Looking for a translator?

You have an important document to translate and you need to know it will be handled in your best interests by a professional translator.  The first thing you need to be aware of when you are looking for a translator is that it is a free market. There are no rules. You can become a translator tomorrow, if you wish. You don’t speak a foreign language? You only have high school French? Nobody will check!! There are thousands of translators advertising their services on the Internet. How do you choose?! How can you be sure that the translator you’ve chosen is qualified?

Three golden rules for choosing your translator

Does the translator translate into his or her native language?
This is the one of the hallmarks of a professional translator. Language reflexes are picked up at a very early age, so only native speakers can guarantee faultless translations.

Has the translator had formal training in the source language (the language of the text to be translated)?
In order to translate a text, it must be understood. This requires a level of proficiency in the foreign language which cannot be acquired by simply spending a few years in a country where that language is spoken. Someone can have lived in a foreign country for decades and still not speak the language correctly.

Is the translator qualified?
It is possible to have a ‘gift’ for translation. You may be able to find a very good translator, who has been translating for years without a degree in translation, and there may be a few second-rate translators who have managed to scrape through a translation course, but as a general rule it is wise to check if your translator has professional credentials.

When I translate, I have three people in mind.

The author
I am constantly aware of my responsibility towards the person who wrote the original text. I want to be true to the style and the original intention of the writer and communicate the thoughts behind the words.

The reader
I aim to write in such a way that that the reader will be unaware that the document was originally written in another language. Obviously, the cultural references will sometimes betray the fact that the author is French, but I want my readers to be oblivious to the fact that they are reading a translation.

The translator
In other words, myself! I am my own most critical reader and very hard to satisfy! But I strive for perfection…