Translation has changed a lot over the past few decades and it takes a lot more than language expertise to translate content effectively in 2019. This can make it tricky to hire translators – especially if you are looking for freelancers and you are not entirely sure what you need.
To help clear this up, we are going to look at what you need from professional translators in 2019. So whether you decide to go with an agency or hire your own team, you know exactly what to demand and expect before you start working with anyone.
Quality translation requires more than language skills
Of course, having the right language skills is still the most important requirement for any translator but it is not enough by itself. There has been something of a translation boom over the past couple of decades and this has radically changed the needs of businesses seeking translation services.
- Every industry is a global one: Every industry is in need of translation services at some level now.
- Complexity: This means the range of topics translators deal with has become significantly more diverse.
- Translation technology: Has changed the way translators work and how we think about efficient workflows
- External technology: New technologies have made translation a more technical process.
- Connectivity: Every brand is under a global spotlight thanks to online platforms such as social media.
The internet was certainly a breakthrough for the translation industry. Suddenly, global business had a truly global platform – one that revolves entirely around content. This content needs translating and now a huge number of businesses across every industry need language services.
This is great for those of us in the business but it also means our translators need a broader scope of knowledge. You cannot have a translator who knows nothing about blockchain, translating content about the technology. You need someone with enough knowledge to understand and translate with authority.
This is the first thing you need from a translator: subject knowledge. When you need financial translation, get a specialist financial translator. When you need marketing translation, get an agency with proven experience in translating marketing campaigns. There are no Jack-of-all-trades translators anymore so make sure you get the specialist subject knowledge you need.
Today’s translators need to be tech savvy
The impact of technology upon translation has been huge. We have already talked about the web opening up the business world but it has also changed the nature of how these businesses communicate. We are not translating press releases, letters and posters anymore. We are translating websites, mobile games, apps and online videos on a huge scale and this requires a more tech-savvy kind of translator than ever before.
Today’s localisation teams understand more than the basics of programming, website translators need a practical understanding of how SEO works and social media translators need to work with a range of automation tools and data platforms to get the best results.
Then you have the translation technology side of things, which is completely changing the way translators work. Machine translation is not anywhere close to matching human translators but it is a powerful tool we can use to speed up the translation process and improve the end results.
We also have translation memory, translation memory systems and other technologies that translators need to know how to use for a more effective workflow.
Aside from specialist subject knowledge and the necessary tech skills for your project, it is important for a translator to be able to work as part of a dynamic team. As the language services industry has evolved, it has become increasingly clear that translation alone is rarely enough to convert content from one language into another.
There are cultural factors to consider, formatting issues to resolve, creative conflicts to work out and a range of other complexities beyond the confines of language. Which is why today’s translators need to be able to work with localisation teams, programmers, designers and a range of other experts.
To find out more about our translation services, do not hesitate to contact us.