Translators, like fairy folk, are quietly concealed amidst the wilderness of human civilisation. Yet they are everywhere, ready to shake their magic wand at any text you wish, transmogrifying it into the wonderful language of your choice on demand. And if you know where to look and manage to catch one, they have the alluring power to connect you to many rich and beautiful lands… So where do you find these marvellous creatures?
Google is a dense cyber forest but searching by language and specialism should help you to unearth more relevant results. Be aware that there are directories that may list our services, taking basic information from our websites without our knowing about it, which we have no control of and which could therefore be out of date or simply unreliable. So checking our actual websites is always best.
The Fun and Interactive
Social media offer a relatively narrower area for your hunt. LinkedIn is the obvious starting point, but if you have not ventured into the LinkedIn realm yet, some are also on Facebook and/or have a blog. As much as there are good and bad fairies, however, there are genuine and fake translators. Always check that the specimen you’d discovered is qualified, has a website and/or a consistent online presence, is affiliated to a respectable professional body, etc. Being a native speaker of the target language has never been an adequate qualification to be admitted to the translation world.
Professional bodies for linguists are the easiest and safest place to find a reliable professional as members have their qualifications, experience and references checked and must abide by a professional code of conduct. In the UK, there are two institutes translators can join: the CIOL and the ITI. This is typically where most of us meet, connect and team up, so if you locate and follow one of us, you could be introduced to many members of the community.
Many translators have had former lives as lawyers, chemistry lecturers or music teachers while others may have two degrees or some other qualification unrelated to languages. Such versatile individuals may therefore be members of organisations representing other professions and be listed in their directory. (For instance, I am a member of the Association of Art Historians and am listed in their Freelance & Independents group directory.) Admittedly few translators seem to join such professional bodies, but those rare few are probably the most knowledgeable and experienced in your field of expertise.
Away from the cyber kingdom, translators are real folk and may visit trade fairs. So if you are exhibiting at a show, be prepared to be approached by a talented linguist working in your industry. If you are a visitor to the show, keep your eavesdropper’s ears tuned…
And the good news is that you don’t have to believe in otherworldly creatures to find us and keep us in your network.