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Tips For Working With A Translator

  1. Know exactly what you want. Know the format of the document you have (Word document, hard copy, fax of handwriting, etc) and have a rough idea of its contents (legal, birth certificate, military, etc.)

  2. Give an accurate estimate and description of the size of a job. Translators may have other job offers than yours. Accepting your job and then finding that it is 70% larger than you stated may mean you miss your deadline. Conversely, discovering that your job is 60% smaller than you stated after turning down other jobs in order to do yours will not make the translator eager to work with you again.

  3. Make sure you let the translator know about the quality of the original documents. Translating a Word document is very different from translating a smudged copy of a fax of sloppy handwriting.

  4. Communicate your deadline clearly.

  5. Allow adequate time. Especially on large projects, you need to give enough time for the translator to do a good job. A reasonable amount for a translator per day is 3000 words. With repetitive material, and long shifts, experienced translators may be able to do 5000-7000, but there is a limit to how many hours a day translators can work.

  6. Tell the translator about the audience for the translation.

  7. Be available for clarification in case the meaning of the text is unclear or illegible.

  8. Tell the translator whether you want 1) a flowing, natural translation of the meaning, or 2) a literal, word-for-word translation that may sound stilted but retains the "flavor" of the original, or 3) somewhere in between. Remember, idioms will not make sense when translated literally.

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