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10 tips for working efficiently and productively with a professional translator

This is the third post in a series about hiring freelance translators versus translation agencies. When you have a translation project and contact a professional translator, here are some tips to make the project run smoothly and efficiently for both of you.

1. Provide as much information as possible at first contact to receive a faster response from the translator. This includes the subject, language pair (obviously), target audience, length (words, pages etc.), deadline, if there is reference material, if a specific tool should be used, if a project database needs to be used and all information on how to use it.

2. If project is accepted, send the translator a Purchase Order or sign one from the translator. The purchase order should contain a reference number, fee/price, deadline, payment terms, and contact information both for during the project, when the translator has questions, and for after the project for invoicing.

3. Provide a glossary if possible, or ask the professional translator to make one, especially if the project is big.

4. Provide a contact person to answer any questions the translator might have. This contact should be available as much as possible during the project, and be able to find answers in a timely manner. This increases the quality of the final translation.

5. Give formatting guidelines for the final document

6. Provide as much reference material as possible, previous translations, correspondence, glossaries, translation memories, links to websites etc. This also increases the quality of the final translation, since the translator can see what style has been used before, words that are specific for your/this company, more context etc.

7. Have another professional linguist proofread the document. This linguist can be somebody you use, or somebody that the translator works with. Either way, provide the translator with the proofread/edited document with track changes. This is a great feedback tool and learning opportunity for the translator, plus if the translator has final responsibility for the translation, he/she should be able to approve the changes.

8. If you require a rare translation tool (or TEnT), try to provide this tool at a discount, or for free if possible, and provide as much training and material about the tool as you can.

9. Always confirm good receipt of translation, and ask questions or give comments as soon as possible after receipt.

10. Make the invoicing procedure as easy as possible and the earlier you can pay, the happier the translator gets.

If you follow these guidelines you will create a fruitful relationship with your professional translator, and receive high quality translations that can increase your credibility, and boost your business; a win-win situation.

I have worked with many clients and created fruitful relationships with them because of these guidelines, and by following their instructions and guidelines too.

Thank you for your insightful post, Tess whitty!


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