Working with a Specialist

Depending on your text, there may be times when any good generalist translator can handle it. However, it is worth thinking long term. Is this just a one-off or could you need translation services again? If the latter, you obviously want to go back to the same professional next time if possible, so it may be a better idea to find a language partner who specialises in your field right from the start in case more demanding documents come up on your translation agenda.

Apart from terminology and style, a specialist also has knowledge of your market, the industry’s standards and the best resources for their own research. They will not send strings of basic questions your way, or hazard a guess as some less professional individuals might do. They may even be able to spot a mistake that has slipped in or ask questions to clarify an ambiguity that might not have occurred to you, thus giving you the opportunity to improve your original text.

Additionally, because a specialist translator will often have hands-on experience in your field thanks to a previous career, communication will be all the easier for working with a like-minded person. A translator familiar with your area of work could also be in a better position to recommend colleagues working in the same field but in other language pairs, saving you the leg work should you ever have a multilingual project.

While it may be tempting to hire the first translator available for your job – or worse, the cheapest, it is worth searching for a professional working mainly in your field. Both the quality of the translation and the working relationship will benefit from it. In the UK, you can source qualified professionals by specialisms from the CIOL’s and the ITI’s directories.

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