Best Translators, how to find them
Are you looking to hire a translator/interpreter for your job? In this article I share 4 important tips on how to choose the best translators or interpreters. They are very simple, however when applied correctly they can help you accomplish excellent results.
- The candidate must be fluent in your language. They must have good command of the language. Understand different styles, different accents, have a very extensive vocabulary. In other words, this individual must be able to function at all levels of society (working with children, elderly, people on the street, government officials, intellectuals…) They must be able to meet each person where they are whatever the other person’s level of fluency may be.
- This individual must speak the language of your field. They must know all the technical terms; they must be familiar with all the symbols and abbreviations used in the field. For example, when you hear or see “EKG, bursitis, RX, R/W, + ” what do you think of? If you said medical field you are correct. These are some of the many symbols, abbreviations, and terms that are specific to the medical field, therefore part of the medical field language. The best translators are familiar with the medical field’s language and are able to fully understand what medical professionals are communicating. When you hire an interpreter/translator who does not have the right training and/or experience, the likelihood of transmitting wrong information to your clients is very high. The consequences to you and your clients can in some instances be life changing: innocent people may end up in jail(where legal cases are concerned) or the morgue (in medical emergency cases). In other instances professionals can lose their licenses, pay hefty fines or go to jail due to the fact that they supposedly gave wrong information to their clients. This is why it is very important to choose your candidate from the pool of the best translators. They speak the language of your field. There are times when the interpreter/translator does not know the meaning of a word that you use. It is okay for him/her to ask for clarification so that they can transmit your message faithfully. However, they are not to do this for every sentence. If that happens you must understand that you hired the wrong person for the job.
- This individual must also be fluent in your client’s language. The reason for this is so that there is no distortion of your message. The translator/interpreter must convey your message using your exact words but in the client’s language. Any word substitution or omission will affect the content of the message and possibly the desired outcome. For example, if you say, “I want”, the recipient must hear “I want “ in his/her language. They should not hear “I need”, “I desire”, or “I prefer”. Some words though cannot be interpreted in other languages. In situations like that, the interpreter/translator must notify you so that you can use a different word or allow him or her to explain the word in ways that the recipient(client) will understand.
Other tips in addition to language mastery on how to choose the right translator or interpreter
- In addition to language mastery, the other element of how to choose the best translators or interpreters is to look for someone who has cultural awareness for both your culture and your client’s. Why is this important? There are situations that words alone cannot address. Let me give an example. In some cultures when someone is in a position of authority he or she is never questioned. If you are a medical doctor, a teacher, a lawyer… and are working with a client from a culture like that, whatever you say goes. Because the client puts their full confidence in you. They know that you have their best interests in mind. If their medical doctor thinks that they should eat grass to improve their health that is what they will do. If he/she asks them to make a decision about their health they will bring it back to him/her saying that he/she is the professional, he/she should tell them what to do. Sometimes this back and forth can result in an impasse where the professional and his/her client cannot move forward. In this type of situation the interpreter plays a vital role whereby he/she is able to show each side where the other is coming from. If he/she is successful at bringing both parties to see things from each other’s perspective then they will resolve the issue easily and avoid any unnecessary tensions.
These are the 4 tips on how to choose the right translator or interpreter. The next article will answer the question of how to know if the translator possesses the above skills. For more articles like this check our blog often as we update it regularly.