Legal, financial and technical translations by a specialist
Increasing globalisation is leading to an increased demand for translations. And there is certainly no lack of translation companies who are happy to meet that demand.
The issue is not a lack of choice, but rather the difficulty of choosing a reliable translation partner who makes you feel like you are in good hands.
Below are some questions designed to help you make that crucial decision.
7 questions you should ask your translator
How long have they been working in their specialist field?
“Frau Rechtsanwältin XY” is how you would address a female solicitor in German. Literally: “Ms. Solicitor XY”. That’s something that anyone can translate, right? Well, take translation into French as an example: “Frau” = “Madame”, “Rechtsanwältin” = “Avocate”, so the translation should be “Madame l’avocate XY”, right? Nope! The correct translation would be “Maître XY, Avocat à la Cour”, and using “Avocate” (the feminine version of “Avocat”) would be considered rude. That’s not something that you learn at university; it’s something you learn “out in the real world”.
How many years has your translator worked in the country where their foreign language is spoken?
A dictionary won’t explain what the “URSSAF” or the “NHS” are. Even online information seldom goes into detail about the differences between healthcare systems in the UK, France and Germany. Therefore, without in-depth knowledge of the country, effective translation is not possible.
Will you be able to contact your translator outside of office hours if it’s really urgent?
You just need a small, last-minute change, but you need it now. The train is about to leave the station. But where is your translator at that moment? Will they make that quick change for you without a fuss?
Can you be sure that the translator you trust is really the one carrying out your translations every time?
Or are you forced to brief a new translator every time because the one you were so satisfied with before is now too busy? Example: you look at the translation and a screw has somehow transformed into a pin and then further down the pin somehow becomes a nail…and the result is that you have to waste your time fixing the translations that were supposed to have been done for you…sound familiar?
Has your translator ever worked on “the other side”—have they ever been in the client’s shoes at a company?
A translator who sticks to their academic ivory tower rather than going out to get practical experience in the field in which they translate has little hope of understanding technical and legal content properly. Simply put, a good translator is one who knows what they are talking about.
Does your translator know the ins and outs of your company?
A translator will never be able to truly understand your internal jargon or your specific needs just by looking at your website. But they will understand what you need if you go to the same person every time—then you can brief that person on new developments as and when needed.
And last but not least: are you actually able to speak to your translator? Directly? With no middlemen?
Let’s say you have some questions about a translation that has been delivered to you. Can you get the answers you need quickly and without a fuss, or is there someone standing in the way of that, preventing direct contact with your translator?