Here is how I reply to some of the questions I'm asked when people find out I'm a translator...
Can't I just use Google?
Well, you can and often it will suffice for giving you the gist of a text. However if you are after more than an approximation of what your foreign language text says in English, you need a professional. There is no substitute for human experience, knowledge and expertise. A human translator will ask why you want your text translating and tailor the product accordingly. They will employ the correct technical terminology for your instruction manual, the appropriate phraseology for your legal document or the right cultural register for your marketing campaign. There are many variables involved in translating – contact me to discuss your needs further.
Aren't the prices quite high?
Perhaps, to those unacquainted with the industry. But as with all trades, you get what you pay for. If you're paying a qualified, experienced specialist to provide a professional, high-quality service then you should expect the prices to reflect that. If you're paying a jack-of-all-trades to do the bare minimum you certainly can't have high expectations as to the quality of the end product. Many factors influence the price of a job – contact me to discuss your needs further.
How long does it take?
If you can tell me how long a piece of string is, then I can tell you how long a translation takes! There are many factors involved in producing a translation, a simple job might include the following actions:
- analysing the source text in terms of content & word count and producing a quote accordingly (cost & time frame);
- scheduling and carrying out the work;
- sending the finished article to the client for approval;
- implementing any (appropriate) changes suggested by the client.
But one of my colleagues has spent quite a bit of time abroad...
And I am sure they are very confident in their own ability to communicate while on holiday! But if you broke your leg would you prefer a doctor to treat you, or someone who got their First Aid badge in Scouts or Guides 20 years ago? Again, it's all about getting what you pay for. Make sure you do get what you want and contact me to discuss your needs further.
How do I know that you're right?
- I could refer you to these testimonials I've had from some of my clients.
- I could explain the four-eyes principle that I work to.
- I could say because I started learning German nearly 30 years ago, and Dutch nearly 20; and I have a BA (in German Studies) and an MA (in Translation Studies); and I'm a certified translator with the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.