be challenging, so knowing when a project will be completed is key to my ability to manage customer expectations. The best translators respect deadlines and will keep me apprised of their estimated delivery date and will always let me know if they need extra time to finish a project.

Discuss rates in advance

Most linguists have a per-word rate and different rates depending on the subject matter and type of content. It is important to discuss any applicable rates in advance, before committing to do a project. I always include rates in my initial email. The ideal translator will take note of that information and get any clarification they need on payment terms in advance. The ideal translator should also be willing to negotiate or offer discounts based on higher volumes and the consistent work that is available when working for larger clients. Agreeing to a lower rate can pay off by providing more steady work and lead to becoming a go-to resource for a particular client.

Keep in touch

It’s not unusual for project managers and translators to work in different time zones. As a result, it is important to make sure there is a time frame where those hours overlap, in order to communicate about the project in a timely manner. Nothing is more frustrating for a project manager than receiving an Out of Office reply that contains no information on when the recipient will be available. The ideal translator will keep in touch and let me know about any dates they are unavailable, such as local holidays, vacations or when they will be engaged with other projects.

Identify potential translation issues

Translation is not an exact science. Sometimes word choices require the translator to make a judgment call on the best translation. We also know that clients might not necessarily agree with those decisions. The best translators will provide a summary of issues or certain word choice decisions, when the project is delivered, before the client sends it on to their reviewers. This type of proactive, conscientious work is always appreciated and helps to ensure that all parties are communicating to ensure the highest quality.

Be open to feedback

Feedback is important in translation project management. The ideal translator is professional, open to and accepting of feedback. They do not take negative feedback too personally. There are times when a client might insist on a translation that is non-standard. While it is important to bring this to their attention, the client always has the final say. As the adage goes, “the customer is always right.” Remember that the more feedback you receive, the more you learn. That information can be used to update the style guide of client preferences to ensure satisfaction with the final product.

Get certification

When I’m hiring translators, I look for native speakers of the target language(s). It is also important that they are accredited by a globally-recognized translation and interpretation industry organization such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), American Translators Association (ATA), Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT) and so on. The ideal translator will include any certifications they have and display them prominently on their website, profile, and resume. They should also include any subject matter expertise and relevant work history. This makes it easier to have an understanding of their level of qualification for any particular project.

Rise above the competition

Professional translators are facing increasing competition, from each other and from emerging technology that threatens to replace them. Forging long-lasting and financially beneficial relationships with localization project managers and language services providers is key to survival. Becoming the ideal translator is possible with greater communication, attention to detail, professionalism, and being proactive. Translators who adopt these eight business practices will quickly gain a reputation for conscientiousness and quality that will help them stand apart.

Romina Castroman

 

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Centralized File Management Gives You Control Over Your Content
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Lingotek offers a wide range of translation solutions to its customers. Whether you are in the enterprise or federal space, or want our world-class translation services team to take care of your localization for you, Lingotek offers corporate and global translation solutions that are custom tailored for your needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lingotek

Our Company

Lingotek | The Translation Network is a cloud-based translation services provider, offering translation management software and professional linguistic services. We are the leader in collaborative translation technology with an innovative cloud translation management system (TMS) that uses computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools to facilitate faster, more efficient, language translation. Lingotek was the first to introduce cloud-based TMS technology to the United States in 2006 with the launch of a fully online, web-based, computer-assisted translation (CAT) system that pioneered the integration of translation memories (TM) with main-frame powered machine translation (MT). Our multilingual application program interfaces (API) and connectors pair with the industry’s top enterprise applications to automate and integrate the translation process. They include:

  • Content Management Systems (CMS) 
  • Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM)
  • Marketing Automation
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  • Knowledge Bases 
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  • Social Business Software
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Customers can use their own language services providers (LSP) and linguists, or our global network of 5,000+ professional linguists. Lingotek is based in Lehi, Utah in the area known as Silicon Slopes. 

Our History

Lingotek was founded in 2006 and is funded by Signal Peak Ventures and In-Q-Tel

Signal Peak Ventures is a Salt Lake-based venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage technology investments in the Intermountain region. The firm was established as Signal Peak in 2011 after the spin out of Canopy Ventures venture capital team and the acquisition of portfolio investments in ten other companies. The Signal Peak team has extensive experience in sourcing, executing, managing, and divesting venture capital stakes across the Intermountain region. 

In-Q-Tel is a strategic, not-for-profit investment firm that works to identify, adapt, and deliver innovative technology solutions to support the mission of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Launched by the CIA in 1999 as a private, independent organization, In-Q-Tel's mission is to identify and partner with companies developing cutting-edge technologies that serve the national security interests of the United States. Working from an evolving strategic blueprint defining the Intelligence Community's critical technology needs, In-Q-Tel engages with entrepreneurs, growth companies, researchers, and investors to deliver technologies that provide superior capabilities for the CIA and the larger Intelligence Community. 

Our Clients & Partners

Lingotek  works with some of the largest, most innovative companies in the world, in a wide variety of industries and services including government, technology, finance, telecom, travel, and education. Our clients include departments in the U.S. Government and several large Fortune 500 companies. Here are some of the Customers that are trusting their translation processes with the Lingotek Translation Network.

We also work with a growing network of Partners--service providers, digital agencies, open sources technologies, and other strategically selected companies--to meet the unique translation requirements of our customers. 

Industry Recognition & Awards

Comparably Best Company Leadership 2018
Comparably Best Company Managers 2018
Top 100 Companies in the Digital Content Industry - EContent 2017-2018
Comparably Best Company Leadership 2017
Comparably Best Company Culture 2017
Comparably Best Places to Work 2017
Comparable Best CEO - Rob Vandenberg 2017
Utah Business Book of Lists Top Telecom & Technology Software Developers 201
Utah Best in State Language Services 201
Silicon Review List of Inspiring 100 Companies 201
Top 100 Companies in the Digital Content Industry - EContent 201
Top 30 Drupal Contributor 201
Top Translation Services Company 2016 - PFin
Hot in Lehi Award Top Trending Companies - Owle
Top 100 Companies in the Digital Content Industry - EContent 201
Edison Award Finalist 201
CIO Microsoft 100 Solution Providers CIO Review 201
Edison Award Nominee 201
Gartner Cool Vendor of the Year 201
Oracle Gold Partner 201
Stevie Award Best New Product or Service of the Year SaaS Category 201
Most Innovative New Product Utah Valley Entrepreneur Forum 2006

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