Sherlock Holmes looks for a good translator

How do you find a good translator?

First and foremost, your translator should be a native speaker of the “target language,” the language being translated into. For example, if your English material is being translated into Spanish, then Spanish is your “target language” and the translator should be a native Spanish speaker. Never compromise on this. We don’t. All of International Contact’s translators are native speakers of the languages they translate. No one can handle the subtleties of a second language the way they can in their mother tongue.

Even being a native speaker may not be enough—how often does your translator visit home? The world is changing at an ever-increasing pace, and new terminologies can barely keep pace with the technologies they describe, affecting how we talk about everything from high-tech to bicycles. So it’s important your translator keeps in touch with events back home.

Be suspicious of translators working in a large number of language combinations, especially when they claim to be competent in several target languages.

You may want a translator who is specialized in a particular field – law, medicine, etc. – someone with a better grasp on the terminology of that field than someone off the street,

It’s important to remember that knowing two languages does not make someone a translator. Good translators are also good writers, and good writing is a skill—even in English! Someone who translates good instruction manuals may be totally unsuitable for writing advertising copy in that language.

Where to Look?

A good place to start looking for a translator is through professional translator associations, such as the International Federation of Translators (FIT)The American Translators’ Association (ATA), or The Northern California Translators’ Association (NCTA).

International Contact works with translators in all these associations, and more. We recruit, test, and train all our translators, editors, proofreaders, directors and talent. We work with qualified translators both locally and globally.