In recent articles on the Worldly Translations blog, we have started to introduce our readers to the exciting world of our translation career and profession. Although we have taken care to describe the differences between interpreting and translation and have shared our tips for becoming a professional translator, this time instead of talking to our future colleagues we are going to talk to those who are on the other side: the clients who turn to our services.
The work of a professional translator is required for a myriad of reasons, as it enables texts originally written in a language to circulate around the world, crossing all existing linguistic and cultural borders. Therefore, in every corner of the world there is at least one professional translator capable of translating a novel, a scientific article, a legal document, a medical report, a poem, the label of a product, or any other text that needs to be intelligible and broadcasted in another language.
However, when delegating this work to someone there are different aspects to take into account to be sure that you are dealing with a true professional translator. These are the 5 attributes that distinguish the way we do our work, those of us who do it in a passionate, serious and highly responsible way:
1. Delivery times
Both translators who work freelance and those who are part of an agency such as Worldly Translations must comply with delivery dates (the famous deadlines) and respect the commitments we make with our clients.
However, a good way to recognize a professional translator is that they will always give a reasonable time to deliver a text. On average, we translate around 3,000 words a day in an 8-hour workday. Even so, if the text is more complex or requires the use of reference materials, its translation will probably take considerably longer.
Therefore, a professional translator will always deliver their work within reasonable times to do it in the best way.
2. Curiosity and humility
As we have seen, professional translators work on very different texts. Therefore, it is known that no one person can be an expert in absolutely all the topics that we address.
In the case of translation, that the professional consults the client about certain aspects of the text and sends comments to be solved together is a guarantee of trust: those of us who practice this profession responsibly do not take anything for granted.
3. Reference materials
In relation to the above, professional translators have our library (physical or virtual) of reference materials that will facilitate the task of embarking on a specific subject.
Over the years, our library grows along with our experience to face each of the jobs that are presented to us and always succeed.
4. Translations in mother tongue
A good translator always does his work around his mother tongue. For example, a Spanish translator will be the one to translate from Spanish into English and from English into Spanish.
Although translators are passionate about languages and tend to be polyglots for the pleasure of knowing more about the world’s languages, as we have already seen, it is not enough to know a language to be able to translate a text. Therefore, the best bet will always be to choose a native translator.
5. Flexibility and understanding
As in any other job, translators deal with all kinds of clients and different levels of demand. Therefore, a professional translator must be flexible and understanding towards their clients.
Although for issues related to the knowledge and study of the language our point of view must be respected and considered, the truth is that personal values are not outside the universe of professionalism either. Thus, a professional translator must be understanding of the client’s suggestions – as long as they are reasonable – and always be well prepared to answer their questions and concerns.